Is that or is this correct?

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ColgateSmile

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Hi

When asking if a person's telephone number is correct, should I say 'is that correct', or 'is this correct'?

For example: "We have a mobile number ending in 987. Is this/that correct?"

Many thanks
 

teechar

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It's not a matter of "this" or "that"; I just don't see where you would use such a sentence. Can you give us more of the context?
By the way, you should have asked this question in the "Ask a Teacher" sub-forum.
 

emsr2d2

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I have moved this thread to the "Ask a Teacher" section.

I can imagine this being said by someone who works for a company that holds a phone number for you. Perhaps the speaker is checking the contact details they have on file for the other person.
 

GoesStation

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Ask Is this correct?
 

emsr2d2

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In the potential context I suggested, I would use "that". Here's roughly what I imagined happening at the end of a call between a business agent and one of its clients.

A: Thanks for your time today. Before you go, can I just check we have up-to-date contact details for you?
B: OK.
A: We have your address as 126 High Street, London. Is that right?
B: Yes.
A: And the postcode we have for you is NW7 1OP.
B: No! It's 1OB!
A: Ah. Thanks. I've updated that. The mobile number we've got on file ends 1976. Is that correct?
B: Yup.
A: We don't have a landline number for you. Would you like to add one?
B: No thanks. I don't have a landline.
A: Great. Everything's up-to-date. Bye.
B: Bye.
 

ChinaDan

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If the person you are speaking to can see you point to the number (printed, written, on your PC screen...), then say, "Is this correct?".

Otherwise, say, "Is that correct?".

You use "this" to indicate something in close proximity to you, especially if you can touch or hold it, but also to simply distinguish "this" item from another item further away. If the thing you wish to indicate is away from you, then you can indicate "that" item. The choice between "this" and "that" for physically present objects is based on their relative positions to you, not necessarily on any arbitrary, measured distance scale.

In the case of the phone number, I've never really given much thought as to why we use "that". All I can come up with as a conceptual explanation is that it isn't the actual number (on your screen or list) that you are checking, but rather the information you have just transmitted orally along the phone line to the remote person. The "fact" you are checking is far from you in this sense, so "that" becomes appropriate.

I might end up eating crow on that one, but that's the best reason I can think of.
 
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