Is it grammatically correct to say:

"I can't tell you it because it is a secret".

This sounds better:

"I can't tell you that because that is a secret".

But if I break the first sentence, it is okay to say, "because it is a secret". As I am using "it" in this second phrase I believe I should use "it" in the first phrase also. But "I can't tell you it" doesn't sound right to me.


  • Your claim This sounds better is simply mistaken. Unnecessary repetition of a reference to the object (using it, that, what you want to know, or any other alternative) contributes nothing to fluency or "naturalness" in this context - it just sounds pointlessly verbose. Avoid it. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Oct 26 '18 at 11:46

If you want to shorten it, you can say, "I can't tell you; it's a secret!" Because "it" refers back to the secret.


Maybe, try this: I can't tell you that because it's a secret.

The second 'it' refers back to the first 'that'.

If you want to use it, you should say: I can't tell you about it, ...

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