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I think the verb admire usually takes an object, like 'I admire him.' But, in the sentence below, there seems no object of the admire. The audio sounds the same as the script to me. If it is a mistake, it's strange that the narrator didn't notice that the script is wrong.

You mustn't mind your Uncle Joss. Some people find him strange at first, but he is very respected here. Just yesterday he told me that a man stopped and told him how much he admired. https://www.bbc.com/learningenglish/tigrinya/features/drama/jamaica-ep-02

Am I right? If so, is that an usual expression? And, which is the correct meaning of the 'how much he admired'?

  1. how much the man admired Joss
  2. how much Joss was admired
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  • I think it's supposed to be 'how much he admired [him]' and I am not sure you can drop him because the verb is transitive. May 11, 2021 at 12:52
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    It could also be missing an auxiliary putting the verb into passive voice: "a man stopped and told him how much he was admired." In this case "he" would refer to Uncle Joss, not the man who stopped him. May 11, 2021 at 13:15
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    I think the intention is that Patience was cut off mid-speech; she would have gone on to say "him" if she hadn't been interrupted.
    – Showsni
    May 12, 2021 at 5:01
  • @FumbleFingers - I meant that if 'him' is appended to the original sentence, as Showsni wrote, I can see nothing wrong with it.
    – K.N.
    May 12, 2021 at 14:01
  • Yes, the transitive usage A man stopped and told him how much he admired him is fine. But if you extend that to He said that a man stopped him and told him how much he admired him, although that might sound reasonable in speech, most people wouldn't want to actually write so many potentially ambiguous pronouns in one utterance. May 12, 2021 at 15:38

2 Answers 2

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From the transcript:

Patience
You mustn't mind your Uncle Joss. Some people find him strange at first, but he is very respected here. Just yesterday he told me that a man stopped and told him how much he admired.
Joss
Are you talking rubbish again woman?

After listening to the audio, I believe that Patience's sentence is improperly punctuated. It should be "told him how much he admired..." to indicate that Joss has interrupted her before she could finish her thought. It's difficult to understand that as an interruption just from listening to the audio, because the pace of the speech has been slowed down to make it easier for English learners to follow along.

In a more naturally paced dialog, the word "admired" might have been interrupted, "told him how much he admir- Are you talking rubbish again woman?" but that would have made it difficult for a learner to know what word "admir-" represented.

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  • This is the ONLY logical answer. And one can only get at it by listening to it.
    – Lambie
    May 13, 2021 at 18:45
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As others have said in the comment, the sentence is ungrammatical. The verb admired is transitive and needs a direct object as a complement.

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