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A YouDao.com example sentence:

你的身体会告诉应该做什么
Your body will tell you what to do
Nǐ de shēntǐ huì gàosù nǐ yīnggāi zuò shénme

The sentence makes sense to me, except that:

  • 会告诉 = will tell you,
  • 应该做什么 = what you should do

but the sentence only contains one 你 in 会告诉你应该做什么.

So it seems like it should be written:

你的身体会告诉你你应该做什么

Question: Should the second 你 in 你的身体会告诉你应该做什么 actually be 你你?

I'm not sure if this is a mistake, some kind of abbreviation (or something more suitable in spoken Chinese), or perhaps we can conclude from context that 应该做什么 means 你应该做什么. Or maybe something else.

I see we don't have two "you"s in the English, so perhaps an alternative translation is:

Your body will tell you what should be done.

But this doesn't clarify if two 你s are better than one. In English, it (arguably) sounds better as:

Your body will tell you what you should do

which has two "you"s.

  • there would be nothing unusual about 你你 instead of a single 你, find many examples, searching ichacha with 你你, e.g. 有人告诉你你很漂亮 having someone tell you that you’re beautiful,susan告诉我许多关于你你的事 susan has told me a great deal about you, besides personal pronouns are often omitted when meaning is clear from context – user6065 Nov 8 '17 at 12:23
  • Your first example sentence illustrated 你你 is not unusual in certain context, but "Susan 告诉我许多关于你你的事" is not a correct example . there's no need to add a second '你' in "Susan 告诉我许多关于你的事" – Tang Ho Nov 8 '17 at 12:33
  • of course users may wonder whether there should not be a comma between the 2 你 (about you and your matters), anyhow there are many more examples at ichacha – user6065 Nov 8 '17 at 12:38
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    You are right. People will have no problem understanding if you use double 你. But the last "你" is generally omitted as it is clear by context. And if you use double 你 in speaking, you need to have a very short pause between the two – jf328 Nov 9 '17 at 17:23
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"你的身体会告诉你 (Your body will tell you) '你应该做什么' (what should you do)" is indeed grammatically correct. However, consider three '你' in one sentence, especially two '你' back to back just look weird.

A better writer would rephrase it to make reading easier, for example: "你的身体会讓你知道 (your body will let you know) 你应该做什么 (what you should do)"

or

" '你应该做什么'(topic), 你的身体会告诉你(comment)"

Note:

"有人告诉你你很漂亮" (the first 你 is the object, the second 你 is the subject of the relative clause)

"父親告訴我我出生時的事" (the first 我 is the object, the second 我 is the subject of the relative clause)

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Yes. 你的身体会告诉你你应该做什么 is technically right. Usually if we have to say the sentence like this, there will be a comma between the double . The first is the object of 告訴, and the second one is the subject of the clause.

However this is just one of the meanings of the sentence. We emphasize the importance of the subject of the clause, , by not omitting it. The thing, which "what to do" implies, should be done by you.

On the other hand, another meaning of 你的身体会告诉你应该做什么 is that we don't care about "who" is going to do something. Instead, we put the point at "what" should be done. In this case, you can't put double inside the sentence. Because 应该做什么 is the second object of 告诉. Just like the "story" in the following example.

我告诉你一个故事。 I tell you a story

Another example:

我告诉你将要发生的事。

  1. 我告诉你-你将要发生的事。

    I will tell you what will happen to you.

  2. 我告诉你-将要发生的事。

    I will tell you what will happen. Maybe happen to the country, to your friends, or unspecific ones.

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Compare the two sentences:

  1. 你的身体会告诉你应该做什么。

  2. 你的身体会告诉你你应该做什么。

Sentence 2 is wordy because of that double 你. It's not a good style.

Sentence 1 could be parsed as:

你的身体会告诉 -- 应该做什么。 // Your body will tell you -- what to do.

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  • 2
    告訴 as a transitive verb. A is not a appropriate one. – newacc2240 Nov 9 '17 at 9:16
  • Whether 告诉 is a transitive or not is not the point. It's just how you parse the sentence. Like you could parse the sentence 我告诉你 as 我--告诉--你. – dan Nov 10 '17 at 0:18
  • 只能是 B,A 是错的,哪来的这种语法? 告诉后面必须跟名词。 – 賈可 Jacky Nov 10 '17 at 2:21
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    No, it matters. The object of 告訴 should always be a person, or a thing but personified, and cannot be omitted at anytime. – newacc2240 Nov 10 '17 at 3:38
  • I deleted A to satisfy you guys, though I think it's ok to take '你应该做什么' as object, – dan Nov 10 '17 at 8:47

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