I’m listening to an audio book where a character hears what another tells her through an ear piece, then relays what she heard to others. This is a pretty central thing in the book, so it happens quite regularly. When the character just repeats what the other one said, the author writes “I repeated him.”

This is a way of using “repeat” I’ve never seen before, and every time it comes up on the recording it takes me out of the story. I would have written it as “I repeated what he said.” But given that this is a professionally edited, traditionally published book, I wonder if this may be actually correct, just not common in current use?

  • It would probably be good to include the title of the book in your post
    – Laurel
    Apr 26, 2022 at 13:47
  • Strangely, the quote was added after my answer which includes it, was posted. Apr 26, 2022 at 13:55
  • 1
    @WeatherVane I rolled that back. It lead me down a complete rabbit hole where I ended up at a tea party with Hegel and Derrida :) We shouldn't be adding random "context" to fix a question that should be closed until the author provides the actual context.
    – ColleenV
    Apr 26, 2022 at 17:10

2 Answers 2


Technically, I'm not sure you can really repeat a person, but apparently it's permissible.

However, when the author says, "I repeated him," what the author means is "I repeated what he said."

  • Right, you can't repeat a person unless your are drawing him, for example.
    – Lambie
    Apr 26, 2022 at 17:22

I agree that it sounds a little off (as with "explain me") but Lexico has


1.1 Say again (something said or written by someone else)

with an example usage

And to overcome him is to repeat him, with a difference.

  • I looked for the quote because it still sounded weird to me. I only found one source. Here’s a bit more context: “If we are to overcome Hegel (and modernity), then we must inhabit him—which we do, whether we know it or not. And to overcome him is to repeat him, with a difference.” So I don’t think this is used in the same sense as in the book. Or at least this has a poetic slant, which the book I’m listening does not. It’s a novel with pretty a pretty plain style. Apr 26, 2022 at 13:35
  • It isn't uncommon for someone to say "Don't repeat me", but less common to hear "Don't repeat what I said" or "Don't repeat my words". Apr 26, 2022 at 13:35

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