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    #1

    How can I ask to know ... ?

    Suppose that my friend's family has 6 people, he is a son in his big family, how can I ask him to know his position in his family ? For example, he is the first child or the second child ... of his parents ?
    I had known how to ask for that before but now I have forgotten !
    Thank you so much !

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    #2

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    Suppose that my friend's family has 6 people, he is a son in his big family, how can I ask him to know his position in his family ? For example, he is the first child or the second child ... of his parents ?
    I had known how to ask for that before but now I have forgotten !
    Thank you so much !
    You can ask..

    What number child are you?
    Where are you in the birth order of (you)(the) children?

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    People often ask, "Are you the eldest?"

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    #4

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    People often ask, "Are you the eldest?"
    That's true, and you are likely to get an answer of 'yes' or 'No, I'm the (2nd)(3rd)(etc).'
    But you could just get a 'yes' or 'no' answer, and then have to ask another question, such as 'What number are you?'.

  2. 5jj's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    But you could just get a 'yes' or 'no' answer, and then have to ask another question, such as 'What number are you?'.
    The next question could then be, "How many older brothers and sisters do you have?"
    It is, I admit, a roundabout way of asking, but I think that most native speakers would ask that way rather than asking "what number are you"?

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    #6

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    The next question could then be, "How many older brothers and sisters do you have?"
    It is, I admit, a roundabout way of asking, but I think that most native speakers would ask that way rather than asking "what number are you"?
    If he has 4 older brothers but one of them died 1 year ago, what is the answer for "how many older brothers and sisters do you have ?" ? 4 brothers or 3 ones (I mean the "do you have" refers to the present and at the present he actually has only 3 brothers) ?
    I think in that situation, he may talk about his departed brother after answering to "how many ..." and of course I should say sorry words to him for unexpected talk about his grief.
    Is there any other question better for that circumstance ?
    I remember that the question I knew before is not kind of ones that all of you has given. I remember it has the word "come" !
    Thank you so much !

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    #7

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by crazYgeeK View Post
    I remember that the question I knew before is not kind of ones that all of you hasve given. I remember it has the word "come" !
    Thank you so much !
    Was it:
    'Where do you come in the family?
    ?

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    #8

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    Was it:
    'Where do you come in the family?
    ?
    Ah, Maybe I get it ! Yeah, but how often do native speakers use it to ask ?
    I think this question is the best of all.
    Thank you so much !

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    #9

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    If I really cared (and birth order seems more important in other cultures than ours), I'd suggest one randomly and have the person correct me. The other way I'd ask is "Where do you fall?"

    "Let me guess -- you're the youngest, aren't you?"
    -- Oh my gosh, no, I'm the second oldest of the four of us.

    --Christmas is always crazy. All my brothers and sisters are there with their kids. It's chaos. Fun, but crazy.
    "Oh really? You have a big family? Where do you fall in all of that?"
    -- I'm the fourth of seven.
    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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    #10

    Re: How can I ask to know ... ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    "Let me guess -- you're the youngest, aren't you?"
    Or you could say 'Are you the youngest...the eldest?'
    You can decide about leading with which '...est' would be most diplomatic. And 'eldest' is better than 'oldest' for middle age and older adults.
    Last edited by 2006; 17-Jan-2011 at 23:16.

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