Do you have a café around here?

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cool-jupiter

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, native speakers. I'm wondering if you could help me on something.

"Do you have a cafe around here?"

Does this sentence ask the person in front of you if he/she owns/runs a cafe around the place the speakers are in? Or, is it simply asking if there is a cafe nearby? Or, could it mean both, depending on context? This is sort of confusing to me.
 
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    It could mean either thing, cool-jupiter. If you are simply asking if a cafe is nearby, you can avoid confusion by using "is there" instead of "do you have": Is there a cafe around here?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    It wouldn't be clear to me, but my immediate interpretation is that is that it's a question about whether there is a café in the vicinity. In other words, you refers to the community living there.

    If you wanted a question about ownership, I would expect a different verb (own or run, as you have suggested).
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    You don't give any context, so I'd have to assume the question was aimed at someone who is in a position to know, e.g. the person at the information desk at the entrance to a mall.

    I think it would sound a bit rude if you went up to someone in a strange town and just said this to them.
     

    Albatrosspro

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    To someone wearing a Starbucks uniform, it would mean if they (the company) operates a location nearby. Otherwise, "you" means the community as natkretep said, like "do you guys have a cafe around here". Agreeing with velisarius, it would be a bit rude, like a cafe is all they might have.
     

    cool-jupiter

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    owlman5 - Thanks as always for your very quick response. And of course for your rephrasing effort, too.

    natkretep - Thanks for your reply. It's always nice to find out how native speakers feel about a certain sentence.

    velisarius - Actually, I don't have any context. This comes from an English workbook written by a Japanese author. It introduced this sentence to give the meaning of "Is there a cafe around here?" I'm a bit surprised to learn that this could sound a bit rude.

    Albatrosspro - Thank you very much for explaining why this would sound a little rude. The connotation that a cafe is all they might have had never occurred to me.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    To elaborate on Albatross's explanation, I think the question might sound almost as accusing as "Don't you have a cafe around here?" (and if not, why not? :))

    It's the sort of question that an impatient and rather unpleasant person from a large town might ask when he finds himself in a small village, so it could sound a little disdainful.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Agreeing with velisarius, it would be a bit rude, like a cafe is all they might have.
    This depends a bit on what the local understanding of "cafe" is (and I'm wondering if velisarius and Albatrosspro would agree on exactly what a cafe is). I grew up in a small town with lots of restaurants but nothing as classy as a café.
     

    cool-jupiter

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    velisarius - Hmm, interesting. I might as well avoid using this form of sentence, though. I'll be careful not to make a bad impression when I go to that side of the rim.

    Myridon - Greetings. You view is also interesting, too. Which has started to make me wonder how a question like "How many airports do you have in this country?" might sound.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    It's the "around here" that sounds a bit dismissive, cool. "Do you have ....around here" may display an attitude that the other person is somehow responsible for any lack of amenities "in this place".
     

    cool-jupiter

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    velisarius - Thanks for your feedback. From here on out, I'll be sure to avoid using the “Do you have” question. It seems to be the safest bet.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    I think that's a bit drastic. "Do you have...?" is a fine way to begin a query, when "you" is the person you are talking to, or the institution that they represent. In a shop it's perfectly appropriate to ask the salesperson "Do you have...?"
     
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