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Henry Krinkle
2010-Dec-13, 04:45 AM
Please share with me your opinion on the following and settle a topic of (heated) discussion. In a chest of drawers would the first drawer be from the bottom up or from the top down.

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 05:35 AM
Please share with me your opinion on the following and settle a topic of (heated) discussion. In a chest of drawers would the first drawer be from the bottom up or from the top down.

There's clearly no correct answer to the question. It would boil down to an issue of "what do people tend to see as the first drawer?" A similar question could be about whether you would normally count from the left or the right in a bookshelf. Is the "first book" the one on the right or the left?

Personally, I think I would consider the lowermost drawer to be the first one. But it's not something I would have an argument about!

Tog
2010-Dec-13, 06:55 AM
I'd say the opposite. The top drawer would be the first, though have nothing to support that other than things start at the top. Like Jens, I don't think you ever hope for more than a consensus, and even that won't be "right", just popular.

BTW, for the books, the first one would be on the left. Most languages start at the upper left corner when read, so that makes perfect sense. For a language like Hebrew, it would be the right side. That's also how things are organized on library shelves.

Japanese starts upper left, doesn't it? I know it goes vertically, but I think the starting point would be the same.

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 07:12 AM
Japanese starts upper left, doesn't it? I know it goes vertically, but I think the starting point would be the same.

No, when Japanese is written vertically, it starts at the upper right. You start on the right-side edge of the page, write a line downward, then start again from the next position to the left.

What is a bit confusing is that when Japanese is written horizontally, it starts on the left-hand side.

What this means is that in Japan, there are books that are numbered just like English language books, from right to left, but other books that are numbered from right to left. It seems to vary by genre. I just looked around, and all my computer related books are numbered left to right, while all novels seem to be right to left. In my local library, the books are arranged from right to left on the shelves.

Tobin Dax
2010-Dec-13, 07:19 AM
To me, the first drawer is the top drawer essentially because it's the first drawer I see while standing next to the dresser. Being as tall as or taller than the dresser, I'd count downwards.

In buildings, the first floor is lower than the second floor, but that's because you start out on the ground (usually) and so you count from there.

Opinions may differ on how correct this is, but it makes sense to me.

Tog
2010-Dec-13, 07:31 AM
Ahh thanks, Jens. Interesting about the way the library shelves go too.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-13, 07:44 AM
I'm not sure I've ever referred to the first drawer. "Top" and "bottom" are much less confusing.

novaderrik
2010-Dec-13, 08:36 AM
on my tool box out in the garage, i consider the top drawer on the bottom cabinet to the be the first, and the bottom drawer on the top cabinet to the be the first..

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 08:36 AM
I'm not sure I've ever referred to the first drawer. "Top" and "bottom" are much less confusing.

But what if the chest of drawers is in Australia? :)

Strange
2010-Dec-13, 09:45 AM
I thought it was obvious that the first drawer would be at the top. But Tobin Dax's building analogy explains why some people get it "wrong".


What is a bit confusing is that when Japanese is written horizontally, it starts on the left-hand side.

Usually. I like the fact that signage on trucks, etc is written from front to back.

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 10:16 AM
Usually. I like the fact that signage on trucks, etc is written from front to back.

Yeah, that's something I've never really been able to get used to. On the port side of a truck, you would right MITSUBISHI, but on the starboard side it would be written IHSIBUSTIB. It takes some getting used to. Actually it's not all that bad because most company names are written in kanji so there are only two or maybe four characters.

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 10:20 AM
I thought it was obvious that the first drawer would be at the top. But Tobin Dax's building analogy explains why some people get it "wrong".


I was kind of surprised that so many people seem to count from the top. I just asked a Japanese colleague, and he said that he would count from the bottom as well. So I'm thinking maybe it's because people tend to sleep on futons here, so you end up waking up in the morning and looking at the chest of drawers from the bottom up?

Strange
2010-Dec-13, 10:45 AM
Of course, if you are burglar then you would count from the bottom: it is more efficient, as you don't have to close each drawer before opening and searching through the next. Apparently.

Buttercup
2010-Dec-13, 12:08 PM
The uppermost (top) one.

Perikles
2010-Dec-13, 12:25 PM
There's clearly no correct answer to the question. I agree, unless there is only one drawer, in which case it is hardly a chest. But surely you would tend to count something depending on your approach. A building has floors counted upwards because unless you are in a helicopter, you approach it from the ground. A chest of drawers would normally be lower than waist height, and your approach would be from the top, counting downwards. Unless, as stated, you are a burglar. Or a mouse.

Jens
2010-Dec-13, 01:26 PM
Of course, if you are burglar then you would count from the bottom: it is more efficient, as you don't have to close each drawer before opening and searching through the next. Apparently.

Two people have said this, so since I count from the bottom, I guess I might as well just fess up. Just a question, though, is being a burglar a bannable offense? :)

NEOWatcher
2010-Dec-13, 03:08 PM
I go along with Tobin.
Although, I really never thought about it. Nor have I really heard anyone ever say anything about first, second, etc. without the qualifier of "from the top/bottom".

