Who takes you for English ? (Who teaches you English)

The above one is an example from Longman Dictionary

Why 'for' is used in that example ?

Is ''Who takes your English ?'' incorrect sentence ?

Because that doesn't sound unnatural to me.

help please

  • It's much clearer to say "Who teaches you English?" or "Who is your English [tutor/teacher]?". (It would've taken me a little while to understand your question if you hadn't also included "who teaches you English?" in your post.) This is coming from a native English speaker who lives in the US and grew up in the UK.
    – iceman
    Nov 15 '14 at 0:14
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    Just to add, "Who takes you for English?" could also mean: 'Who thinks you are British?" In my life, I've never heard your example and sounds odd to me as well (in that context.) I've heard my example many times.
    – David
    Nov 15 '14 at 2:05
  • yeah sure sounds odd, but it is included in Longman dictionary
    – Leo
    Nov 15 '14 at 4:37
  • I think this is looking like one of those where Br & US are 'nations divided by one language' ;-) Nov 15 '14 at 10:12

Simply, there are unspoken words, that any Native Br Eng speaker would understand
"Who takes you for English [class/lesson]?"

"Who takes your English?" implies someone is taking it away, to somewhere else.

Adding 'class' to the end of the second example...
"Who takes your English class?" would be asking who is the teacher, though it would be better used if one teacher were asking another, rather than pupil to pupil; as there is a slight connotation of "Who takes your class when you aren't there to take it"

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    As the Q indicated a distinctive Br Eng form, I replied in that manner. I have no idea how the US education system or lexicon works, sorry. I look up words like sophomore & semester, but they don't really stick in memory. I can still never equate how old nth grade is. Nov 14 '14 at 19:32
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    In the U.S., you could ask "who do you have for English?". But "who takes you for English" made no sense to me until I saw the explanation. Nov 15 '14 at 12:52
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    BrEng could also use "who do you have for English?" Nov 15 '14 at 12:53

I'm not sure what the context of the original sentence is. If this answer doesn't make sense, I may be guessing wrong.

It is common in U.S. English to talk about "taking a class", meaning, to attend a class. You can also talk about "taking Dr Jones for English", meaning, attending a class taught by Dr jones. (Is that the same in other English-speaking countries?)

So if you asked a teacher, "Who takes you for English?", that would mean, "What students attend the English class that you teach?"

Note this is not the same as "Who teaches you English?" It is the other way around, it is "Who do you teach English to?"

You could say, "Who takes your English class?" That would mean the same thing: "Which students attend the English class that you teach?" I've never heard someone shorten this to "Who takes your English?", but it wouldn't surprise me. Students regularly omit the "class" when expressing this idea from their perspective, like "I'm taking English this semester". Hmm, I don't think people commonly say, "I'm taking Dr Jones' English", we say, "I'm taking Dr Jones FOR English". But I don't think anyone would be confused about what you meant.

  • Amazingly answered! :) +1 Just a surprise note: "Taking a class", by no means in InE, will be taken as 'attending' a class! We often say, "Who takes English" colloquially and the answer would be, "Miss X". On the other hand, "Are you attending/going to English period/class" -is a common expression.
    – Maulik V
    Nov 15 '14 at 5:46
  • My guess would be that's because InE is a descendant of BrE, not US; so the structure of 'forms' rather than 'classes', etc would likely be more prevalent. Nov 15 '14 at 10:08
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    "So if you asked a teacher, "Who takes you for English?"" If you asked that in the UK, the teacher would just stare at you; the answer would probably be on the lines of "I can get there perfectly well by myself, thank you" Nov 15 '14 at 10:09
  • In BrEng the teacher takes the class, the pupils 'go to', 'have' or 'attend' it. Nov 15 '14 at 10:11
  • In the U.S., I think you'd get a blank stare if you asked a teacher "who takes you for English?". The more usual way of asking the question would be "who's in your English class?" or "who takes your English class?" Nov 15 '14 at 12:54

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