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Question Does "There are a lot of people on the beach now" sound stiff?

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hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,

Do all the sentences sound natural?
1 There is a big ginkgo tree near my house.
2 There are a lot of people on the beach now.
3 Is there a lion in the zoo?
4 Are there any students at school today?
5 There are ten balls in the box.
6 There is a baby on the bed.
7 There are many birds in the park.

8 Is there any water in the bottle?
9 Are there any tall buildings in your city/town?
10 Is there a bookshelf in your room?
11 There are a lot of wild animals around here.

A native English speaker from Australia says 2 sounds stiff. What do you think?
 

mdchachi

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Dear native English speakers,

Do all the sentences sound natural?
1 There is a big ginkgo tree near my house.
2 There are a lot of people on the beach now.
3 Is there a lion in the zoo?
4 Are there any students at school today?
5 There are ten balls in the box.
6 There is a baby on the bed.
7 There are many birds in the park.

8 Is there any water in the bottle?
9 Are there any tall buildings in your city/town?
10 Is there a bookshelf in your room?
11 There are a lot of wild animals around here.

A native English speaker from Australia says 2 sounds stiff. What do you think?
They all sound fine to me.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, mdchachi and Lothor. OK. I'll leave #2 as it is.
 

Buntaro

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There are a lot of people on the beach now.

"There are a lot of people on the beach now" and "there are a lot of people at the beach now" do not have the same meaning (American English).
 

Lothor

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"There are a lot of people on the beach now" and "there are a lot of people at the beach now" do not have the same meaning (American English).
For me, I don't see a difference!
 

Lothor

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I see it with the library, which has an inside and an outside, but with both beach sentences I'd be expecting to meet the person on the sand.
 

Buntaro

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with both beach sentences I'd be expecting to meet the person on the sand.

I think "at the beach" refers to possibly meeting someone on the boardwalk fronting the beach, whereas "on the beach" does not (American English).
 

Lothor

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I see. With something like that, I suppose we all have different images of what a beach looks like. I immediately think of the beaches of my childhood in Wales, which often didn't have a boardwalk. Like this one.
 

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hirashin

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It's always interesting to know differences between UK and US English. Thank you, Buntaro and Lothor. (I used "differences" here. Am I using it correctly?)
 

Lothor

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Yes, use is correct. But this difference may have originated from our different images of beaches not from our different countries.
 

mdchachi

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I agree with Lothor's interpretation.
To me, everybody in the picture is at the beach but only the two kids in front are on the beach.


1599672810239.png
 

dogdays21

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IMO, The preposition “on” implies a more specific location, whereas “at” is more general in location. Someone who is ”on the beach” implies that they are physically standing/laying/sitting etc. on the actual beach. Someone who is “at the beach” can mean they are somewhere in the vicinity of the beach, but not actually physically on top of the actual beach; they can be on the nearby boardwalk, shops, rocks, cliffs, etc.

Similar to how “at the seashore” is used. Someone taking a holiday “at the seashore“ will be different from someone taking a holiday “on the seashore”. The first implies proximity while the second implies specific location.
 

dogdays21

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Dear native English speakers,

Do all the sentences sound natural?
1 There is a big ginkgo tree near my house.
2 There are a lot of people on the beach now.
3 Is there a lion in the zoo?
4 Are there any students at school today?
5 There are ten balls in the box.
6 There is a baby on the bed.
7 There are many birds in the park.

8 Is there any water in the bottle?
9 Are there any tall buildings in your city/town?
10 Is there a bookshelf in your room?
11 There are a lot of wild animals around here.

A native English speaker from Australia says 2 sounds stiff. What do you think?

Although all of the sentences are grammatically correct, some may be written in the vernacular more likely to be used by native speakers.

When possible, it is better to use the active, instead of the passive, written form. Many people also like to shorten the sentence where possible; word economy is preferred. Thus, these sentences may be better rewritten as :

#2. There are many people on the beach now.

#3. Is there a lion in the zoo?

This sentence is a bit awkward because it implies the writer is asking if the zoo contains just one lion, when most zoos will contain more than one.

Perhaps it may be rewritten as: Does the zoo have lions?


#5. The box contains ten balls.

#9 Are there tall buildings in your town? Or. Does you town have tall buildings?
 

Michael2

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Also, in England at least you would always say "a lot of" instead of "many", and I think you should include "any" in the question form with plurals.
 
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