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  1. #1
    Itasan is offline Member
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    Default They asked me what to do.

    Does this sentence work?
    "They asked me what to do next."
    If so, what does it mean?
    1. They asked me what I will do next.
    2. They asked me what I should do next.
    3. They asked me what they should do next.
    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    "They asked me what to do next."
    This sentence is incorrect. Let's put it in direct speech.
    There are two options:-
    a. They(to me): "What (are we) to do next?" (= They asked me what they were to do next.)
    b. They(to me): "What (are you) to do next?"( = They asked me what I was to do next.)

    In both (a) and (b) above, "What to do?" is an incorrect sentence because there is no verb in it.
    Last edited by Temico; 24-Sep-2005 at 21:02.

  4. #4
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    HaraKiriBlade is offline Member
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    Pardon me for cutting in, but I don't see anything wrong with the sentence.

    Unfortunately I can't prove anything because I'm not a grammar person, but it sounds right to my ear.

    By the way Itasan, how do you study English? quite often you ask very interesting questions and makes me wonder how you come up with them.
    (not this one, but some of the harder questions you come up with, such as your 'dango' for construction profiteering or constructive dismissal...)
    Maybe it's your job. Maybe you're just determined. Or maybe it's something you read everyday. If you don't mind would you share a few things?
    Last edited by HaraKiriBlade; 24-Sep-2005 at 20:24.

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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    I don't see anything wrong with the sentence.
    Compare it to the sentence, "They told me what to do next." and then tell me that you "don't see anything wrong with the sentence".

  6. #6
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    I believe 'They told me what to do next' and 'they asked me what to do next' are two different sentences. In the former You were being told what to do, and you were asked to give instructions in the latter.

  7. #7
    Itasan is offline Member
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by HaraKiriBlade
    By the way Itasan, how do you study English? quite often you ask very interesting questions and makes me wonder how you come up with them.
    (not this one, but some of the harder questions you come up with, such as your 'dango' for construction profiteering or constructive dismissal...)
    Maybe it's your job. Maybe you're just determined. Or maybe it's something you read everyday. If you don't mind would you share a few things?
    Thank you for your answers. I am a little afraid, HaraKiriBlade. I haven't heard that word before, but interesting. Another way of saying 'katana'? Don't use it against me. LOL I'm just joking.
    Well, I hesitate to say this, but I used to be a teacher. I'm retired now. 71. Why I hesitate to say I was a teacher (of English)? I'm not that good at English. Maybe that is why I'm still interested in English usage. Information from all the members of this forum is really valuable to me.
    Itasan

  8. #8
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    I feel that the original sentence is fine- it doesn't convert into direct speech without some changes, but I don't think that is problem. We can make such changes in reporting IMO.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    I just heard this name from a video game I play from time to time.

    I kind of regret it now, after knowing this name roughly means jisatsuken. As the name implies, it's only meant to use it against myself. (So don't worry Itasan)

    I'm a Christian. I do not endorse suicide. This is just sooo not me. Too late for that though, I'm stuck with this one.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: They asked me what to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Itasan
    Does this sentence work? "They asked me what to do next."
    Sounds perfectly fine to me, too. In other words, they asked me a question and the question was, "What (do we need) to do next?", where 'we' could be exlusive;i.e, just they, or inclusive 'they' and 'me';i.e., we.

    They asked me what to do next:
    [A] Theyi asked me what theyi . . . . exclusive; same subjects
    [b] Theyi asked me what wei . . . . inclusive
    [C] Theyi asked me what Iii . . . . different subjects
    => They asked me what I should do next. (new subject, different verb)

    'told' is different:

    They told me what to do next.
    [A] They told me what (I needed) to do next. different subjects
    [B] They told me what (they needed) to do next. same subjects

    Consider,

    I asked you to wash the car.
    => 'you' is the subject of 'to wash'.

    I told you to wash the car.
    => 'you' is the subject of 'to wash'.

    I asked you what to do next.
    => 'you' is not the subject of 'to do'. The word 'what' intervenes.

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