Which of these ques­tions, if any, would work when po­litely ask­ing a stranger? If more than one works, what if any dif­fer­ence is there be­tween them?

  1. Ex­cuse me, is there a Tesco over there?
  2. Ex­cuse me, is there any Tesco over there?
  3. Ex­cuse me, is there Tesco over there?
  4. Ex­cuse me, is Tesco over there?
  5. (Some­thing else I haven’t thought of?)

Mind you, I do not want to go to just any old ge­ner­ic shop: I want to go only to one owned by the Tesco cor­po­ra­tion. I do not care about the size of that Tesco, whether it’s a gi­ant su­per­store or just a lit­tle lo­cal one.

In short, how would I ask peo­ple on the street when I need to go to a shop named Tesco?

Re­gional Note

Tesco is the brand name of a very large su­per­mar­ket chain in the United King­dom, so you can re­place it with what­ever com­pany-name works best for you, such as Carre­four, Aldi, Jumbo, Tar­get, Wal­mart, Kroger, Safe­way, etc.

Also feel free to re­place my over there at the end with any loca­tive ad­ver­bial phrase, such as nearby, around here, in town, within easy walk­ing dis­tance.

  • Rather than Sainsbury's (unfamiliar to many learners, I'm sure), you could just as well ask about the same construction with shop. The answer being you need an indefinite article (and any doesn't work with singular countable nouns in such contexts - that's Are there any shops here?). Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 16:30
  • Thanks for the advice. I have edited my question. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 16:37
  • If you say ''Are there any shops here?" to a stranger, they'll probably say either "what shops?" or "here? Don't you have eyes?". In fact, I want to go to Tesco (or Sainsbury's), so I have to ask another question like 'Are there any Tesco shops?" or "Is there any Tesco?" or "Is there Tesco?" or "Is there a Tesco?", which was my original question above. Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 16:45
  • 1
    It's colloquial, in the UK at least, to delete "Excuse me, is there a Tesco supermarket over there?" to "Excuse me, is there a Tesco over there?" and even to adjust to "Excuse me, is there a Tesco's over there?" Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 16:46
  • Thanks for the reply. Yesterday, I asked a stranger the same question and they replied ''there is a Tesco down there'. But, why would you say "a Tesco's" instead of "a Tesco"? Its name is Tesco, not Tesco's unlike Sainsbury's Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 16:49

2 Answers 2


No 1. is overwhelmingly the most natural to me (British English).

No 4. is grammatical and natural, but has a different meaning: it assumes there is a Tesco in the vicinity, and asks if it is over there.

  • Thank you for your answer. Aren't they the same? Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 17:48
  • Aren't what the same? 1 does not assume anything, 4 does.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 17:50
  • 1
    Isn't it obvious when I say "aren't they same?" I mean No 1 and 4,since you only mentioned No 1 and 4? Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 17:56
  • I see. Thanks for the explanation! Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 17:56

Unless you are pointing in a specific direction, "over there" would be replaced with an expression like "near here" or "nearby." The word order can also be changed using nearby:

  • Excuse me, is there a nearby Tesco?
  • Excuse me, is there a Tesco nearby?

Don't ask me to explain why or what the rule is, but at least in American spoken English, you will hear an 's' added to the end of some store names. It is neither possessive nor plural to my knowledge. For example, Carrefours, Aldis, Jumbos, Walmarts, Krogers, but not Targets or Safeways.

  • Thank you for your answer. So, sometimes Americans add an S and sometimes they don't? Can I leave that out and just go with "Is there a Walmart nearby?"? Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 17:54
  • You can always leave off the 's' but if you hear it in the reply ("Yes, there's a Tescos right down the street"), it likely does not mean there are plural Tescos.
    – SteveC
    Commented Feb 2, 2020 at 18:02
  • In the UK any s added to the name of a retail company is possessive unless the context refers to multiple branches. For instance "I'm going to Tesco's, do you want anything?" as opposed to "There are three Tescos in this town, which one are you going to?"
    – BoldBen
    Commented Feb 3, 2020 at 20:23
  • I found this article. I would not call it definitive nor a trait peculiar to Pittsburgh, but it attempts address the 's' ending. The fault lies not in our stars, but in our Sainsbury's. ydr.com/story/news/local/pennsylvania/2018/04/02/…
    – SteveC
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 8:15

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