“Do you have any preferences as to the ages, genders, ethnicities, etc. of the actors?”

English Lesson: Do you have any preferences as to the ages, genders, ethnicities, etc. of the actors?

You've been hired to direct a commercial for a local business. You're going to hire some actors, but you want to know if the client cares about what the actors look like. You write an email and include this question.

Do you have any preferences as to the ages, genders, ethnicities, etc. of the actors?

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Do you have (a preference / any preferences)?

This question means "Do you care which one?" or "Do you care whether...?"

Here are some examples:

We can either fly or take a train. Do you have a preference?

A: Let's put on some music.

B: Sure!

A: Do you have any preferences?

This phrase is a little more formal than something like "What do you prefer?" or "What do you want?"

a preference as to (clause)

"As to" is a preposition like "on", "of", "about", etc.

In the expression "a preference as to ___", it means something similar to "about". It introduces the topic of the preference. Note that "about" does not fit with the word "preference".

Here are some examples:

Let me know if you have any preferences as to where to meet up.

Did Margaret express any preferences as to how we should get started?

Sentences that use "as to ___" are usually pretty formal.

Some other words or phrases that use "as to" as a preposition include:

I'm puzzled as to ___

I'm curious as to ___

Do you have any ideas as to ___

gender

"Gender" means the quality of being a male or female. For example:

They split us up by gender.

Everyone, regardless of gender, should have an equal opportunity to get an education.

Another word for "gender" is "sex". For example, you can ask a pregnant woman:

A: Do you know the sex of the child?

B: It's a boy.

In recent years in the U.S., there has started to be a small difference between "sex" and "gender". You can read about the difference here: http://www.med.monash.edu.au/gendermed/sexandgender.html

(someone's) ethnicity

A person's "ethnicity" refers to their ethnic background, which means which group of people their ancestors belonged to.

Here are some examples of different ethnicities:

  • Irish
  • Korean
  • Native American
  • Jewish
  • French Canadian
  • Persian

"Ethnicity" is a little different from "nationality", which is just the country that a person is from:

  • American
  • Russian
  • Indian

...and "race", which describes a few major groups of people based mostly on skin color:

  • white
  • black
  • Asian

The word "ethnicity" sounds kind of formal and scientific. It's usually more polite to talk about people's "ethnicity" than their "race".

et cetera

"Et cetera" means "...and so on". It indicates that there are more items in a list. It's usually written "etc."

We print magazines, catalogs, posters, etc.

You've got to think about memory, cpu speed, hard drive space, etc.