Are 'I can tell you/ I'm telling you/ I tell you' interchangeable and used to emphasize that you're telling the truth? For example:

  1. I can tell you that he's lying.
  2. I'm telling you, he's really good at this game.
  3. You'll lose against him. I tell you.
  • All of your 3 sentences have no connection with each other in their meanings. And how could you have an idea that the all 3 you are talking are "interchangeable"??
    – user17814
    Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 15:51

1 Answer 1


In short, I can tell you, yes, they are. The meanings are similar, as follows:

  1. I can tell you that yada yada declares that I have in my power to make a statement ("yada yada"), implying that I know the facts of the matter. It is not a speech act: I do not actually tell you, I only explain that I'm able to. However, in practice it is used to make the statement.
  2. I'm telling you, yada, yada declares that I am presently acting to make a statement. Again, I am authenticating the statement ("yada, yada"); I suppose that you will trust my criteria. It says that I am declaring, but again is used to make the statement.
  3. Yada, yada. I tell you. In this case, the declaration ("Yada, yada") is already made, and emphasis is given by informing you that I act right now to make the statement. It uses a different verb conjugation than (2). Again, I am authenticating a fact based on your trust of my judgement.

In all of them, the statement is made or implied, and I hope that in considering the fact that I am telling you will make you review the statement in this context, and in thinking about it again it will "rivet" the facts in your mind.
The emphasis is weakened a bit by self-reference; if "I tell you" is the only argument that I can give, I hope you will have the discernment to take it with a grain of salt. So, to back my argument up, here is what Cambridge.org has to say:

(also I tell you, I can tell you) used to emphasize that what you are saying is true, and should be believed: I'm telling you, he's the best player in the American League. We've been waiting a long time for this, I'll tell you.

Also see I'll tell you what at Mirriam-Webster.

  • I associate the phrase "I tell you!" with Humphrey Bogart in some movie or other from the 1940s. Commented Aug 8, 2020 at 16:34

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