7
   

"It is not allowed to smoke here"

 
 
SMickey
 
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 09:51 pm
My English teacher told me that the expression
"It is not allowed to smoke here' isn't recommended to use.

I thought 'why not? There appears to be no grammatical error.'

Would that expression might tip off someone that the speaker isn't a native speaker?

If so, what expression would be good to use instead?

How about 'You should not smoke here?'
 
View best answer, chosen by SMickey
BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 09:58 pm
@SMickey,
Quote:
"It is not allowed to smoke here' isn't recommended to use.


Who is "it" that is not allowed to smoke? Laughing

You are not allowed to smoke here.

InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 11:08 pm
Smoking is not allowed here.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 11:12 pm
@SMickey,
The signs say: "NO SMOKING"
0 Replies
 
contrex
  Selected Answer
 
  1  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 11:35 pm
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
Who is "it" that is not allowed to smoke?

Plenty of expressions with 'it' are used in English.

It is good to relax after work
It can be a mistake to run with scissors
It is forbidden to use cameras
It is three A.M.
It is not raining.
It is allowed to swim in the pool

In each of these examples, 'It' serves as: "an expletive subject of an impersonal verb that expresses a simple condition or an action without implied reference to an agent" (Webster 3rd New International Dictionary)

Using 'It' in this way is necessary because English is one of those languages where a sentence must have a subject.



0 Replies
 
contrex
 
  2  
Reply Sat 31 May, 2014 11:52 pm
Used as above, 'it' is a dummy subject. It has no meaning, but provides a subject for a clause that otherwise wouldn't have one.

Smickey, the expression "It is not allowed to smoke here" is perfectly good grammatical English, but your teacher may be thinking of these things:

1. For a notice to be fixed on a wall, "It is not allowed to smoke here" has too many words, and would be harder to read from a distance than "NO SMOKING".

2. Expressions using "It is ... " or "It is not" are formal.

Formal: It is not allowed to swim in the river.
Less formal: It isn't allowed to swim in the river.
Informal or conversational: You can't swim in the river.
Terse (on a notice): NO SWIMMING

Fluent native speakers are good at knowing which level of formality to use, whereas non-native learners tend to mix them in the same piece of writing or speech. The concept is called 'register'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Register_%28sociolinguistics%29




contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 01:33 am
@contrex,
contrex wrote:
Fluent native speakers are good at knowing which level of formality to use, whereas non-native learners tend to mix them in the same piece of writing or speech.

A lot of the "you can't say this" type of advice on this and other forums is pitched at the informal/conversational level. Many native speakers do not habitually use the more formal levels, but are usually aware of them to some extent. Sometimes they will dispense misleading advice because they assume that because they have not heard of some expression or usage, it must be "wrong".

0 Replies
 
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 06:11 am
@contrex,
Quote:
"It is not allowed to smoke here" is perfectly good grammatical English, but your teacher may be thinking of these things:


The meaning is clear and the grammar may be correct, however the phase does not in any manner sound right to the ear.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 06:26 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
The meaning is clear and the grammar may be correct, however the phase does not in any manner sound right to the ear.

(I'm trying to put this politely) The fact that it does not 'sound right' to your ear is your problem, and is probably because it is a way of expressing something that you have not heard very much. It is, in fact, perfectly good, if somewhat formal English.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 06:39 am
@contrex,
Quote:
(I'm trying to put this politely)


An why would you not be polite to someone who is politely disagreeing with you?

Next, I question if I am the only one in the English speaking world who is of the opinion that the phase is awkward sounding and to the point of marking the creator out as a likely non-native speaker.
Ticomaya
 
  3  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 06:54 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
Next, I question if I am the only one in the English speaking world who is of the opinion that the phase is awkward sounding and to the point of marking the creator out as a likely non-native speaker.

No, you are not. And since the OP asked, "Would that expression might tip off someone that the speaker isn't a native speaker?", you were correct to point out that it would.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 07:35 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:
the phase is awkward sounding and to the point of marking the creator out as a likely non-native speaker.


since that is what the OP wanted to know, your answer is the correct one
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 07:40 am
@ehBeth,
ehBeth wrote:

BillRM wrote:
the phase is awkward sounding and to the point of marking the creator out as a likely non-native speaker.


since that is what the OP wanted to know, your answer is the correct one



I don't agree that the phrase is "awkward sounding". (What does that mean, apart from "I ain't heard it much"?). One man's "awkward sounding" phrase is another man's perfectly usable familiar one.


ehBeth
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 07:46 am
@contrex,
Looks like you've been out-voted by the native English speakers.

Better luck next time.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 08:00 am
@ehBeth,
Quote:
Re: contrex (Post 5680030)
Looks like you've been out-voted by the native English speakers.



Take note however that the poster of the question had awarded contrex the best answer award.

We live in a strange universe indeed.
contrex
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 08:23 am
@BillRM,
BillRM wrote:

Take note however that the poster of the question had awarded contrex the best answer award.


That is because the answer is correct. I see a fair bit of partisan voting-down has been going on, however the OP's opinion is what I value most.
BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 09:55 am
@contrex,
Quote:
That is because the answer is correct. I see a fair bit of partisan voting-down has been going on, however the OP's opinion is what I value most.


Ok, I am happy that the OP is happy but still the majority of native English speakers who read those words are likely to come to the conclusion that the author is not a native English speaker as was ones of the OP concerns.
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 10:07 am
@BillRM,
I suspect that the OP doesn't really understand the info provided by contrex.

contrex did not answer the OP's question.
0 Replies
 
SMickey
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 12:19 pm
@Ticomaya,
Hi. I wonder if the 'OP' refers to me.
From the context, I guess it is me.

Could you let me know if my guess is right,
and if so, could you please help me understand what that stands for?

Lordyaswas
 
  2  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2014 12:21 pm
@SMickey,
OP stands for original poster.
 

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