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    #1

    To be honest

    Please, tell whether both of the following sentences are correct. If incorrect, please correct.

    To be honest, lies must never be told.
    To be honest, you must never tell a lie/lies.

  1. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: To be honest

    Quote Originally Posted by tipu s View Post
    Please, tell whether both of the following sentences are correct. If incorrect, please correct.

    To be honest, lies must never be told.
    To be honest, you must never tell a lie/lies.
    "To be honest" has a quite specific usage in BrE. It means "OK, I am going to tell you the truth now ..." or something similar. In your sentences, I think you want it to mean "In order to be an honest person". It really doesn't work like that because anyone who hears the words "To be honest" will be expecting something very different to come after it.

    Jim: Would you like a cup of coffee?
    Jane: No thanks.
    Jim: Oh, go on, I've made a fresh pot. It's very nice.
    Jane: No, really, I'm OK.
    Jim: I'll pour you one anyway.
    Jane: To be honest, I really hate coffee. Please don't give me a cup!

    Peter: Are you going to Sarah's party on Saturday night?
    Lucy: I'm not sure. To be honest, I don't get on with some of the other girls who are going.


    If you want it to mean "In order to be [considered] an honest person" then you would need to say something like "To be an honest person, you must never tell lies".
    Last edited by emsr2d2; 01-Sep-2013 at 10:53. Reason: typo correction
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  2. Raymott's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: To be honest

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    If you want it to mean "In order to be [considered] an honest person" then you would need to say something like "To be an honest person, you must never tell lies".
    To OP:
    And this illustrates the problem with using the passive voice in sentences like this in general. To be an honest person it is you who must not tell lies. It is not a requirement that lies not be told at all.
    "To be a bullfighter, bulls must be fought." True, but it's you who must fight them. This leads to another objection:
    The passive (here) tends to make 'lies' or 'bulls' the subject of the first clause:
    "To be honest, lies must not be told." = Lies can be honest, but only if they remain untold. I can't even explain the 'bull' sentence, but it seems to impose conditions on bulls who want to become bullfighters.

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