I asked a person to guess my nationality from my accent. And after a few attempts he figured it out. Then I said:

"What was it that that gave it/me away?"

I'm not sure if I should use 'it' or 'me' here and what difference they make. Can I also say- "What gave it/me away."

  • 1
    "What gave it/me away?" is also fine, yes. Personally I would prefer that cause it's simpler and less formal.
    – wjandrea
    Jul 18, 2020 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


Either. Your accent gave it (your nationality) away, or it gave you away as a person of that nationality.

  • 2
    This is correct. To expand a little: "What gave it away?" = "What clue led you to the answer?" "What gave me away" = "What clue did I let slip / What mistake did I make in my attempt to conceal the answer?" They're mostly interchangeable but if deception or concealment was really desired, you'd go with me and not it. Jul 20, 2020 at 18:33
  • Thank you for the answer. I'm still a little confused about 'me'. What gave IT away= my nationality, and what gave me way=??
    – Ashraf
    Jul 22, 2020 at 15:45
  • 1
    If your accent gives you away, it betrays the fact that you are a person of a particular nationality, or from a particular region. Jul 22, 2020 at 16:29
  • Thank you once again. So it is- It- my nationality and, me= me as a person who I was trying to hide.
    – Ashraf
    Jul 22, 2020 at 19:49
  • Yes - although it doesn't necessarily mean that you are trying to hide what you are. You said you had asked someone to guess your nationality! Jul 23, 2020 at 8:14

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