newsagent

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vkhu

Senior Member
Vietnamese
I'm reading a children book set in England called Bad Dad by David Walliams. In this book, there's a man who own a newsagent. Yet in the story, the term "sweet shop" keep getting used almost interchangeably with newsagent. The owner himself is described as "a huge jolly jelly of a man, who probably ate more of his sweets than he ever sold."

This greatly confused me. Aren't newsagent supposed to sell newspaper and magazine predominantly, with may be some cigarette, candies, and stationery on the side? Why is it being used as a synonym for a sweet shop?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    A newsagent would have a wider range of newspapers and magazines than a 'corner shop', but wouldn't be predominantly those. There'd be sweets, tinned food, biscuits, probably alcohol. It would be a general shop. For children, of course, it would be their sweet shop.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Aren't newsagent supposed to sell newspaper and magazine predominantly, with may be some cigarettes, candies sweets, and stationery on the side? Why is it being used as a synonym for a sweet shop?
    It isn't being used as a synonym. It is being used to describe the relevant function.

    The book was probably not designed or written for an non-native speaking audience, and it seems to be written in a colloquial style.

    In the UK in the past, there were a variety of specialised shops that sold [chiefly] only one type of item. As the years passed, it became common for such shops to sell many things. People often refer to them by the article that is most relevant:

    A: Where can I buy some cigarettes?
    B: "There a tobacconist just there."
    A(i): "Where can I buy a newspaper.
    B(i): "There a newsagents just there."
    A(ii): Where can I buy a bag of humbugs?
    B(iii) "There a sweet shop just there."

    In all the above, B is pointing at the same shop.
     
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