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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 offline 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 offline 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
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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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
    englishhobby's Avatar
    englishhobby is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Where should the stress in the sentence be put? Are both variants possible?

    Thank you, Emsr2d2. The reason why I started the thread was because I had to drill this sentence with my students to practice English intonation and logical stress (it was one of a number of similar sentences in the exercise). I wanted to give them an example of a situation where one might say "Let them GIVE me the knife" (as it was in the coursebook). In this thread I was given one example - with children who play with a knife which is dangerous, so you say "Let them GIVE me the knife". I tried to think of some other situation, not with kids, where I could also say this very phrase, but now I see that the one with kids seems to be the only situation when you can say "Let them GIVE me the knife (putting stress on GIVE}. Though in Russia we would also use it if we knew that someone had the knife we needed (as an indirect way of askinng the third peson to take the knife from them and give it to us).
    If I were a native speaker of English, I would never shut up. :-)

  8. #8
    emsr2d2's Avatar
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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
    Thank you, Emsr2d2. The reason why I started the thread was because I had to drill this sentence with my students to practice English intonation and logical stress (it was one of a number of similar sentences in the exercise). I wanted to give them an example of a situation where one might say "Let them GIVE me the knife" (as it was in the coursebook).

    In this thread I was given one example - with children who play with a knife which is dangerous, so you say "Let them GIVE me the knife". I tried to think of some other situation, not with kids, where I could also say this very phrase, but now I see that the one with kids seems to be the only situation when you can say "Let them GIVE me the knife (putting stress on GIVE}. Though in Russia we would also use it if we knew that someone had the knife we needed (as an indirect way of askinng the third peson to take the knife from them and give it to us).
    At the beginning of your second sentence, you said "In this thread I was given an example..." Did you mean this thread? If so, I can't see anything in the thread so far about children who play with a knife.
    If there were a group of children playing with a knife I certainly wouldn't say "Let them ..." followed by anything. I would speak directly to the children and simply say "Give me the knife".
    In your last example of asking a third person to take the knife from someone else and give it to me, I would say "Please get the knife [from John] for me".

    The only time I can imagine the stress being put on "give" is the same as Tdol's first suggestions, where you are making it clear that you want the knife to be given to you, rather than thrown, passed, hurled, slid or kicked to you.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  9. #9
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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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