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A: If you don't shut up now, they're gonna kill you.

B: They can just try.

Is B's response natural here to express resistance?

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1 Answer 1

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Is B's response natural here to express resistance?

I don't think "They can just try" is natural; just not feeling the "resistance" here. I would prefer something like "Let them try" (or something like "Let them come" depending on what is said earlier).

Here:

enter image description here

Source: Google.

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  • Could I insert a "just" and would it strengthen the statement? "Let them just try."
    – gkjayo
    Jul 19, 2020 at 13:34
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    @gkjayo You can insert "just", but I feel it reduces the impact of the statement. Sometimes less is more. This is one of those times.
    – AIQ
    Jul 19, 2020 at 13:49
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    @gkjayo: "Just let them try" is natural, in the case, but I agree with AIQ about "let them just try". The meaning, even literally, is not the same, because of whether "just" applies to "[you let]" or "them try". However, if a group wanted to try something, but someone prevented them, you might ask the person, "Let them just try". The difference for this situation is that it is not sarcastic, as it is the original example.
    – brainchild
    Jul 31, 2020 at 8:10

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