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sibling

Discussion in 'English Only' started by csx17, Mar 3, 2009.

  1. csx17

    csx17 Senior Member

    Portuguese
    Hello guys!Can I say? I have three siblings.
     
  2. rmawhorter Junior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    English - Canada
    Yes, that works just fine.
     
  3. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    If you have three brothers, you would ordinarily say, "I have three brothers."

    If you have three sisters, you would ordinarily say, "I have three sisters."

    If you have a mix of brothers and sisters, then you would say, "I have three siblings."

    It would be quite common to add to that and say, "I have three siblings; two brothers and one sister."
     
  4. chamyto

    chamyto Senior Member

    Burgos, Spain
    Spanish
    This word means brothers and sisters, doesn´t it ?
     
  5. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Sibling, to me, is rather a formal term: I'd expect to see it in a social services report, for example, but not to hear it in a conversation between friends.

    As far as I know, I've never used the word (before now!)

    In Packard's three cases, I'd say:
    I have three sisters
    I have three brothers
    I have two brothers and a sister

    (Actually, I'd probably say I've got... but that's a different issue:))

    PS: yes, sibling means 'brother or sister'
     
  6. chamyto

    chamyto Senior Member

    Burgos, Spain
    Spanish
    My english teacher told me that sibling is hardly ever used in everyday English
     
  7. zefee Junior Member

    Coventry, England
    English (BE)
    This is true, if I'm honest, the only times I hear it is when a foreign person is interested to see if I have any brothers or sisters, I never hear it from native-English people.

    zef
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2009
  8. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    It is used in medical forms all the time:

    Please list the ages and sexes of your siblings_________
    Have any of your siblings had high blood pressure?
    Have any of your siblings had heart problems?

    Etc.
     
  9. zefee Junior Member

    Coventry, England
    English (BE)
    But it's like chamyto said, medical forms are not "every day english" and allthough they are to people in the field, it would be weird to hear lets say the person who just moved in next to you ask you it.

    zef
     
  10. waggledook Senior Member

    Madrid, Spain
    British English
    I would certainly use the word sibling, but in more general terms. I speak of siblings when considering hypothetical situations where gender is unimportant, or in other cases where gender is unknown. I've often heard it used in expressions like "sibling rivalry". In this way it's usage is very similar to that of "spouse".

    That said, I agree it is mostly confined to more formal or official contexts.
     
  11. rmawhorter Junior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    English - Canada
    I use the term siblings semi-regularly. It doesn't seem formal to me. Maybe there are regional differences. I'm Canadian.
     
  12. Dimcl Senior Member

    British Columbia, Canada
    Canadian English
    I agree. It's not at all strange to hear it in my world and I know that I quite often use it.
     
  13. Gypsyuma New Member

    English
    I agree with those who say "siblings" is more of a formal literary term, not at all mainstream english.
     

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