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    #1

    How old were you? (polite / hesitation)

    Hi,

    Say that I forgot the name/age of a person talking to me right now and I want to ask his name/age of that person in a polite way. Can I ask 'was/were'?

    - Sorry. How old were you?
    - Sorry. What was your name?

    I would also like to ask if we can use it when we have hesitation.

    Thanks.

  1. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: How old were you? (polite / hesitation)

    The second of those would be OK; the past tense refers back to a time when you were told the name. The first would be impolite, unless the person you were speaking to had told you before - in which case you'd say something like 'How old did you say you were?

    I'm not sure what your last question means. If it means 'if you are uncertain', the same applies.

    b

  2. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: How old were you? (polite / hesitation)

    I don't know why you would say, "How old were you?" (Past tense) However, if I wanted to politely ask somebody's name I might say: "Would you mind telling me your name?" Or: "May I ask you your name?"


  3. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: How old were you? (polite / hesitation)

    In the US at least, it is considered very impolite to ask someone's age, unless the person you're asking is obviously a child or you are a liquor store clerk verifying that a customer is of legal drinking age.

    If you were introduced to someone and you didn't quite hear their name, you could say:

    "I'm sorry, what is your name?" or "I didn't catch your name...?" or "What did you say your name was?" (This last looks awkward in print, but it is a common sentence construction when questioning someone whose name you've been told but didn't quite understand.)

  4. Tarheel's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: How old were you? (polite / hesitation)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill Dorchester View Post
    In the US at least, it is considered very impolite to ask someone's age,
    I think maybe there is a difference between older people and younger people where that is concerned. (I just asked a 40-year old man and a 25-year old woman, and neither of them minded. Of course, that is a small sample.)


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