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There is a question on French SE asking for a translation of There is nothing to talk about.

Multiple answers give a translation for There is nothing to talk about followed by a noun, for example There is nothing to talk about this book.

I find these constructions ungrammatical and this QA (The difference between 'TALK' and 'SAY') seems to confirm.

I would like to confirm that I am not the one making a mistake. Is There is nothing to talk about + noun grammatically incorrect and better replaced by There is nothing to say about + noun?

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    You're correct, obviously. But that's hardly surprising, since French SE isn't really the kind of site where you could reasonably expect everything to be written in impeccable English. – FumbleFingers Oct 21 '16 at 13:33
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You are correct.

The constructions employed by the two verbs are different:

  • He says UTTERANCE about TOPIC. ...

    The verb SAY is transitive and takes a direct object. In the construction There is nothing to say about TOPIC, nothing represents that direct object—the UTTERANCE. There is a syntactic slot left for another noun: object of the preposition about, representing the TOPIC.

  • He talks about TOPIC. ...

    The verb TALK is intransitive and does not take an object. In the construction There is nothing to talk about, nothing represents the object of the preposition about—the TOPIC. There is no syntactic slot left for another noun to fill.

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Sample sentences make it easier, without a long explanation using formal grammar:

There is nothing to talk about in this regard.

OR I have nothing (left) to talk about in this regard. /with regard to, as regards, with respect to some x//in this regard/with respect to this, etc./ can be used to make the sentence work.

There is nothing (else) to be said about this book. I have nothing to say about this book.

This is not correct English: There is nothing to talk about this book. (It is a literal translation from of the French)

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You are correct.

Incorrect: "There is nothing left to talk about David."

Correct: "There is nothing left to say about David."

Correct: "There is nothing left to talk about."

Reason: "Talk" is an intransitive verb, as mentioned in other posts, and cannot be applied to a direct object.

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  • Example may be confusing, became "There is nothing left to talk about, David." is perfectly valid, and a common turn of phrase when talking to that jerk Dave. – Paul Oct 22 '16 at 12:34
  • Good point. The comma is a key element; "That's enough peter" is, for example, very different from "That's enough, Peter." – Shavais Oct 25 '16 at 22:56

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