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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Indonesian
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      • Indonesia
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      • Indonesia

    • Join Date: Mar 2016
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    #1

    In the medical clinic

    The situation: I registered at the front office in the medical clinic. After got the my details, the staff asked me to wait.
    I wanted to know, how many persons were in the queue until my turn.

    So I asked: "How many persons have been waiting before me?"

    I do not feel my question sound native. What is the natural question, if any?

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • England
      • Current Location:
      • England

    • Join Date: Jun 2010
    • Posts: 24,447
    #2

    Re: In the medical clinic

    Welcome to the forum, possum.

    'How many people are there before me?'

    ***

    That reminds me of the Russian who asked for an appointment with a new doctor.

    The receptionist said 'What's your name?'

    He replied 'Ivan Astikov'.

    She said 'I want to know your name — not what's wrong with you'.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 25-Mar-2016 at 12:55.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
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      • United States
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      • Taiwan

    • Join Date: Mar 2016
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    #3

    Re: In the medical clinic

    The word "persons" has a very "legalese" sound to it, in my opinion. It's more natural to use "people" as the plural of "person".
    Translator, editor and TESOL certificate holder, but not a teacher. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

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