Word-usage question: How to make it clear who is who ?

if you were to write a sentence such as:

My friend told me that whatever I cannot do no one can.Obviously the person speaking is saying that his/her friend told  him/her (the speaker) that s/he  (the speaker) can do things that no one else can if s/he (the speaker) cannot.You can also  write it in the following manner:My friend told me "Whatever you cannot do, no one can."But if you are not writing but talking, sometimes it can be a bit harder to know who is referring to whom. If you say "My friend told me whatever I cannot do no one can."If you think about it, you might wonder if the speaker's friend said that about himself or herself.  You might think that the meaning is to say 'My friend told me 'whatever I cannot do, no one can'." Of course you could say that  if  the speaker meant that his/her friend was referring to himself or herself  then the sentence would  be "My friend told me whatever he cannot do no one can"  (depending on the friends gender) but it can be hard to know if you are quoting unless you take time to also mention that.. Also I am not sure if the word "that"  put before the uttered words actually help in certain instances. . You can use your voice a certain way.Pause at certain points:  "My friend told me (pause) 'whatever I cannot do no one can'" it seems to  indicate the friends reference to self in this case, but basically, in writing you can use quotes or italics etc, but when talking and stating an idea are there word-usage rules to really clarify?

5 Answers

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  • 4 weeks ago

    You clarify it by sometimes, using the names of the people involved, or a pronoun for their name.  In this case, if your friend is talking about himself, you would write that 'My friend told me that whatever he can't do, no one can.'  Better grammar would be:  My friend told me that if he can't do it, nobody can.'

    If your friend is telling you that YOU are capable of doing anything, and no one else can do it, you switch the subject to yourself.  EX: 'My friend told me that I am capable of doing anything...'  In many cases, you have to change the text of the sentence to make your intention clear.

  • 4 weeks ago

    It is clear. Your friend is talking about you.

    If the friend meant himself, it would be written 'my friend said that whatever he cannot do no one can do'. Or the sentence could have quoted your friend 'My friend said "whatever I cannot do no one can do", and that means your friend is talking about himself.

  • Dixon
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    My friend told me that "Whatever I cannot do, no one can."

  • 4 weeks ago

    Do you like these ways of phrasing the idea?

    > My friend said, "Whatever I cannot do, no one can do."

    > My friend said, "Whatever you cannot do, no one can."

    > My friend told me that whatever she cannot do, no one can.

    > My friend told me that whatever I cannot do myself, no one can.

    > My friend said, "If I can't do it, no one can."

    > My friend said, "If you can't do it, no one can."

    > My friend told me that if she can't do it, no one can.

    > My friend told me that if I myself can't do tf, no one can.

    -------------------

    There is no point in writing "he/she" in this case.

    You can simply assign a gender to your friend.

    You certainly must know the gender of your own friend.

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  • A.J.
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    It's better to word things totally true rather than cryptic with doubt.

    The person speaking is offering a compliment saying your abilities are the best in existence.

    You wrote the "obviously" incorrectly.

    The person speaking is stating their friend said that if you can't accomplish something then nobody else has the ability to accomplish the task.

    It does not state you have any unique capabilities.

    Incorrect again slightly after that. A quotation is literal. "That" in the first sentence means not literal necessarily. It can be an interpretation.

    In quotations, typically, is literal. They also get used as I have to emphasize a literal word used. 

    You have two methods. You can quote explicitly, exactly as stated word for word. Or, you can interpret and paraphrase. Interpret and paraphrase can be written in multiple ways.

    Your writing can be considered a bit confusing, but I think I understand it.

    It is easier to give a simple example:

    Martin said "Go to the store and buy a dozen eggs."

    Martin told me to buy eggs.

    Martin said that I should buy a dozen eggs.

    Martin asked me to buy a dozen eggs.

     

    Sometimes, we change what is said to a political correct and sensible form, even if not exactly correct. 

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