about icon-addNote android4 Answer apple4 icon-appStoreEN icon-appStoreES icon-appStorePT icon-appStoreRU Imported Layers Copy 7 icon-arrow-spined icon-ask icon-attention icon-bubble-blue icon-bubble-red ButtonError ButtonLoader ButtonOk icon-cake icon-camera icon-card-add icon-card-calendar icon-card-remove icon-card-sort chrome-extension-ru chrome-extension-es-mx chrome-extension-pt-br chrome-extension-ru comment comment icon-cop-cut icon-cop-star Cross Dislike icon-editPen icon-entrance icon-errorBig facebook flag flag_vector icon-globe icon-googlePlayEN icon-googlePlayRU icon-greyLoader icon-cake Heart 4EB021E9-B441-4209-A542-9E882D3252DE Created with sketchtool. Info Kebab icon-lamp icon-lampBig icon-learnHat icon-learning-hat Dislike Loup Loup icon-more icon-note icon-notifications icon-pen Pencil icon-play icon-plus-light icon-plus icon-rosie-cut Rune scrollUp Share-icon Shevron-Down Shevron Left Shevron Right sound sound1 sound2 sound3 sound4 sound2 icon-star Swap icon-translate Trash icon-tutor-ellipsis icon-tutor-flip Tutor folder icon icon-tutor-learned icon-twoWayArrow Mezhdunarodny_logotip_VK vk icon-word pen_icon Logo Logo Logo
Go to Questions & Answers

leo malettadded a note um ano atrás

note (en-en)

Which is correct: "can tell from" or "can tell by"?

0

Discussion (10)

leo malettadded a comment um ano atrás

So they're mostly interchangable, thanks grumbler

grumbleradded a comment um ano atrás

Not sure - check the examples. Possibly, there is a slight difference.

•-<(||=ULY=||)>- •added a comment um ano atrás

As with everything, the difference lies in the context. In a passive scenario one where the speaker notices something without actively looking for it both forms are used, but FROM is more contextually appropriate: "I can tell FROM/by his eyes that he's been smoking." (=the speaker casually noticed that he'd been smoking when she looked into his eyes by chance).

However, when the speaker actively uses something as a gauge or indicator, BY expresses agency more readily than FROM: "I can tell BY looking into his eyes if he's been smoking." (=when I want to know if he's been smoking, I look into his eyes). The option FROM LOOKING would be incorrect here, although it's POSSIBLE if it's "shorthand" for FROM HAVING LOOKED: [doctor]: "I can tell from looking at your xrays last month, that you're developing glaucoma."

Finally, I think it's worth making a distinction here. You can tell something FROM EXPERIENCE, but BY INTUITION. Even a lot of natives get this wrong.

| Валерий |added a comment um ano atrás
However, when the speaker actively uses something as a gauge or indicator, BY expresses agency more readily than FROM:

Uly, what does 'agency' mean here?

Share with friends