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  1. Crowned 91's Avatar
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    #1

    alien

    Does the noun "alien" in "They are aliens" refer to "people from a different country, race or culture " and to "creatures from a planet other than Earth " depending on the situation?

    Moreover, can I use the adjective form to mean strange as in "These ideas are completely alien to her "?

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: alien

    Context will dictate the definition although "aliens" is rarely used in BrE these days to refer to people from other countries. Many years ago, the signs at British airports to direct people to the correct immigration (passport control) desk, were marked "British" and "Aliens". Most people these days assume that the word "alien" refers to a life form from another planet.

    Your second interpretation is not quite right. The sentence with "completely alien to her" is fine but it doesn't mean "strange". It means that she has never heard of these ideas before - they are unknown to her.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. Roman55's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: alien

    I am not a teacher.

    I believe that in AmE the term "illegal alien" is still used to refer to foreigners in the country without permission.

    To bluntly say, "They are aliens" does sound like you mean extraterrestrials.

  4. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: alien

    "Illegal aliens" was used until relatively recently in the UK too. These days, it's "illegal immigrants" or, more usually, "illegal entrants". Within certain sectors of law enforcement and border control, the informal term is simply "illegals".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  5. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: alien

    In the US, it seems that those who are opposed to immigration reform stick to the term 'illegal alien,' while others use the less prejudicial term, 'undocumented alien.'
    The US Immigration Service issues an Alien Registration Card, informally known as a Green Card, which allows immigrants to legally live and work in the US.
    Last edited by riquecohen; 21-Apr-2014 at 01:42.

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