you are welcome to a place vs you are welcome to something

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

I guess the structure "you are welcome to some place" is ungrammatical.
For instance:
You are welcome to England.
You are welcome to our theater.

But the structure "you are welcome to something (not a place)" is correct.
For example:
You are welcome to my car.
You are welcome to the pizza.


Do you think so?
 
  • Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    You are welcome to my car. = 'you are free to do with it as you please; treat it as your own.' or simply 'you can have it'

    I think that you can only say this of something that you have dominion over. So maybe only the Queen could say 'You are welcome to England.'
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I see no reason why you couldn't say to someone who visits you from another country, "Welcome to China!" It doesn't mean "you can take over my country."

    But as Beryl says, "you are welcome to my [car/shirt/book]" does mean take it, it's yours.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    What does it mean when the Queen says it? Not "you are welcome to visit England", I guess. But "you can own England, or you can accept it as your territory."

    Is that right?
    Yes, that's the sort of thing it might mean if she were to ever say it. It's a fanciful suggestion though. I should probably add that depending on the context, 'you're welcome to it' can also carry the implication that the 'it' in question is no longer desirable to its owner, because for one reason or another, they've fallen out of love with it.

    For instance: 'you're welcome to my pizza - it's got chilli on it, which always makes me cry.' :( (Cross-posted with Parla)
     

    Thomas Tompion

    Senior Member
    English - England
    This is a famous problem. It was said that for years there was a sign up at the reception desk at the main Intourist hotel in Moscow reading IF THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO THE USSR YOU ARE WELCOME TO IT.

    That can be a rude way of saying that the visit is disagreeable but you can have it if you wish - you are welcome to this dish of beans can mean it's disgusting but you can have it if you wish.

    You are welcome to England is grammatical, but it runs the risk of being taken for this formula.

    Welcome to England
    does not run this risk.
     

    stephenlearner

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I see no reason why you couldn't say to someone who visits you from another country, "Welcome to China!" It doesn't mean "you can take over my country."

    But as Beryl says, "you are welcome to my [car/shirt/book]" does mean take it, it's yours.
    Welcome to China is definitely correct. You are welcome to China, as I was told by Mr. Copyright in another thread, is not. Please see http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=1067134.

    I just now asked a native speaker from Tennessee. In his opinion, "you are welcome to use my car" works, but not "you are welcome to my car".

    Why do natives have different ideas? He is young. So maybe he has not heard this sentence.
     
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