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  1. #1
    optimistic pessimist is offline Senior Member
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    How to ask about siblings

    Dear all,

    When you ask someone if they have siblings, how do you ask?

    1 Do you have any brothers or sisters?
    2 Do you have any brothers and sisters?
    3 Do you have any siblings?

    Of the three above, which is common?

    Thank you!

    OP

  2. #2
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: How to ask about siblings

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    Dear all,

    When you ask someone if they have siblings, how do you ask?

    1 Do you have any brothers or sisters? Somewhere in the middle!
    2 Do you have any brothers and sisters? Most common
    3 Do you have any siblings? Least common

    Of the three above, which is common?

    Thank you!

    OP
    We use all three, as well as "Have you got any brothers and sisters?"

  3. #3
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    Re: How to ask about siblings

    Perhaps this is a BrE/AmE distinction, but I disagree. I wouldn't use "and" with a question beginning with, "do you have any..." I think the most common form is, "do you have any brothers or sisters?" followed by "do you have any siblings?" You can also ask whether someone is "an only child," meaning s/he has no siblings.
    Last edited by Heterological; 11-Jul-2010 at 23:42.

  4. #4
    bertietheblue is offline Senior Member
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    Re: How to ask about siblings

    Either 'and' or 'or' in BrEng - it's 50/50 for me personally.

  5. #5
    optimistic pessimist is offline Senior Member
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    Re: How to ask about siblings

    Hi, Heterological
    Thanks for your help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Heterological View Post
    Perhaps this is a BrE/AmE distinction, but I disagree. I wouldn't use "and" with a question beginning with, "do you have any..." I think the most common form is, "do you have any brothers or sisters?" followed by "do you have any siblings?" You can also ask whether someone is "an only child," meaning s/he has no siblings.
    I think this BrE/ AmE distinction interesting. If the question is "How many ... do you have?", is it okay using "brothers and sisters"?

    OP

  6. #6
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    Re: How to ask about siblings

    Quote Originally Posted by optimistic pessimist View Post
    If the question is "How many ... do you have?", is it okay using "brothers and sisters"?

    OP
    Yes, but only if you had first learned that the person had at least a few. For example, he may have said something like "I come from a large family" and you reply with "Oh really? How many brothers and sisters do you have."

    Even if they were all boys, that sounds more natural to me.

    However, I agree with "Do you have any..." that I would use the "or" version.
    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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