Expression: Go back 6 spaces


I have got a silly question to ask of you. :slight_smile: There was this picture book in which some conversations were going on:

I know it’s childish but I am really not sure about what the ‘space’ actually means here. Could you please help me out with this? Thank you.


It’s not silly it took me a while but I think that ‘somebody’ doesn’t want to be near that sick boy because the fever might be contagious.

Or have you figured that out and looking for something else?Maybe she/he said spaces instead of steps because she wanted the boy to be very far from her/him.

The feeling is mutual, Nina, at this point. But I have another feeling at the same time that the ‘spaces’ might be something planar but not linear, though I am unable to verify it right now.

Thank you for the tip.


Have you considered why 6 is used there?Something to do with the geometry of a box?

Or there’s another meaning of fever :?:

My feeling is 6 might just be a convenient figure used by the warner to indicate some or many. Apparently she/he wanted the boy to keep an amount of distance away from her/him for the purpose you pointed out. Maybe I took it too literally with an impression that ‘space’ was subject to being two/three-dimensional. But actually ‘space’ could be one/two/three-dimensional according to some dictionary I have checked up the word with right now. So, now I wonder, does it just mean ‘distance’ or ‘steps’ just as you said? Or is it related to some kid’s game such as hopscotch?

Thanks, Nina, for your response.


I checked the dic. too and maybe all it meant was ‘distance’/‘steps’ but any opinion from the native would be helpful, I guess.


no sweat baby! :smiley: I just miss this place so much after a week of fast?or is it two?

Hi Haihao,

Clearly the ‘six spaces’ suggests stepping back or away and indicates ‘paces’. On board games where you have to move a small plastic figure around a board according to the number shown on the dice that you have thrown, we usually refer to the different squares on the board as ‘spaces’ as in: Move six spaces to the right/left.


Hi Alan,

Thank you very much as always. In fact the ‘space’ has been on my mind almost for the whole day :oops: . But now I think I could go and have my tea! :smiley:


I can’t get it out of my mind too and I’ve been asking people around me.Alan has really cleared it up with his ‘board games’ explanation.

Thanks Alan!

Another idiom related to board game occured to me: Go back to square one. :slight_smile: