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Thread: I say (there).

  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default I say (there).

    In the Webster Online Dictionary I have found the following use of the verb "say":

    2 — used to attract the attention of someone ▪ I say (there). Can you help me?
    Is the phrase "I say (there)" widely used both in the USA and Britain to attract someone's attention ?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

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    virus99 is offline Member
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    Default Re: I say (there).

    The Oxford Advanced Dictionary referes to 'I say' as old-fashioned British English.


    Not a teacher or native!

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    Default Re: I say (there).

    Not for the past 50 years or so, in the UK at least. Anyone who did so nowadays would probably receive a very rude response, and be regarded as what is known as an "upper class twit".
    It has been replaced in polite circles with "Excuse me"; and in less polite circles with "Oi - you!"
    I'm not a teacher of English, but I have spoken it for (almost) all of my life....

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    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: I say (there).

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    In the Webster Online Dictionary I have found the following use of the verb "say":

    Is the phrase "I say (there)" widely used both in the USA and Britain to attract someone's attention ?
    No, not at all. "Excuse me" or "Sir/ma'am/miss" or even (impolite) "hey!"

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    Default Re: I say (there).

    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
    Not for the past 50 years or so, in the UK at least. Anyone who did so nowadays would probably receive a very rude response, and be regarded as what is known as an "upper class twit".
    It has been replaced in polite circles with "Excuse me"; and in less polite circles with "Oi - you!"
    Thanks, Grumpy. And if "I say" is dated, would it be all right if I addressed a friend suggesting some activity like this: "Listen / Look here, Pat, (let's have a snack)"?
    Here's a similar (as I view it) example from the dictionary:
    Listen, we really need to sort out our insurance claim this weekend.
    Last edited by englishhobby; 20-Sep-2013 at 09:23.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up.)

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    Default Re: I say (there).

    Both "listen" and "look here" are rather serious, and would signify an intent to deal with some professional matter or other non-leisure issue.

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