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Thread: Rubbish - BrE

  1. #1
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    Rubbish - BrE

    Hi British English speakers (and former colonies too),

    We rarely use "rubbish" here, and I don't have enough interaction with native BrE speakers to know how it's used in contexts other than referring to actual trash/garbage/refuse.

    I heard a child talking about a holiday he was not impressed with: That place was rubbish. I know I've heard things like "That type of talk is rubbish."

    I THINK I've heard it used only after the "to be" verb. Is it ever used before the noun? It was a rubbish town, that was rubbish talk, you eat rubbish food?

    Thanks!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  2. #2
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    Re: Rubbish - BrE

    I have not heard anyone in Australia use "rubbish" that way, but I have heard it from young British people speaking informally - it was used the way you mentioned:

    Rubbish food, rubbish town, etc.

    I hope a real Brit will come along soon to confirm this.

    Edited to say:

    We do use the word rubbish to mean garbage/trash, but I don't think we use it in the way British people do, as in "rubbish food".
    Last edited by Munch; 02-Nov-2010 at 13:33. Reason: How Aussies do use rubbish

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    Re: Rubbish - BrE

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Hi British English speakers (and former colonies too),

    We rarely use "rubbish" here, and I don't have enough interaction with native BrE speakers to know how it's used in contexts other than referring to actual trash/garbage/refuse.

    I heard a child talking about a holiday he was not impressed with: That place was rubbish.Pretty informal, but you certainly hear it from adults in conversation. I know I've heard things like "That type of talk is rubbish". Unless used in conversation with a friend, that would be taken as fairly condemnatory, and might cause offence.

    I THINK I've heard it used only after the "to be" verb. Is it ever used before the noun? It was a rubbish town, that was rubbish talk, you eat rubbish food? Again, pretty informal.

    Thanks!
    Please note that my comments above are personal. As a middle-class, reasonably educated, 64-year-old who has been involved in teaching languages for over 40 years, I am perhaps somewhat old-fashioned.

  4. #4
    Red5 is offline Webmaster, UsingEnglish.com
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    Re: Rubbish - BrE

    Yep. Heard and used all of those.
    Red5
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  5. #5
    Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: Rubbish - BrE

    Thanks. I've not heard it used before the noun so I wasn't sure when I read a post by someone else looking for a correction whether it was correct that way. (Yes, I do know it's quite informal, but that's another thing!)

    I learn so much about my own language here!
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    Re: Rubbish - BrE

    The word rubbish is essencially used where you want to say garbage or trash.

    In sentences like: "This car is a load of rubbish" or "The film was rubbish"
    or "The gossip Sandra has been telling about you is rubbish!" you mean that something is low quality or not true.

  7. #7
    BobK's Avatar
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    Re: Rubbish - BrE

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    ... Is it ever used before the noun? It was a rubbish town, that was rubbish talk, you eat rubbish food?

    Thanks!
    Yes, but not not by old (or even quite young) fogeys. I've even heard usages such as 'that was the most rubbish film I've ever seen', but speakers who are more protective of the 'educated standard' would use 'rubbishy' as the attributive adjective (coming before its noun).

    b

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