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    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 1
    #1

    Please tell, it is correct or not

    Hi,

    Some call center executive used this sentence, that "Sir, I wanted to tell you". I think it must be "Sir, I want to tell you".

    Please help


    • Join Date: Oct 2008
    • Posts: 12
    #2

    Re: Please tell, it is correct or not

    "Sir, I wanted to tell you" : "Wanted" is a Past tense. But I think, they want to tell in present what they thunk.



    • Join Date: Feb 2008
    • Posts: 484
    #3

    Re: Please tell, it is correct or not

    Quote Originally Posted by jacquestechie View Post
    Hi,

    Some call center executive used this sentence, that "Sir, I wanted to tell you". I think it must be "Sir, I want to tell you".

    Please help
    I think this use of the past tense in sentences like this is restricted to telephone language, where it is perfectly correct. It sounds more polite than "I want to tell you.."

    I think it's because the use of the past tense here implies that it's too late to tell you (but I'm telling you all the same...!). The implication that it's too late somehow softens the intrusion you have made into the other person's life by disturbing them with a phone call.

    I know that this use of the past tense on the phone exists in French and in Afrikaans; and very possibly in lots more languages. You could try it out in your own language and see what device is resorted to to soften the blow of the intrusion. It wouldn't necessarily be the past tense, it could be - for instance - the addition of a polite "meaningless" word (like the word graag in Afrikaans; or else maybe a different pitch level if the language is a tone language.


    • Join Date: Nov 2007
    • Posts: 5,409
    #4

    Re: Please tell, it is correct or not


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