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Thread: said for you to

  1. #1
    azz is offline Member
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    said for you to

    He said for you to watch over the children.

    a. Who did he say to watch over the children?
    b. For who did he say to watch over the children?

    Which of the sentences "a" and "b" is the correct interrogative form that corresponds to the original sentence?
    I don't use either or them. I say: 'Who did he say should watch over the children?'

  2. #2
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: said for you to

    Quote Originally Posted by azz View Post
    He said for you to watch over the children.

    a. Who did he say to watch over the children?
    b. For who did he say to watch over the children?

    Which of the sentences "a" and "b" is the correct interrogative form that corresponds to the original sentence?
    I don't use either or them. I say: 'Who did he say should watch over the children?'
    Yes, I agree with you.

    The expression "He said for you to watch over the children" is pretty informal. A formal rendering of the same idea would be some variation of "He said that you were to watch over the children" or "He said that you should be the one to watch over the children."

    The sentences a. and b. might be improved with
    "Who(m) did he tell to watch over the children?"
    "Who(m) did he order to watch over the children?"

    I don't see any possible justification -- even in the most idiomatic of cases -- for b. "For who . . . " I don't see any cause for the "for" to have crept in there, and it doesn't correspond to anything in the original sentence.

    In practice, if I were writing something that ended up with either the original sentence or choice a, I would just revise the whole thing -- unless I were quoting someone exactly in order to capture the flavor of their speech.

    Everything considered, I think your suggestion is the best option:
    "Who did he say should watch over the children?"

    What do you think about this choice:
    "WHOM did he say should watch over the children?"

  3. #3
    azz is offline Member
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    Re: said for you to

    Thank you Ann.

    You asked:
    What do you think about this choice:
    "WHOM did he say should watch over the children?"

    I am not a native speaker, but I prefer 'who' here instead of 'whom'. The latter tends not to be used very often these days, but that is a minor point. The important thing is that 'whom' is supposed to refer to the object of a sentence.
    Now, in:
    He said you should watch over the children.

    Is 'you' the object of 'said' or the subject of 'should watch over the children'? I'd say that it is the latter (I have used that word twice in my entire life I think and both of them in this post!!!). Why? Because the object of 'said' is the whole statement 'you should ...'.
    WHAT did he say?

    A good test would be to use the third person. That way we can see if the pronoun is an object or a subject.

    He said SHE should watch over the children. (NOT **He said HER should wathc over the children.



    On the other hand:
    Whom did he tell to watch over the kids.
    is correct.
    He told HER to watch over the kids.

    WHAT did he tell HER?
    To watch over the kids.

    WHOM did he tell to watch over the kids.
    -HER.

    The structure is different. You can tell people to do things. You can order people to do things. But you can't have a person as the object of the verb 'say'.

    Funnily enough, you have:
    'He was said to be the head of a local gang'
    but as far as I know, you don't say 'They say him to be the head of a local gang'

    Once again, I am not a native speaker, so ...

  4. #4
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: said for you to

    Thanks, Azz ~

    What a delightful and lucid post! It strains the credulity to think that English is not your first language. Your command certainly outdoes that of most native speakers.



    I was amused by your point: "He is said to be ..."

    I suppose in the active voice we would say, "They say he is ..."

    But I've always been a little unhappy with citing these anonymous fellows "they." "They" say lots of things, but I'm always hesitant about relying on their word. I guess I think that if their ideas were any good, they'd have affixed their names to them.

  5. #5
    azz is offline Member
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    Re: said for you to

    They say they are not reliable.
    (We are talking about two different 'they's here of-course.)

    Thanks for the nice comment, but I still make mistakes. I know things that native speakers don't know, but I make mistakes they wouldn't make!! I mean, a native speaker knows without knowing...

  6. #6
    Ann1977 is offline Senior Member
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    Re: said for you to

    Quote Originally Posted by azz View Post
    They say they are not reliable.
    (We are talking about two different 'they's here of-course.)

    Thanks for the nice comment, but I still make mistakes. I know things that native speakers don't know, but I make mistakes they wouldn't make!! I mean, a native speaker knows without knowing...
    Yes, that's quite right.

    In order to learn a foreign language, you have to be made consciously aware of all kinds of things that native speakers never think about -- weird verb tenses and so on that natives simply say without giving it a thought.

    I was AMAZED at how much English grammar I learned from my first foreign language course. I had no idea there were all those past perfects and so on -- complete with fancy names!

    In fact, what I learned about English grammar stuck with me far longer than what I learned in that course about Spanish grammar. I can still form the subjunctive in English, for example, while I can barely squeak by stumbling in "Spanish for Babies."

    I think that's one of the best reasons to study a foreign language -- the better understanding it gives of your own.

    But you're also right that there are aspects of a foreign language that are very difficult to learn -- the exact turn of phrase, for instance, or the difference between "some coffee," "a coffee," and "coffee" -- never mind making the language play.

    One of the professors at my school tried to compile a list of all the uses of the article "a" in English (for use by Korean speakers learning English.) He finally said sadly, "It's all just usage. The list is too random and too long to memorize."

    Yes. Exactly right.

  7. #7
    azz is offline Member
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    Re: said for you to

    You are quite right. And sometimes it is difficult to figure out different people's accents.

    For instance, ages ago, I was visiting this city in America, and when I arrived there, someone in the airport told me that they won't charge me for something (I don't remember what). But in that city, instead of 'charge', they say 'chaaaage', so I couldn't for the life of me figure out what that person was saying. It is a wonderful and beautiful city, mind you, with very cold and harsh winters, but with Indian summers that are better than paradise (if you are lucky to have them, they are rare) and with springs which last for only two or three weeks, but are just like paradise. And they have this beautiful river called 'Chaaaales' and lots of good universities. Chess used to be pretty popular back then in that city. Don't know if it still is.

    Take care and say 'hello' to the chess addicts who hang aroung in Haaaavaaad Square, if there are any these days.

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