KaiYeves
2010-Dec-13, 08:25 PM
I dunno. Personally, I'd just say "top drawer" or "bottom drawer" and leave it at that.

Henry Krinkle
2010-Dec-13, 08:30 PM
Thank you all so for replying; this started as discussion (and later playful argument) between my wife an I years ago. She had simply said that an item I was looking for was in the second shelf. I was checking the second from the bottom and she meant the second from the top. I personally believe that it starts from the bottom and have used the building argument with her as well. While I'm not a burglar (that was a good one) and am 6'1 and sleep on a "traditional bed" to me its never been a question of easy access, to me all things that are stacked on top of each other have a numerical value and since things cant sit on top of something with out having something below it to support it then the first level, layer, foundation would be at the bottom. the second layer/level rests on the first and so it would be the second on and so on and so on and so on.......does that make sense?

Henry Krinkle
2010-Dec-13, 08:31 PM
Unless, as stated, you are a burglar. Or a mouse.[/QUOTE]



thats a good point

Jens
2010-Dec-14, 01:40 AM
Thank you all so for replying; this started as discussion (and later playful argument) between my wife an I years ago. She had simply said that an item I was looking for was in the second shelf. I was checking the second from the bottom and she meant the second from the top. I personally believe that it starts from the bottom and have used the building argument with her as well.

Well to me it makes sense, but it seems that the majority of people who replied here see it the way your wife does. I guess as long as it's a playful argument, fine, but it doesn't seem like something to argue about!

kleindoofy
2010-Dec-14, 01:54 AM
... (heated) discussion. ...
Heated?

Wow. Somebody needs a hobby really fast.

Donnie B.
2010-Dec-14, 06:53 PM
My general answer to this would be that the "first" drawer/shelf would be the one closest to eye level (in the way the item is normally used).

Thus for a chest of drawers, it's the top drawer (at least in the West!), but for closet shelves it's the lowest. This also explains the tool chest nomenclature mentioned earlier.

mike alexander
2010-Dec-14, 09:10 PM
This reference (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/top-drawer.html) would indicate that the top drawer was at the top. And probably still is. Hence, I'd have to go with "top" = "first"

rommel543
2010-Dec-14, 09:33 PM
Maybe I'm weird but I'm usually more literal when describing where to get things. I would say the top drawer, 2nd from the top, bottom, etc. I find just saying first drawer isn't descriptive enough.

Jim
2010-Dec-14, 10:05 PM
... What is a bit confusing is that ... English language books (are numbered) from right to left, but other books ... are numbered from right to left. ...

Wow, that is confusing.

swampyankee
2010-Dec-15, 12:21 AM
When I send somebody else to poke around my chest of drawers, it's "top," "underwear," "sock," etc.

Gillianren
2010-Dec-15, 12:22 AM
My dresser used to belong to a friend who painted it, so it's "the drawer with the mountains on it," "the drawer with white spiderwebs," "the drawer with the black spiderwebs," and so forth.

Solfe
2010-Dec-15, 04:07 AM
I would say the "Junk drawer" is the first drawer. I some how end up with no clothes in the top drawer of my dresser, I accumulate so much junk in that drawer.

Jens
2010-Dec-15, 04:57 AM
This reference (http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/top-drawer.html) would indicate that the top drawer was at the top.

That makes about as much sense as my comment about right to left. :)

Spoons
2010-Dec-15, 05:11 AM
That makes about as much sense as my comment about right to left. :)

You mean the one about as compared to right to left?

Oh, and in Australia we call the top drawer the top drawer, but if someone says the first drawer they're generally going from the top down. I decree it so. And we class tomatoes as fregetables.

The angle from which you're looking at the drawers makes the most sense to me.

Jens
2010-Dec-15, 05:52 AM
Oh, and in Australia we call the top drawer the top drawer . . .

Shouldn't you call the top drawer the bottom drawer, considering that you're standing upside down and all?

Spoons
2010-Dec-15, 05:57 AM
You're right, we should, but remember, we're all convicts. Our logic says you steal a loaf of bread and you get a trans-continental cruise.

Jens
2010-Dec-15, 06:20 AM
Wow, that is confusing.

Yeah, I'm not so good with left and right distinctions. Maybe I should just say, some books are numbered the way English books are, and the others go the other way?

Strange
2010-Dec-16, 11:27 AM
Yeah, I'm not so good with left and right distinctions. Maybe I should just say, some books are numbered the way English books are, and the others go the other way?

I just didn't understand what you meant by "numbered"! Did you mean page ordering? I was under the impression that all books had the first page on the right; i.e. if you look at the cover, the spine would be on the right. I guess I had just never noticed that they can be either way...

ETA: oh, sorry, just noticed the distinction was between English language books and others (rather than, say, fiction and technical books)

Gillianren
2010-Dec-16, 06:08 PM
It's increasingly common that manga in this country is printed the same way it is in Japan. I have to say, though, when I get around to organizing my bookshelves (after I figure out where the bookshelves go and which books I have room for on them), I'll still be putting them on the shelves in Western order.