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Thread: Tell a lie/lie

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    #1

    Tell a lie/lie

    Hello Teachers,
    i wonder whenever anybody says telling a lie rather than using lie in verb form? More often i have heard people using the former than the latter. Why?

    Thank you
    S

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    #2

    Re: Tell a lie/lie

    There is no reason to use one over the other except for stylistic purposes. Just like we can say I like to swim OR I like swimming. The meanings are the same.

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    #3

    Re: Tell a lie/lie

    Generally, e.g. "He told me a lie" has less emotional force than "He lied to me".

    "To tell lies" can also be used for the habit, where "to lie" might be ambiguous. Cf.

    1. Don't tell me lies.
    2. Don't lie to me.

    #2 might relate to a single lie or several lies; but #1 relates only to several.

    "To tell lies" is also useful where you want to qualify the lies in some way, as in the well known children's poem that begins:

    "Matilda told such dreadful lies,
    It made one gasp and stretch one's eyes..."

    "To lie dreadfully" would not have quite the same meaning.

    All the best,

    MrP

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    #4

    Re: Tell a lie/lie

    Thank you,
    Now i can articulate my feelimg better..
    S

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