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    #1

    To tell a dispute

    Hi, I wrote the following sentence in a review about a book:-

    "This book begins by telling a dispute of a poor family and a rich lord".

    My teacher corrected it:-

    "This book begins by telling the story of a dispute between a poor family and a rich lord."

    Can anyone tell me why I can't say "telling a dispute"? I thought to tell is about information.

    Thank you!

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: To tell a dispute

    Generally, we use "to tell" as follows:

    I am going to tell my mother what you did.
    He told me a lie.
    They are telling the man where to put his coat.
    We have told you several times already where the President keeps his cat.

    As you can see, "to tell" (in its various forms) is usually followed by the words to describe the person who is hearing the words (my mother, me, the man, you).

    The exception to this is "to tell a story" which is an accepted phrase. Even then, we normally say "He is telling me a story".

    The difference with your example is that a book can't really "tell" anything. A book cannot speak. We say that a book "tells a story" because the reader "hears" the story in their head (or aloud if someone is reading it to them). So the story in the book is about a dispute between a poor family and a rich lord. Based on that, the book "tells a/the story of a dispute".

    Simply, it is not possible to "tell a dispute".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

    • Member Info
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    #3

    Re: To tell a dispute

    Thank you so much for your help!

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