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  1. #1
    whl626 is offline Member
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    Are you through with the phone ?

    I learned from somewhere that British and American have different interpretations on this sentence.

    British thinks whether someone succesfully gets through the line whereas American asks if someone has finished using the phone. Is that the case ?

    Is it better to avoid using such vague sentence ? Or it is not vague, just my poor understanding of it :P

  2. #2
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    RonBee is offline Moderator
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    I don't know how the British use that expression, but in AE Are you through with the phone means the same thing as Are you finished using the phone.

    :)

  3. #3
    shane is offline Senior Member
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    In my experience, "Are you through with the phone?" is not commonly heard in BE. We usually say "Have you finished with the phone?". Sometimes we also use "Are you done with the phone?"

    I've also heard "Are you done using the phone?" but I'm not sure where I have heard it (maybe on TV)!! :)

  4. #4
    whl626 is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by shane
    In my experience, "Are you through with the phone?" is not commonly heard in BE. We usually say "Have you finished with the phone?". Sometimes we also use "Are you done with the phone?"

    I've also heard "Are you done using the phone?" but I'm not sure where I have heard it (maybe on TV)!! :)
    Shane, an English professor once told me that he was uncomfortable with ' are you done ... ' instead of ' Have you finished .... ' . He said British people don't identify with Americans over this phrase ' are you done... '. That is why I feel surprised to see that ' Are you done with the phone ? ' is a common sentence in England :P

  5. #5
    shane is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by whl626

    Shane, an English professor once told me that he was uncomfortable with ' are you done ... ' instead of ' Have you finished .... ' . He said British people don't identify with Americans over this phrase ' are you done... '. That is why I feel surprised to see that ' Are you done with the phone ? ' is a common sentence in England :P
    IMO, I think it's becoming common because of TV. Much of British TV is from the US (as well as Australia & New Zealand), and so our exposure to AE is pretty constant. It's only natural that after some time, people will start using it.

    Of course, traditionally speaking, BE doesn't use it (and some people don't like hearing it), but AE and BE are slowly getting mixed up with each other nowadays, and so the fine line between these two styles of English is becoming finer. ;)

    I certainly wouldn't have a problem with a British person saying "Are you done with the phone?" to me. :)

  6. #6
    whl626 is offline Member
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    You Americans and British have no problems with each other. But it is indeed a problem to outsiders :P. Because we try to understand English through sentence structure and grammar analysis. It makes our head spin at times on how to interprete things. And I keep trying to figure out ways to overcome this very problem.

    Maybe some kind of reform on the present educational level towards the studying of English is necessary :P

  7. #7
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    Language is a constantly changing thing, which is one of the things that makes studying it so difficult.

    :)

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