Language points – How to say “where are you from?”

The way to ask people’s nationality is by using the following question forms:

Omo ìlú ibo ni é? Where are you from?

– Omo ìlú Nigeria ni mi I am from Nigeria

Omo ìlú ibo ni Kim? Where is Kim from?

– Omo ìlú Améríkà ni She is from the USA

Omo ìlú ibo ni Tópé àti Táyò? Where are Tope and Tayo from?

– Omo ìlú Benin no wón They are from Benin

Note: It is also right to use orílè-èdè instead of ìlú for a country. Some people use ìlú to mean both country or city.

Notice that the verb ni “to be” could be “is” or “are” depending on whether the subject noun is singular or plural. Similary, the same verb could also be “is” or “was” or “are” or “were” depending on whether past tense interpretation is implied or not. For example:

Orúko mi ni Kúnlé My name is Kunle

Orúko wa ni Túnjí àti Délé sùgbón télè, orúko wa ni Dèjì àti Sànyà. Our names are Tunji and Dele, but in the pas our names were Deji and Sanya.

Télè, orúko mi ni Tópé, sùgbón, nísisìyí, orúko mi ni Tolú. In the past, my name was Tope, but now my name is Tolu.

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