Is this for the rubbish?

  • Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It seems unremarkable to me, provided that you are holding up or pointing to whatever it is you want to throw away.

    "Is this for the rubbish?"
    "No! We recycle paper."
     

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    To me it's perfectly clear and understandable, and there is no ambiguity about what you mean, as long as, as Andygc observes, the person you are asking is aware of what item(s) you are talking about.
     

    Dretagoto

    Senior Member
    Inglés británico
    No, what you're holding up is much too small to put rubbish in. We use that can on the floor for rubbish.

    It must be an AE/BE difference.
    I suspect you're right. And if someone asked me "is this for rubbish?" I would understand it to mean is it to be used as a container for rubbish, but with the definite article it means is it to be added to the rubbish/thrown away.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Hello. I would like to know if it is ok to ask "is this for the rubbish?" meaning "can I put this into the rubbish?"
    Thank you !!
    Not in AE. That is a BE use of "is for", meaning "is destined to go into".

    In AE we would say "Is this rubbish?". If it is rubbish, then you throw it into the rubbish container.

    Of course in AE we say "trash" or "garbage", not "rubbish". But I speak a little bit of BE, so I know what you mean.:rolleyes:
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    In my experience in AE it's common when you are cleaning up after a picnic or party (where there are not regular trash receptacles) to point to a garbage bag that's sitting there and say "Is this trash?", meaning "Is this the bag we're using to collect trash?"/"Can I throw this trash I have in this bag?" Someone will either say "Yes", or "No, that's for recycling" or whatever.
     

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    No, what you're holding up is much too small to put rubbish in. We use that can on the floor for rubbish.
    It must be an AE/BE difference.
    That's assuming what you're holding up is some sort of container/bag/receptacle. If it isn't, wouldn't it be clear that the person meant: Is this to be thrown away?, and not Is this for throwing things in??
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    As long as you substituted trash (or garbage), I think it would work most of the time because of the context. If someone asked you that question from another room, it would be pretty ambiguous.
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    That's assuming what you're holding up is some sort of container/bag/receptacle. If it isn't, wouldn't it be clear that the person meant: Is this to be thrown away?, and not Is this for throwing things in??
    Of course. The association of "for the rubbish" with containers for trash is so natural for me that the question in the OP would cause me to skip a beat before I answered, regardless of what was held up or pointed to. (I'm slow, but I would figure it out.)
     

    Mike Anakin

    Senior Member
    Spanish- Spain
    I conclude that the best options (I mean less ambiguous in general) for saying this are:
    - Does this go in the rubbish/gargabe/trash (bin)?
    - Is this to be thrown away?

    And in case I was refering to the container:
    - Is this for throwing things in?

    I have some doubts about the last two. Could you please tell me if they´re correct? I found those two last really useful for other structures i´ve got trouble with when i´m translating from spanish.
    Doesn´t "is this to be thrown away?" have an obligatory nature? Couldn´t I use simply "this is to throw away"?

    thanks.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "Is this for the rubbish?" meaning "can I put this into the rubbish?"

    I'm with Andygc #3 - this is colloquial and said in context.
     

    Linkway

    Senior Member
    British English
    "Is this for the rubbish?"
    What that means depends on context.

    If someone was holding a broken kettle, and said: "Is this for the rubbish?" it would mean (in BE) "Shall I put this in the rubbish bag/dustbin etc?" i.e "Are we throwing it away?"

    If someone was holding a large plastic sack, and said: "Is this for the rubbish?" it would mean (in BE) "Is this bag for putting the rubbish in?"


    True ambiguity would occur when someone was holding a badly torn rubbish rubbish bag and asked "Is this for the rubbish?"
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    True ambiguity would occur when someone was holding a badly torn rubbish rubbish bag and asked "Is this for the rubbish?"
    :D "No, you put the rubbish in it and it drops out - you repeat this and it drops out again - we call this recycling..."

    More seriously, and in reality, the other person would reply
    1. Yes, throw it away."
    or
    2. Yes, the smaller stuff can be put in it."

    I don't think this is true ambiguity, as it does not matter which way it is understood.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top