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  1. #1
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    1. - They have a knife.
    - Let them GIVE me the knife.

    or

    2. - They have a knife.
    - Let them give me the KNIFE.

    Which of the two exchanges would sound a little more natural?
    Thank you in advance.
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  2. #2
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    They're both possible- it depends on what is important. In this context, as we know what they have give or me seem the more likely candidates for the stress.


    Let them GIVE me the knife. (Give, not use- trying to avoid violence)
    Let them give ME the knife. (Me, not you-- establishing who's in charge)
    Let them give me the KNIFE. (Not the gun or focusing on the knife because it is a danger)

  3. #3
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    Thank you, Tdol, and if I need the knife and someone tells me that they have it, should I say "Let them GIVE me the knife"?
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  4. #4
    Tdol is online now Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    I wouldn't use Let them. I'd say Tell them to give me the knife.

  5. #5
    englishhobby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    Thank you again!
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    You can also use "Tell THEM to give me the knife!" If there were two sets of people, both with a knife and you wanted to direct someone else to tell one of those groups to give you their knife, you would say that probably while pointing towards the group you meant. You would be stressing "THEM" to emphasis "that group" not "the other group".
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    Quote Originally Posted by englishhobby View Post
    1. - They have a knife.
    - Let them GIVE me the knife.

    or

    2. - They have a knife.
    - Let them give me the KNIFE.

    Which of the two exchanges would sound a little more natural?
    Thank you in advance.
    No one has yet suggested "LET them give me the knife." That is, they are threatening to knife me (stab me with a knife) and I am being defiant. In the right context, any of the words in this sentence except "the" can be stressed.

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