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  1. #1
    MrRubik is offline Newbie
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    Default Incorrect Semantics? Or other?

    Hi all,

    could anybody please explain what is incorrect about the sentence below. Also, as importantly, why is it wrong?

    "Can I say you something?"

    I would like to know what kind of classification this particular error would fall into.

    An in depth as possible answer would be ideal.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2
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    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Incorrect Semantics? Or other?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrRubik View Post
    Hi all,

    Could anybody please explain what is incorrect about the sentence below. Also, as importantly, why is it wrong?

    "Can I say you something?"

    I would like to know what kind of classification this particular error would fall into.

    An in depth as possible answer would be ideal.

    Many thanks.
    Quite simply, we don't use "say" like that.

    Can I say something?
    Can I say something to you?
    Can I tell you something?

    There have been a lot of discussions on this forum about the use of "say" vs "tell" and you should be able to find them using the Search function.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  3. #3
    billmcd is offline Key Member
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    Default Re: Incorrect Semantics? Or other?

    Quote Originally Posted by MrRubik View Post
    Hi all,

    could anybody please explain what is incorrect about the sentence below. Also, as importantly, why is it wrong?

    "Can I say you something?"

    I would like to know what kind of classification this particular error would fall into.

    An in depth as possible answer would be ideal.

    Many thanks.
    The general rule for "say" and "tell" is that you say sonething and tell someone. So. your example is not a correct use of "say".
    It should be, "Can I tell you something?" OR "Can I say something to you?"

  4. #4
    MrRubik is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Incorrect Semantics? Or other?

    Thank you for your replies but I think the purpose of my post has been misunderstood. I'm well aware that it's incorrect, I'm English after all. I want to know what kind of error it is? Is this an example of poor semantics? If so, why? Along these lines.

    @emsr2d2 I can understand why you would direct people to the search function but I couldn't actually find any relevant post from using it. Also, I suspect that I'm not going to find the kind of answer I want there as it's not a usage answer like what I imagine most of the posts you referred to will be.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: Incorrect Semantics? Or other?

    Apologies, MrRubik, I didn't look at your member profile as I assumed you were a learner. No offence (!) just that the misuse of "say you" is something that crops up here so often from learners.
    Remember - correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing make posts much easier to read.

  6. #6
    SoothingDave is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: Incorrect Semantics? Or other?

    If you want to be technical about it, "tell" can take an indirect object, while "say" doesn't.

    Why? It's just the way we use the words.

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