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    #1

    is there

    I once asked a black woman on the street of Bimingham:
    "Is there any Tesco around?"
    She gave me the hi-what-planet-are-you-from kind of look and answered.
    What was wrong about the question? Was it too formal? Maybe it was just my accent that she found strange? But that would be strange if we take into account how many Poles there are in Birmingham.

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    #2

    Re: is there

    HI
    Note : I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker,

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    "Is there any Tesco around?"
    You didn't say what was said before that question. If you didn't mention any place then "there" hadn't been defined. I reckon you meant "here" ;
    "nearby" would be better than around,
    a Tesco store instead of "any Tesco "
    :
    Is here a Tesco store nearby.

    anyway she answered your question.

    Cheers

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    #3

    Re: is there

    Quote Originally Posted by Jaskin View Post
    HI
    Note : I'm not a teacher nor a native speaker,



    You didn't say what was said before that question. If you didn't mention any place then "there" hadn't been defined. I reckon you meant "here" ;
    "nearby" would be better than around,
    a Tesco store instead of "any Tesco "
    :
    Is here a Tesco store nearby.

    anyway she answered your question.

    Cheers
    No.

    "Is here" is not proper English.

    "Is there a Tesco store nearby?" would be the best.

  1. RonBee's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: is there

    Quote Originally Posted by mmasny View Post
    I once asked a black woman on a street in Bimingham:
    "Is there any Tesco around?"
    She gave me the hi-what-planet-are-you-from kind of look and answered.
    What was wrong about the question? Was it too formal? Maybe it was just my accent that she found strange? But that would be strange if we take into account how many Poles there are in Birmingham.
    I don't see anything wrong with the question. (Well, a little. Try: "Is there a Tesco around here?") Is it Birmingham, England we are talking about?


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    #5

    Re: is there

    Quote Originally Posted by RonBee View Post
    I don't see anything wrong with the question. Is it Birmingham, England we are talking about?

    Exactly. It's not very important but I've been wondering since then. I though that maybe "is there" was too much non-colloquial, but I don't see any colloquial counterpart...

  2. RonBee's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: is there

    The poster gets a little time to edit his post without it showing up as an edit. Take another look at post number four and you will see that I amended it a bit. I suggested changing "Is there any Tesco around?" to "Is there a Tesco around here?" (An American might think you are talking about Birmingham, Alabama. I don't know how many Americans (as a percentage) know about Birmingham, England, but I imagine it's a minority.)


  3. RonBee's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: is there

    P.S.:
    .
    "Is there a Tesco store nearby?" is also a pretty darned good suggestion.


  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: is there

    Can I ask an unrelated question? Why did you specify it was a black woman? Do you think that played a role in her understanding or her answer? (i.e, was she African so that English was not her first language either?) (We're so racially sensitive here; it was a surprise to see it called out.)
    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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    #9

    Re: is there

    We have no racial differences in Poland so we're not raised to sensitivity in this matter. I absolutely didn't mean that I had thought her first language hadn't been english. I suppose I would have to have stayed frozen for some 100 or more years not to know that many black people have English as their first language. I can't imagine there's anyone anywhere who would think they don't.
    I specified what the woman looked like for the same purpose as that for which I specified the city. I know there can be differences in the ways of speaking between different racial groups as well as between cities. When I was out there I heard black people, white English people, white Polish people, Desi people (and probably some other who I didn't recognize) and they spoke differently. Of course, there where also differences among people of the same group and some similarities between different groups. But still, these groups of accents/slangs were distinguishable.
    So I thought that if I specified the group (a black woman from Birmingham) I would more probably get a satisfying explanation.
    I must say it's a surprise for me to see your reaction. No-one would ever think of it as derogatory in my country. I knew there were racial issues in the US, but this kind of sensitivity is really shocking.
    Last edited by mmasny; 05-Mar-2010 at 00:47.


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    #10

    Re: is there

    Maybe you didn't say 'excuse me' first. If someone just walked up to me and said 'is there any Tesco around?' I'd be a bit bewildered.

    The question is fine, so I'm just trying to think about the context to think why she reacted like that. Maybe she was using her phone, maybe you didn't excuse yourself, maybe she isn't at all used to strangers asking her questions - this is especially true of city people who tend to get defensive and ignore what's going on around them. The question itself is absolutely appropriate.

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