in a rubbish world

Silver

Senior Member
Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
Hi,

Again, I was picking up litter (Sorry for so many weird scenarios), a man was very curious about what I was doing. He also found that my tools are funny, later he went up and talked to me:

Man-What are you doing here?
Silver-Picking up litter.
Man-Why do you do that?
Silver-Do you want your child to live in a rubbish world? (I told him first that the city is polluted by so many trash; we have so many people in China. And actually I think many people know this.)

I wonder if the bold is natural. I think it is.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    When I read the phrase in bold, it is clearly one that you made up. It is not a standard idiom.

    But yes, it is a very natural way to express this concept, in English. I have heard similar phrases many times.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    It sounds odd to me; we wouldn't use "rubbish" as an adjective. I think we'd say, "Do you want your children to live in a world of rubbish?"
     

    Silver

    Senior Member
    Chinese,Cantonese,Sichuan dialect
    I tend to agree with Parla again. Google shows 88 results (in context), I wanted to write:

    ............ to live in a world that is full of rubbish? (But I didn't because it's too long to be a question to ask. Again, elementary school stuents speak English here!)

    When I used "rubbish world", I was thinking "convenience store", two nouns put together.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    "Convenience store" is a set phrase describing a particular sort of store. Anyone (any American, anyway) would know instantly what was meant. That doesn't mean that you can put any two nouns together to make an understandable phrase.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I think in BrE and probably also AusE (from post 6), rubbish when used before a noun often means 'low quality'. We might talk about a 'rubbish essay' to mean a bad essay; a 'rubbish singer' is someone who is bad at singing. When I read 'rubbish world' I thought it meant 'degraded world' rather than 'a world full of rubbish'. I'd go with YLR's suggestion (post 6).
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If you wanted British English, "Do you want your child living in a tip?"

    I agree that "Do you want your children living in a world full of rubbish?" is good, but it lacks the short-and-snappy-retort quality. :) Although you can make it slightly shorter by taking out "full."
     
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