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  1. #1
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    Default a story is told? or tells?

    Hello, teachers.
    I've got a question about verb from, which I found on my grammar exercise book today.

    The question is to choose more appropriate verb in the sentence.

    The story 1) tells 2) is told that Samuel Hanagid, and eleventh century Spanish poet who was prime minister to the kind of Granada, was once insulted by an enemy.

    I chose the option 1, because I think I've seen the sentence, starting like this 'A story tells about something...' or 'the book says...' on the children's books or somewhere. (perhaps my memory could be wrong) But the answer sheet says the second one is corret.

    So, I googled that phrase 'a story tells', and found one example - 'A story tells that two friends were walking....'
    I am not so sure if I found the right sentence, though. That is why I am asking you for help.

    Which verb form is more apporopritate, or sounds correct?
    Plus, could you tell me about the difference in meaning between 'A story tells' and 'A story is told' if don't mind?

    Thank you so, so much for your help in advance.
    I am looking forward to your answers!
    Last edited by je2ks2; 13-Sep-2008 at 16:45.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    I've got a question about verb forms, which I found in my grammar exercise book today.

    The question is to choose the more appropriate verb in the sentence.
    (Remember to use definite and indefinite articles before most nouns.)

    Firstly, 'a/the story tells' is the active form of the verb 'to tell' and needs a direct object. So, we might write:
    "The story tells us about a time when..." - where 'us' is the direct object.


    "The story is told of/about/that" is the passive form. We are actually saying:
    "The story is told (by 'someone') of a time when.../ about a man who../that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
    Note that there is no direct object.

    In your sentence, we have either:
    1. The story tells that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century
    or
    2. The story is told that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."

    In (1), the sentence does not have a direct object such as 'us'; as in:
    "The story tells us that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
    'is told' is the passive form and does not require a direct object, so we can say:
    The story is told that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."
    ( we 'understand' that the indirect object has been omitted, as in:)
    The story is told by a contemporary historian that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."

    So, in your sentence, only 'is told' is appropriate.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    So, we might write:
    "The story tells us about a time when..." - where 'us' is the direct object.
    Do you mean "us" is the indirect object?

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Do you mean "us" is the indirect object?

    There is no 'us' in the test question.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Quote Originally Posted by David L. View Post
    "The story tells us about a time when..." - where 'us' is the direct object.


    I believe the sentence in the quote box above is yours. Am I wrong?
    Is the "us" in blue a direct object?

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    "The story tells us about a time when..." - where 'us' is the direct object.

    I believe the sentence in the quote box above is yours. Am I wrong?
    Is the "us" in blue a direct object?


    'in the test question'. I wrote: There is no 'us' in the test question.

    In my sentence, and referring to it, I clearly state:

    (1), the sentence does not have a direct object such as 'us'; as in:
    "The story tells us that Samuel Hanagid, an eleventh century..."



    I can add, subtract, change words around in my sentences, to clarify some point; but the final choice between the given alternatives depends on the exact wording of the test question.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Thank you so much, David. But I found other sentences including 'A story tells' in Oxford advanced learner's dictionary.

    1. The story tells of a classic conflict between love and duty.
    2. The story tells of a man's journey of personal discovery up an African river.
    3. The story tells of his flight from East to West Berline.

    There is no direct object after 'tell' and not in passive form, but the sentences are seen on the dictionary as an example sentence. Does the dictionary give wrong example sentences?

    Well, I am still confused.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2006 View Post
    Originally Posted by David L.
    So, we might write:
    "The story tells us about a time when..." - where 'us' is the direct object.


    Do you mean "us" is the indirect object?
    I think this should be clarified for learners who are following this thread.
    As 2006 is implying (I think), "us" is an indirect object in the above example in blue.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Quote Originally Posted by je2ks2 View Post
    Thank you so much, David. But I found other sentences including 'A story tells' in Oxford advanced learner's dictionary.

    1. The story tells of a classic conflict between love and duty.
    2. The story tells of a man's journey of personal discovery up an African river.
    3. The story tells of his flight from East to West Berline.

    There is no direct object after 'tell' and not in passive form, but the sentences are seen on the dictionary as an example sentence. Does the dictionary give wrong example sentences?

    Well, I am still confused.
    There's nothing wrong with these sentences. It is similar to what you recall about "The story tells about...".
    None of these examples contain "The story tells that ..." which is in your choices.

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    Default Re: a story is told? or tells?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    I think this should be clarified for learners who are following this thread.
    As 2006 is implying (I think), "us" is an indirect object in the above example in blue.
    Yes, that is what I was implying. I was trying to get David to reconsider or defend his assertion but he didn't. Thanks for your input.

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