What's new

Mary wears blond hair

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Dear native English speakers, I need your help.
(a) Mary wears blond hair.
(b) Mary has blond hair.
Can (a) mean (b)?

(c) Fay wore her hair in a ponytail.
(d) Fay had her hair in a ponytail.
Can (d) mean (c)?

Hirashin
 

OoTmaster

先輩
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
732
Reaction score
117
I wouldn't say (a) it doesn't sound natural. I would more likely say either "Mary wears a blonde wig" or "Mary dyes her hair blonde" depending on the case. For (c) and (d) they are interchangeable.
 

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Thanks, OoTmaster. I have further questions.

Japanese students sometimes say or write something like "Mary is blond hair." I don't think it would sound right. Am I right?

How about these? Would any of them be used?
(e1) Mary is in blond hair.
(e2) Mary is with blond hair.
(e3) Mary is of blond hair.
(f1) That girl in blond hair is Mary.
(f2) That girl with blond hair is Mary.
(f3) That girl of blond hair is Mary.
 

Julie.chan

Sempai
Joined
Jun 21, 2017
Messages
702
Reaction score
93
When you're talking about hair being on your head, you only say that you have it in general. "Wear" works with certain kinds of styling, though, as in "C". I would stick to "have" if I were a non-native speaker; it's always a good choice and the others are a bit circumstantial. "A" sounds like you're talking about a wig, for example.

You don't tend to say that someone "is in" natural hair, either. I wouldn't say it's wrong, but I'd be more likely to use F2 than F1. E2 doesn't make any sense. E3 and F3 are correct to my knowledge, but antiquated.

Japanese students sometimes say or write something like "Mary is blond hair." I don't think it would sound right. Am I right?
Not only does it not sound right, it's incorrect. It unambiguously means that Mary is a walking, talking chunk of hair. Not that she has hair, she is hair.
 
Last edited:

OoTmaster

先輩
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
732
Reaction score
117
"That girl with blond hair is Mary." would be the preferred one out of all the ones you listed. You could also say "Mary has blonde hair." or "Mary is the girl with the blonde hair." Just a quick note as well, normally with females it's spelled blonde and if it doesn't refer to someone that's female that has these traits it's spelled blond. I'm not sure if that's American specific or a general rule in English.

I would think their favoritism toward "Mary is blond hair." would come from what I think is the correct Japanese phrase equivalent "メアリーは金髪です。." This however doesn't work well in English because is in this sense works more like an equals sign. Mary = blond hair. Like if you were to say "Mary is a frog." it would be Mary = a frog.
 
Last edited:

johnnyG

先輩
Joined
Dec 23, 2010
Messages
1,009
Reaction score
259
If you want to use is:
Mary is a blonde/brunette/redhead.
or maybe:
Mary is blonde-headed/blonde-haired.
Mary is dark-haired.


I've heard wear used for beards: (in addition to has)
He wears a beard.
also for how or style:
Mary wears her hair short/long.
He wears a beard really well.
( = looks good with a beard)

This equates these with an accessory--i.e., to wear jewelry/earrings/makeup/etc.
 

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Thanks for the help, Julimaruchan, OoTmaster and johnnyG.

OoTmaster, thanks for the explanation for the usage of "is". That was what I thought. But I have a further question here. I've heard that native speakers say something like "I am the orange juice" or "I am the sandwich" etc... in cafes or restaurants. Is that true?
 

johnnyG

先輩
Joined
Dec 23, 2010
Messages
1,009
Reaction score
259
...
Like if you were to say "Mary is a frog." it would be Mary = a frog.
If Mary was a frog, she'd probably have green hair, at least until the prince kisses her.

I've heard that native speakers say something like "I am the orange juice" or "I am the sandwich" etc... in cafes or restaurants. Is that true?
At a restaurant, after ordering and waiting a bit, the server/waitperson will bring the food.

Then, yes, people will sometimes speak this way. But it's informal, would never be tested on something like TOEIC, and, "I am" would always be "I'm".

Deeper, "I'm the OJ," or I'm the BLT," would be "I'm the one that ordered the OJ," or "I'm the one that ordered the BLT."
 
Last edited:

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Then, yes, people will sometimes speak this way. But it's informal, would never be tested on something like TOEIC, and, "I am" would always be "I'm".
Thanks, johnnyG. I'm glad to hear that what I heard is correct.

Deeper, "I'm the OJ," or I'm the BLT," would be "I'm the one that ordered the OJ," or "I'm the one that ordered the BLT."
I didn't know that you say OJ for orange juice. Do American people commonly use it?
 

johnnyG

先輩
Joined
Dec 23, 2010
Messages
1,009
Reaction score
259
@hirashin Even more important...,

:emoji_point_right: do you know what TP is? :emoji_thinking: :emoji_slight_smile:
 

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Thanks, OoTmaster.
To johnnyG:
TP? No. What's that?
 

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Oh, toilet paper. Is that abbreviation common in the U.S. too?
 

hirashin

Sempai
Donor
Joined
Apr 8, 2004
Messages
2,399
Reaction score
37
Thanks, ooTmaster. If I want to buy toilet paper, is it all right to ask the store clerk,"Where is TP"?
 

Julie.chan

Sempai
Joined
Jun 21, 2017
Messages
702
Reaction score
93
It's pretty much OK to ask the store clerk anything that isn't vulgar, obscene, or indecent (swear words or talking about/mentioning sex or bodily fluids unnecessarily). Yeah, there's no problem with "TP". Heck, there's a bit of an aversion toward saying "toilet" in America. (Ever noticed that the word "bathroom" is always used for that here? Some Britons like to make fun of us for that.) "TP" raises that discomfort a little less at least for some.

Other than a number of very specific "bad words", which I'm sure you're aware of, it's not word choice that affects politeness in English, rather it is (literally) tone. Other than just not saying the aforementioned swear words and not raising your voice, I don't think non-native speakers need to worry about it.
 

OoTmaster

先輩
Joined
Oct 23, 2012
Messages
732
Reaction score
117
Thanks, ooTmaster. If I want to buy toilet paper, is it all right to ask the store clerk,"Where is TP"?
Perfectly fine. It would sound more natural if you were to say "Where is the TP?" as opposed to without the word "the" or you can ask "Which aisle has TP?".
 

mdchachi

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2003
Messages
2,605
Reaction score
475
It would be more reliable to say "bathroom tissue." I think a clerk may not be expecting to hear "TP," especially if you're not a native speaker. And, honestly, I wouldn't say it myself. I'm familiar with the term but it's never something we've said in my family so it wouldn't even occur to me to use it.
 

Julie.chan

Sempai
Joined
Jun 21, 2017
Messages
702
Reaction score
93
I don't know about that. "Bathroom tissue" is just a labeling term, I'd bet lots of people don't know it. (After all, lots of people don't bother to read that stuff.) Also no one would ask for "bathroom tissue". I think the usual question would be "Where are the paper products?" (to avoid even mentioning the subject), but if you need help finding toilet paper specifically, "toilet paper" is perfectly fine.

Dang, a topic about talking about hair color, and we've devolved into a bunch of potty mouths.
 
Top