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I heard the following sentence in a Russian learning tool:

этот человек у двери.

Can this sentence be translated to English as both "this person is by the door" (= close to the door) and "this person is at the door" (= in front of the door, waiting after have rung the bell or called someone") ? Can "y" be replaced with "возле" here?

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  • Is this a full sentence? (It should be capitalised, then). – tum_ Nov 4 '19 at 6:03
  • Since there's no verb there, it can also be translated not as a sentence, but as a nominal phrase, "this man at/close to the door." – Yellow Sky Nov 4 '19 at 7:15
  • Yes, all these translations are possible + the nominal one. Yes, "у" can be replaced by "возле". The meaning is not affected. – Evgeniy Nov 14 '19 at 18:03
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Both translations of the sentence are correct. Preposition y is probably the best choice to express that someone is by the door, or in an interaction with it. (e.g. somebody waiting for someone at the door)

With preposition возле, the sentence would rather be translated to "this person is close to the door", (e.g. someone lurking somewhere outside, near the door). It could be used if the location is important in the context.

За дверью could also be used if wanted to emphasize that someone is behind the door (closed or shut), e.g. hiding behind an opened door.

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