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No, impossible. Could someone I barely knew, know so much about me?

Is this sentence gramatically incorrect? If so, what would be the correct version? (While maintaining more or less the same structure?)

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  • Where did you find this sentence?
    – Jasper
    May 20, 2017 at 3:50
  • @Jasper I wrote it myself.
    – alex
    May 20, 2017 at 4:14
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    It is grammatical, but perhaps not perfectly idiomatic. It depends on the meaning you wish to convey. "No, impossible" would be followed by an exclamation ("How could....!") whereas you've asked a question ("Could...?"). If you mean to suggest that the speaker is having doubts about the first statement ("No, impossible.") then a question is fine. Or if the question is a "rhetorical" question, one which asks the listener to consider the possibility, then a question is also OK.
    – TimR
    May 20, 2017 at 10:54

1 Answer 1

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With one minor correction, I can imagine reading something similar in a contemporary novel, or hearing something similar in a movie or television show. The context would be a teenage girl or young woman talking to herself about the weird situation she has found herself in.

No, impossible. How could someone I barely knew, know so much about me?

The first example "sentence" is not a complete sentence. It is short for something like "No, this situation had to be impossible."

The example question is a complete question. It is short for either "How could someone I barely knew know so much about me?" or "Was it possible for someone I barely knew to know so much about me?"

The complete example is short for something like:

No, this situation was impossible.
Was it possible for someone I barely knew to know so much about me?
Of course not.

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