[Grammar] You must tell Jack what happened here.

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Venus.jam

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Hi,


"You must tell Jack what happened here".


I wonder if both of the following passive forms are correct:

1. Jack must be told what happened here.
2. What happened here must be told to Jack.
 

GoesStation

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"You must tell Jack what happened here".


I wonder if both of the following passive forms are correct:

1. Jack must be told what happened here.
2. What happened here must be told to Jack.

Both are grammatically correct, but neither sentence captures the agent "you" in the original sentence. You could add by you to both, but you'd be left with impossibly awkward sentences.
 

Venus.jam

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If the 'you' is not important, then the first of your two passive sentences is far more natural than the second.

Can we say that the naturalness of our sentences in this case would depend on what we want to emphasize? I mean what should we do if we want to emphazise "what happened here" instead of the second part of the sentence? Would the second sentecnce be as natural as the first one?
 

Venus.jam

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No, it wouldn't. It is simply not a natural sentence.

I see. But, how can we emphasize the second part of the sentence? In some situations we may JUST want to draw the listener's attention to some specific part in a statement. In this case, we may want to say that "whatever happened here with all its detail and without any change must be told to Jack" and we don't want to specify who should tell it. This happens in other languages like Persian and Turkish. But, I wonder why this is not possible in English.

Regards,
 

Venus.jam

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It is. We can say

Jack must be told all the details of everything that happened here.
Full details of everything that happened here must be given to Jack.

I see. But, it's interesting that "what happened here must be given/told to Jack" is natural in the languages that I mentioned before but not in English.
 

emsr2d2

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Lots of things are natural in some languages but not in others. If everything were natural in all languages, direct translation would work perfectly.
 
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