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    #1

    be uncle to

    Jimmy is uncle to all the kids who like to go boating with him.

    Is the above sentence acceptable to native speakers?
    I need native speakers' help.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: be uncle to

    It sounds rather odd to me. Is he actually their uncle (by blood or by marriage)?
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

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    #3

    Re: be uncle to

    No. Jimmy is very kind to the kids, so they consider him an uncle.
    I need native speakers' help.

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: be uncle to

    In that case, I'd use "He's like an uncle ..." or "All the kids who go boating with him see him as/treat him like an uncle".

    Of course, it might depend on your audience. In the UK, we only refer to people as "uncle" if they are actually related to us by blood or by marriage. If you're speaking to someone from a culture that uses "uncle" in a different way, they might understand your original sentence but it's ambiguous.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. Skrej's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: be uncle to

    Quote Originally Posted by sitifan View Post
    Jimmy is uncle to all the kids who like to go boating with him.

    Is the above sentence acceptable to native speakers?
    It's not widely used, but I have heard similar constructions used to express the concept of honorary kinship. However, I'd say 'an uncle' .

    He's (like) a brother to me.
    She's (like) a mother to all the kids in the neighborhood.

    It's an acceptable (with the correction) but less common variation of 'like a(n) X' in emsr's post above.
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    #6

    Re: be uncle to

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    In the UK, we only refer to people as "uncle" if they are actually related to us by blood or by marriage.
    It wasn't always the case- in the past, friends of parents might be called Uncle X/Aunt Y as a way of using first names in more formal times.

  4. Piscean's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: be uncle to

    Indeed. That changed during the first half of my life. My sister and I (born in the late 1940s) used Uncle and Auntie for good friends of my parents. My offspring (born in the late 1970s) used only first names for friends of their parents. Uncle Mac was a popular host on children's radio until the mid 1960s.

    Incidentally, I called my parents' brothers and sisters Auntie X and Uncle Y until they died (the last one only this year). My own nephews and nieces dropped the Uncle in their early teens.

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