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I am moving to a new apartment this weekend and I need to go to a person who mostly likely is sitting in the lobby of the apartment and works for the apartment for the buzzer code that can connect to my phone.

I wonder in this case how the conversation would go? Should I go up to him/her and say some like

Hi are you working for this apartment? I am a new tenant living at 2009. Can I request a buzzer code?

Please please free point out anything that sounds unnatural and also please suggest any alternatives.

Also the room number I am living at is 2009. How do we normally say it? Do we say

  1. two thousand and nine
  2. twenty zero nine
  3. two double zero nine
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    The apartment number can be read as "twenty oh nine." But any native speaker should understand all three of your suggestions, even though 2 and 3 sound a little odd. Don't overthink it and don't stress out too much! You are obviously able to communicate just fine!
    – TypeIA
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 22:08
  • I'd probably say, "two zero zero nine," because it's the least likely to be misheard or misunderstood, but I agree with the comment above - the concierge (the person who works in the lobby and helps guests and residents) should understand any of these.
    – Juhasz
    Commented Jun 12, 2020 at 22:53
  • @TypeIA Hi thanks for the reply. Can you make suggestions to my wording for asking for buzzercode
    – Joji
    Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 2:48
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    The employee would be in the lobby of the building or apartment block. You could simply ask "Do you work here?" Commented Jun 13, 2020 at 7:36

2 Answers 2

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Hi are you working for this apartment? I am a new tenant living at 2009. Can I request a buzzer code?

Hi --> Excuse me

This one might depend on the country. I can imagine that in the USA a Hi in this context might be more commonplace. (But then again, the way the customer-employee dynamic works there is pretty special, and not entirely like elsewhere in the world.)

Myself coming from Europe, I would suggest that if you don't yet know the local mood and atmosphere, it's safer to bet on the more polite "Excuse me": it does not risk coming in the way of building out mutual respect between you. Later on you can switch to "Hi", when you already know each other and you deem the situation suitable for it.

are you working --> do you work

"are you working here" means: "are you working right now, at this minute?"
"do you work here" means: "do you work here normally, day in day out?" which then can be logically substituted by "is this your workplace?" (which then, from the context, implies efficiently: "are you in authority regarding my request?")

I am a new tenant living at 2009 --> I have just moved in to 2009

Here, there is a difference between whether it's written in an e-mail or used in verbal speech:

Let's make a quick detour to your secondary question: how should the apartment number 2009 be pronounced? I would personally go for "two-oh-oh-nine".

Now in speech, the first variant you suggested is pretty good, however I would still substitute at with in; resulting in:

I am a new tenant living in two-oh-oh-nine.

Let's see the problem in writing: "living in 2009" might imply the year 2009, which would be, at the least, confusing.

With the above suggested present perfect variant this can be somewhat avoided. So in writing this could be as precise as:

I have just moved in to apartment 2009.

Can I request a buzzer code? --> I would like to request a buzzer code.

Strictly speaking the first variant is a yes/no question — and thanks to cultural peculiarities (memes on the internet), I believe some people might be inclined to switch into this thought mode when hearing a Can I .... The (obviously unsatisfactory, but semantically correct) answer of "Yes you can. [...and then awkward silence...]" might actually not happen; but the risk is there. :)

There is the guidance "Ask and you shall be given" from the Bible. Believe or not, I reckon with this in my speech. Therefore, I would go for the polite statement of my request.

All of it together:

Excuse me, do you work here? I have just moved in to two-oh-oh-nine; I would like to request a buzzer code.

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  • I have just realized how much of these really fine nuances depend on the country where you live. An extreme experiment would be to select a few persons who speak the way you aim to be able to match, and then develop an effort to listen to them extra attentively, so that you can consciously observe their turn of speech in everyday situations. Otherwise, even with just a normal amount of effort, this will come to you with time. Just remember your goal and to pay attention.
    – Levente
    Commented Feb 6, 2021 at 22:59
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Your sentence is completely acceptable. It is not the only way to ask, but you would say something like that.

Remember this is a dialogue. So leave him/her space to respond. Listen and engage with the responses.

Hi.

Yes?

Are you working for this apartment?

That's right, can I do anything for you?

and so on. Remember that the answer might be "Oh no dearie, I'm just picking up my mail."

There is no fixed way to read an apartment number. If it means "twentieth floor, apartment 09" then "twenty-oh-nine" is okay, but "two-zero-zero-nine" can't be wrong either. It may be that in your apartment people say "two-thousand and nine" You nor I won't know until you hear how other people say it.

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