Is it fine to say sentences like

  • “Tell me your name.”

  • “Tell me your opinion.”

  • “Tell me your favorite team.”

  • “Tell me your hometown.”

    etc to mean

  • “Tell me what your name is.”

  • “Tell me what your opinion is.”

  • “Tell me what your favorite team is.”

  • “Tell me what your hometown is.”


I know we can use this structure with some nouns like “lie” or “truth” or “secret” like in “Tell me the truth” or “Tell me a lie” or “Tell me a secret”, but when it is used with some other nouns or phrases, it sounds like it might be wrong to me. So I wonder if the sentences I gave are wrong or not. I feel we can probably say them since as far as I know we can say, “He asked me my name/my opinion/my favorite team/my hometown” etc.


Yes, you can.

This is what’s called the ‘imperative mood’, which is used for any commands, such as ‘tell me’, ‘go away’, ‘sit down’, ‘work hard’, etc. It’s okay to not have a subject in the sentence because it is implied.

However, it sounds very forceful; you are demanding an answer of the person in saying ‘tell me’. A more polite version might just be to ask ‘what is your name?’, ‘what is your opinion?’ etc.

Hope that helps!

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  • Thanks. So, for example, do you think I can say “He told me his astrological sign” to mean “He told me what his astrological sign is”? – Fire and Ice Apr 10 at 23:06
  • @FireandIce yes, that is how it’s used. – Fivesideddice Apr 10 at 23:14
  • Regarding "sounds forceful": Yes, it can. Depending on context. "Tell me your opinion" would probably not sound like an order, because ... you're asking for the person's opinion. But "Tell me your name", yeah, that sounds like an order. Like what a teacher would say to a student he just found someplace that he's not supposed to be. – Jay Apr 11 at 2:21
  • @Jay yeah, it often depends on context and tone. But as a general rule asking is better than demanding, particularly when asking for information. – Fivesideddice Apr 11 at 2:47

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