I'd like to ask about the meaning of the word "tell" in the following passage.
"Damned Nod," McNeil muttered. "I know this is part of their plan. It has to be."
"If it is," Hastings said dryly, "it's rather a bad plan. Those aliens are destroying Nod troops right alongside ours. Besides, Kane's dead, I doubt that---"
"Kane's been dead before," McNeil snapped. "He said to look to the skies, and we should've listened to him. Our friend Acting Director Boyle played right into his hands. It was right after they blew up Sarajevo that the UFOs moved toward Earth, and firing on them just made the things worse. Make no mistake, Major, we're not fighting a new war, we're fighting a two-front war."
"Then someone should tell the Nod troops out there," Hastings said, "because they're dying too."
What does "tell" mean here? The only guess I have is that Hastings implies that it will be very difficult to tell Nod soldiers from GDI soldiers (Hastings and McNeil are in charge of GDI troops) because the aliens are attacking GDI soldiers as well as Nod soldiers, but I'm not sure.
Imagine two boxers slugging it out in the ring. A trainer says to his boxer, "You've just about got this fight in the bag(=won). He's (the other boxer) dead on his feet (=tired out, with the idea he can barely carry on fighting in this match).
The boxer replies to his trainer, "Someone should tell him that. Is he using gloves or knuckle-dusters?"
The boxer is not suggesting that someone go up to his opponent, tap him on the shoulder, and inform him that others think he is looking very tired, When we use the phrase "Someone ought to tell (him) that!", with the pronoun emphasized, and given the particular situation one is in, it is being said facetiously.
The other boxer might look to the trainer as if he's 'dead on his feat', but to the boxer, getting his jaw whacked out there, it certainly doesn't feel as if his opponent has lost any power in his punches. The humour is, you would in effect be saying to this opponent, we all think you are looking very, very tired, so would you please act like it and stop punching our boxer so damn hard!
In your example, from what I can grasp of this complicated piece of the plot, he seems to be saying, someone should tell the Nod to start fighting the aliens as well - (it's a two-front war: we're fighting each other, but we're also fighting the aliens). Do the Nod know they should also be fighting the aliens? Someone should tell them! After all, they're (the Nod) getting killed too. Someone should tell them to stop sending all their forces against us - tell them to go and fight some of those damn aliens as well and give us a break...or at least, gives us a bit of a helping hand to fight these damn aliens as well, seeing that their (Nod's) men are being wiped out by the aliens as well as our troops. He's being facetious!
Last edited by David L.; 25-Dec-2007 at 17:20.