> Imagine you have a guy standing 20 yards befor you
> and this guy is turning his face toward a tree.
> Wouldn't we say that he is standing before the
> tree. We will say that he is standing behind the
> tree, even though facing it, if he has a sub-macine
> gun in his hand and is wating by the side of ta
> road, where the tree is like hiding him... or he
> is hiding behind the tree. Or?

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying.  You
didn't say whether the tree was between me and the
guy.  Is he pointing the gun at me, or at the road?

Absent of other context, if someone told me they saw
some guy hiding behind a tree, I would understand this
to mean that the tree is between the speaker and the

I would not understand it to mean that they had
come up behind the guy as he was hiding.  In that
case, I would expect something like "I came up behind
a guy as he was trying to hide behind a tree."

If I saw someone, much as you described, standing
between me and a tree, close to the tree and facing
it - perhaps touching the tree with his nose, I would
say that he is standing in front of the tree with his
back towards me.

I can imagine a situation where I might say "someone
is shooting at us -- quick get behind that tree."  In
that case, the frame of reference is the shooter.  I
am saying "make it such that from the point of view
of the guy shooting at you, you are behind the tree."

As a general answer, yes, I could imagine a situation
where I say someone is "behind a tree" where the
tree isn't between me and the guy, but only if there
was a clearly defined third point of reference.

The point is that we never say "get in front of that
tree" to mean the side which is further away from a
given point of reference - although in some languages
you do.

Amike salutas,
Thomas/Tomaso ALEXANDER.
---Anything below this line is not from Thomas ---

Bored stiff? Loosen up... 
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