''He didn't say to them anything '' vs ''He didn't say anything to them'' Is it acceptable/natural to use the first structure? He didn't say to them anything.(It sounds strange to my ears)
Jul 17, 2019 12:13 PM
Answers · 3
Your example isn’t acceptable and Chris’ advice is good. You could use a word order like that in a direct quote, especially if it’s longer. He said to the crowd “Now is the time to make justice a reality for all God’s children”.
July 17, 2019
You are correct: the first one is strange, and you shouldn't use it. Put direct objects before prepositional phrases Good: I drove my car to Mumbai Bad: I drove to Mumbai my car. put prepositional phrases that verbs REQUIRE before optional prepositional phrases. Good: I put the pasta in the water with a spoon. Bad: I put the pasta with a spoon in the water. Put place before time Good: I ate at that restaurant yesterday. Bad: I ate yesterday at that restaurant.
July 17, 2019
Great question! It's good that it sounds strange to you - "say" is a transitive verb that only takes a direct object. So you can "say something" but not *"say him something". The verb "tell" takes two objects - the indirect object then the direct object: "tell him something." Edit: Short answer to your question - no, it's not natural English to say, "say him something." Good luck!
July 17, 2019
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