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Fenton Benton 麻雀虽小,五脏俱全!
what's to say and who's to say I am completely baffled on how to use them and when to use them. Who’s to say that we’re to blame for this failure? What’s to say he wanted to go to the party in the first place? The first one make a little sense to me, I might understand this way:"who is going to say that we are to blame for this?" the answer might be "Frank is to say that....or Tom is to say that ...." But the second one doesn't make any sense to me, in addition, I don't know even how I should answer this question.
Feb 6, 2012 5:20 AM
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Answers · 6
Fenton, These are rhetorical questions. You begin a sentence with "Who is to say?" or "What is to say?" in order to cast doubt on the statement that follows. No answer is expected The meaning of "Who is to say?" is "Who could possiby say?" Who could possibly say that we are to blame? No one could. What is to say? = What could possibly say? Here "say" means "show or indicate" because it applies to a thing not a human being. What could possibly show that we are to blame? Nothing could. Grammar The infinitive "to say" modifies the subject "who" or "what". You could rewrite them like this: Who, to say that we are to blame, is there? What, to say that we are to blame, is there?
February 11, 2012
Who's to say = who has the authority to declare.... What's to say = who cares if....
February 6, 2012
In English, the two are often used interchangeably. It's not necessarily correct, but that's just how we use them. Both of them are generally used as rhetoric questions. "What's to say" is more often used as a sort of challenge question and if you substitute it with "maybe" or "how do you know", then it might make more sense: "What's to say I won't be able to learn another language?" -- ("How do you know that I won't be able to learn another language" OR "Maybe I'll be able to learn another language.") I hope that makes some sort of sense.
February 6, 2012
Fenton Benton 麻雀虽小,五脏俱全!
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
English