1

When did you born?

Can you please tell me which of the items below is the literal translation of the question?

  1. When did you give birth?
  2. When were you given birth to?

Also, how do we answer to this question?

I'm trying to ask my friend his birthdate.

3 Answers 3

11

I'm assuming you mean "When were you born?" which if you wanted to translate to one of the two options you have, it would be "When were you given birth to?"

Also, to answer this, one could say, "I was born on February 2nd, 1975."

5
  • I think you mean that the verb "born" in the question is in passive form. Therefore we used "were" instead of "did". Am I right? Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 11:29
  • 3
    @hkBattousai yes. Also, from the way you have the answers you may be confusing "to bear" and "born. So, if you asked, "When did you bear a child?", that would be the same thing as, "When did you give birth?"
    – Matt
    Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 11:35
  • 1
    @hkBattousai: The verb "born" is not passive, it is past tense, and really the verb is "to be born", so you need the past tense of "be" not "do". So you can't say "*When did you born", you have to say "When were you born". Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 18:36
  • Ok, thank you all for your explanations. I'm still confused at some point. Can you please tell me the meaning of the verb "to born"; is it "to give birth" or "to be given birth"? Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 19:10
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    @hkBattousai: There is no verb “to born”; “to bear” means “to give birth to”, and “to be born” means “to be given birth to”. “Bear” is to “born” as “wear” is to “worn”: “born” is the past participle of “bear”. When asking someone’s birth date, “When were you born?” is the correct and common phrase.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Oct 1, 2011 at 19:59
4

When did you born? sounds like pidgin English. I have heard this before, and it usually refers to one's birthdate. However, option (a) is also a possible interpretation.

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‘When did you born?’ is ungrammatical. If you’re addressing a mother, the normal form is ‘When did you give birth?’ ‘When were you given birth to?’ is grammatical, but highly unusual, and could apply only in respect of a child.

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  • Generally I find it safer to say, "it isn't proper English in any dialect I'm aware of." It could very well be that this is the proper way to say it in Belize or something.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 14:32
  • @T.E.D. I make the tacit assumption that we're talking about British and American Standard English, unless there is any counter-indication. Commented Jul 2, 2012 at 16:00

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