2

If we can say: He is considered (to be) smart. We consider him (to be) smart.

By the same token, I have also heard: We think him (to be) smart or think him dead.

It is also correct to say: He is said to be smart.

But, Is it correct to say???: We say him to be smart.

For some reason it appears to follow the above structures, but sounds very strange.

migrated from english.stackexchange.com Jul 11 '18 at 14:10

This question came from our site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts.

  • 2
    We say: We say that he is smart. – J.R. Jul 11 '18 at 14:20
  • Related, but maybe the title needs to change it was really hard to find: Why is “He said me he was …” ungrammatical, but “He told me he was …” is not? Also related: 'Say' and 'Tell' difference! – Mari-Lou A Jul 11 '18 at 22:01
  • 1
    @Mari-LouA. Not exactly related. I am well aware that "to say someone something" is ungrammatical. The meaning here was not as in "to tell someone (to someone)", but as in "to know someone (of someone)". – Dim Jul 11 '18 at 22:39
  • Related does not mean that the two questions are identical with yours. The answers simply point out that an object pronoun (me, you, him, her, it, us, them) is commonly used with the verb "tell". – Mari-Lou A Jul 11 '18 at 22:43
  • The meaning of "We say him to be smart" is NOT "We have heard that he is smart". "We say" means "we speak/communicate" But fortunately, your comment has clarified why you are asking and your confusion. – Mari-Lou A Jul 11 '18 at 22:44
0

In speech, the most common way to express this is:

We say he is smart.

"We say him to be smart." is not idiomatic English.

Question re: "We think him (to be) smart or think him dead." is OK but it is somewhat literary, and somewhat BrE. It generally would not be used in contemporary AmE speech. But it is found in novels and older publications.

Think [someone] [adjective] is OK.

Generally, though, smart in British English means well dressed or well turned out.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.