souvenirs/gifts/presents/things your friend had brought back

meijin

Senior Member
Japanese
Hi, let's say your friend has just come back from Japan and is now in the living room of your house. He takes out a small plastic bottle of green tea and a few rice crackers, as well as a hat that doesn't look Japanese at all but looks really cool and suitable for you (that's why he bought it), all of which aren't wrapped and are just put in plastic bags, from his backpack and throws them at you saying "Hey, I've got these for you!"

Next day, someone broke into your house and took lots of things, including your laptop, watches, DVDs, and the <souvenirs/gifts/presents/things> your friend had brought back from Japan.

Now, I've listed four words in the brackets and I'm sure "things" is very natural and appropriate. "Souvenirs" is probably inappropriate because the food and drink would have been consumed within a few days and you wouldn't have remembered Japan by looking at a hat that doesn't look Japanese at all. "Gifts" is probably a little too formal in that context. Would you say "presents" works fine?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    If you are telling the friend what has happened -> "... and all the things you bought me."
    If you are telling the police -> "... a hat and some other small gifts my friend gave me the day before."
    If you are telling your parents -> "... and some stuff John bought me from Japan."
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    If you are telling the friend what has happened -> "... and all the things you bought me."
    If you are telling the police -> "... a hat and some other small gifts my friend gave me the day before."
    If you are telling your parents -> "... and some stuff John bought me from Japan."
    :thumbsup:
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Why is it "gifts", not "presents", when telling the police? Because you want to give an impression that the things were expensive and important? Or because having a conversation with the police is a "formal" situation? I think I read all WR threads on the difference between gift and present and some said "gift" was more formal than "present" and it seemed that BE speakers were more likely to use "present" than "gift".
     

    burningpocket

    Member
    English - United States
    "Gift" is more formal for a conversation with the police. Gift and present mean the same thing, but most people wouldn't use present outside of the specific phrases "birthday present" or Christmas present". A child asks for presents on their birthday, you give your friend a souvenir gift.
     

    meijin

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much for the explanation, burningpocket. Am I right in thinking that it doesn't have to be "gift" when talking with the police? I mean, what about "...and all the things my friend brought me back from Japan" or "...and all the things my friend gave me the day before"? These are also natural, aren't they?
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    Thank you very much for the explanation, burningpocket. Am I right in thinking that it doesn't have to be "gift" when talking with the police? I mean, what about "...and all the things my friend brought me back from Japan" or "...and all the things my friend gave me the day before"? These are also natural, aren't they?
    They (the use of the "general" word "things") are probably more likely than gifts and presents :D It's not relevant to the police where the things came from!
     
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