Are questions put this way:

Is this natural English


Does this sound natural

Accepted on this site?

An example is my question:

My little son brought me an old ten-dinar bill and suggested I put in my wallet. I told it him it is no good anymore and thought I'd say:

It'd just clutter my wallet.

Is the expression is natural English? If not, how would you say it?

  • I think we have tons of questions asking if this sounds natural in English! Ah, I see you've gotten a nice answer to that question already. :-) Aug 17, 2016 at 15:12
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    They get answered, but in my opinion, they aren't useful to other learners unless when they're asking about random individual sentences. How would someone with a similar question find your question? What if my sister offered me a moose head and I wanted to say "No thanks, it will just clog up my attic." but I wasn't sure if that sounded natural in English? I don't close vote these sorts of questions, because I don't think they're off-topic or of no use at all, but they aren't my favorite things to see because they invite yes/no answers that can't be extrapolated to other situations.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 17, 2016 at 16:13
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    @ColleenV As a non-native speaker, I humbly believe that this is probably one of the most useful types of questions on ELL, especially when a) the use-case (the purpose or the situation) is clear, b) the question includes "If not, how would you (or should I) say it?", not just asking "yes or no", and c) the phrase in question is included in the title (so that our readers know what a question is about by just glancing over question titles, rather than seeing just "Does this sound natural?"). It's not easy to always be able to come up with something idiomatic in a second language, IMHO. Aug 18, 2016 at 0:09
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    @DamkerngT. I agree with you, which is why I don't close-vote such questions very often. My problem is that many of them are just random one-off sentences and it gets really close to proof-reading/writing advice. I'll see if I can find an example of an "is this idiomatic?" question that I think is well-written.
    – ColleenV
    Aug 18, 2016 at 0:39

1 Answer 1


The short answer is yes, questions about whether something sounds awkward/natural (and formal/informal) are on-topic here. These questions are hard to find answers to in dictionaries and other references, but easy for a fluent speaker to look at and say yes/no or natural/awkward.

I think that with a little bit of effort and thought, they can be made into a question that other learners can find more easily and that invites answers that have more explanation than just "yes it sounds OK".

This question is essentially a "Does this sound natural?" question: "Whether" Vs. "If"

However, because it doesn't just ask 'Does "I don’t know whether this word fits in the sentence." sound natural?', it has an answer that is a really great discussion of how to use 'whether' and 'if' idiomatically that I think other learners can find when they're searching and that will really make it clear how to write their own sentences using 'whether' and 'if'.

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