He is/comes from Canada but was born in England.

Kenny Chang

Senior Member
Chinese(Traditional)
Hello, everyone.

If a 40-something person who had lived and worked in Canada for over 30 years, but he was actually born in England. Then , he came to another country for teaching, let's say, in Taiwan. For us, if we want to introduce him, can we say "He's from Canada but was born in England"?

Will "He's from Canada" give you the idea that he was born in Canada? Shoud I say "He comes from Canada but was born in England."

Without the "born in England" part, which one makes more sense to you?
1. He's from Canada.
2. He comes from Canada.

Thank you for your help.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    Both 1 and 2 make sense to me. It is often tricky to decide where a person "comes from" or "is from", if they have lived in multiple places. It does not mean "birthplace", or even "where you grew to adulthood".

    In your example the person was "from Canada".
     

    Kenny Chang

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Traditional)
    Both 1 and 2 make sense to me. It is often tricky to decide where a person "comes from" or "is from", if they have lived in multiple places. It does not mean "birthplace", or even "where you grew to adulthood".

    In your example the person was "from Canada".
    Thank you for your help.

    But in most cases, when the person says "I'm from XXX" or "I come from XXX," it means that person was born and raised in that country, right?

    For example, I'm from Taiwan / I come from Taiwan, and you're from America / you come from America.
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It's often true but not always.

    This question comes up a lot in our country because we have 50 different states and people move between states a lot.

    I usually tell people I am "from" the state I am living in now and where I have lived for more than half of my life. That's usually what matters in most conversations. Where I was born doesn't usually matter. If it does matter for some reason, I tell them I am from State A but was born in State B. But I also usually tell them I didn't live in State B for very long. (It did not affect my life very much or who I am as a person.)
     

    Kenny Chang

    Senior Member
    Chinese(Traditional)
    Thank you all for your replies.

    @kentix
    But if you travel to another country and the people there ask you where you are from, you will still say "I'm from the US," right?

    @london calling
    If you travel to another country and the people there ask you where you are from, will you say "I'm from England" or "I'm from Italy"?
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Thank you all for your replies.

    @kentix
    But if you travel to another country and the people there ask you where you are from, you will still say "I'm from the US," right?

    @london calling
    If you travel to another country and the people there ask you where you are from, will you say "I'm from England" or "I'm from Italy"?
    I'm from England but I live in Italy.:)
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I once worked for Paul Stephenson, the well-known black civil rights activist. He told me how he was once asked "Where do you come from, Mr Stephenson?" He replied "I was born Rochford, Essex". "Ah, yes, but I mean before that."

    So for some people, to be "from" a place goes back a long, long way!
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English (US - northeast)
    But in most cases, when the person says "I'm from XXX" or "I come from XXX," it means that person was born and raised in that country, right?
    No, it does not "mean" that.

    1. "From" and "come from" do not mean "country". It is just as common to say "I'm from Beijing" or "I'm from Shanxi" or "I'm from Michigan". If you mean country, you should say "What country are you from?" or "What country do you come from?"

    2. "From" is not about place of birth or place you were "raised". "From" is closer to "live in" or "resident of". How many people "were born and raised" in one place, then as adults lived 40+ years in a different place? They are more like to say they are "from" the place they have lived 40+ years.

    To ask about birthplace, you ask "Where were you born?" To ask where someone grew up (lived before adulthood) you ask "Where did you grow up?" To ask where someone is living on a long-term basis, you ask "Where are you from?"

    For some people, all three answers are the same. For other people, all three answers are different.
     

    Aguas Claras

    Senior Member
    UK English
    It depends very much on the context. In general terms, I would say I was from England or the north of England, which is where I was born and went to school (although in two entirely different places).

    If, however, I am visiting a nature reserve in the south of Spain and they ask me where I am from, I say I'm from Madrid because they are usually seeking information on the geographical origin of their visitors.
     
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