I often see "the same" used regularly in discourse from and among South Asian speakers of English, particularly among speakers of IndE, as in

I visited the tiger preserve in Ranthambore, and I highly recommend the same.

But in my experience with speakers of American and British English, it's hardly ever used.

Is there any population of native speakers of English (i.e. populations who have English as their first, and typically only, language1) which uses this construction regularly? Perhaps in some sub-population of Britain or one of its historical colonies, like Australia, New Zealand, et al?

Or is this principally an IndE usage?

NB: I'm particularly looking for authoritative references, perhaps from corpora, academic studies, or other reference works, rather than anecdotal data.

  • Usages like this are never going to be particularly common, irrespective of exactly how they're phrased, so I don't think it's likely there would be any concept of "isolated linguistic pockets" where unusual variations survive over extended periods of time in totally Anglophone communities. My guess is it's just another example of "Indian English" where relatively few people are anywhere near native speakers. I imagine the reason such "Victorian" usages often survive in IE is simply that more speakers there get much of their exposure to English from (on average, old) texts. Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:21
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    @ProfYaffle Yes, I think I'll need to clarify better precisely the specific usage of "the same" I mean. It's a kind of anaphora, used where most Anglophone speakers would instead choose the pronoun it, and typically falls at or near the end of a sentence. You'd recognize it if you encountered it, and it's a different kind of usage from my "do others do the same" or your "doing the same thing you do". I'll have to collect more examples for contrast.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 18:40
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    Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/30000/…
    – user66974
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 21:33
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    It is only an Indian English expression according to the following extract: "The same" - This phrase drives me nuts! Rather than refer to something that has previously been referred to as “it”, “it” is referred to as “the same”. Confused? Here is an example I saw recently: “I do not understand what you mean, please revert regarding the same” rakheeghelani.com/2012/10/15/indian-english-my-top-10
    – user66974
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 21:39
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    I was unaware that the usage was rare. In Australia it's not uncommon, although it tends to be used mostly in administrative correspondence as shorthand for "the thing I've previously referred to". I've also heard it without "the" - please complete the ZZ form and forward same by close of business. Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 4:34

1 Answer 1


I'm surprised that none of the comments had considered the colonial factor. In India (I cannot speak for other ex-colonies), English was mainly introduced into the local population via British-run schools, and experience with the British-run administration (which naturally employed Indians who graduated from said schools). Moreover, English was also taught in these schools in a classical aspect, the way Latin and Greek were being taught at the colleges of Britain proper. So while vernacular oddities of grammar (so prolific in Englishes everywhere, anyway) cropped up in what is called "Indian English", a more formal, technical use of the language was (and is) seen as a natural exercise in articulation, a convenience of which a fluent speaker is obliged to take advantage. In short, English has long been seen as the language of education, and economic/legal function, so it's actually not surprising that it is deployed in a way which reflects that functionality. Read Aijaz Ahmad's In Theory for more, specifically the essay "Indian Literature: Notes Towards the Definition of a Category".

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    That's an excellent comment, but can you remark specifically on the usage of 'the same' to make this an answer?
    – Mitch
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 13:49
  • @Mitch I can't account for that phrase specifically, but it certainly belongs to a family of word-saving unambiguous phrases - the latter property disqualifies the use of "it", at least in pre-21st century eras - which are regularly used in administrative parlance. Also, I intended to enter that "answer" as a comment, but didn't have enough reputation at the time. * hides face in shame *
    – flipsies
    Commented Jun 3, 2016 at 15:39

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