Friday, July 6, 2012

English subtlety: Turn right here

I was recently in a hurry guiding someone who is not a native English speaker to a spot on foot when we came to a four-way intersection. We needed to turn left, and I both moved physically and also pointed my finger in that direction, but I also quite automatically, simultaneously uttered the words "Turn right here."

Of course, my verbal emphasis was "Turn RIGHT HERE", not "Turn RIGHT here". In fact, my intention was not misunderstood, but I could certainly see the phrase being confusing for someone whose native language was not English.

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