0

Tell me please of I have to use them in the following context.

I learned a few word, but I can't tell you (them) off the top of my head.

Does the sentence sound more natural without it?

  • You can use tell intransitively (with no explicitly specified object) where the intended sense is divulge [a secret] (as in I know you did something bad, but I won't tell). or perceive, know, be aware of (as in It's no use denying it. I can tell it was you who did it). But in your context, the sense is more list, enumerate, name [multiple items], where it's not idiomatic to omit the subject (them, here). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 24 at 21:56
0

Tell works like give, so it can have two objects

  • a direct object which is the person you are telling

and

  • an indirect object, which is the thing you are telling the person.

Give me(direct object) the schedule(indirect object).

Tell me(direct object) the schedule(indirect object).


If you do not mention what you're telling, then you are emphasizing the person you're telling instead of what you are telling.

... but I can't tell you them (but I can tell you other things).

... but I can't tell you (but I can tell other people something).

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.