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The principal told me to arrange a meeting. Which of the following (if either) is correct, and why?

  • The principal says I'm to arrange the meeting.
  • The principal says to me to arrange the meeting.
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  • The first is fine, but it would be better with said. The second would be better with told me to arrange... Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 23:17
  • Also, to me, the construct "to be to do something" doesn't quite gel with with the colloquial contraction I'm. I suggest "The principal said (that) I am/was to arrange the meeting". "The principal asked me to arrange the meeting" is probably more idiomatic still.
    – sk29910
    Commented Feb 19, 2014 at 23:48

2 Answers 2

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Your first usage is perfectly acceptable in informal communication:

The principal says I'm to arrange the meeting.

The extended form:

The principal says I am [the one who is] to arrange the meeting.


Your second usage is kind of an interesting. It would require a different context:

[...] So then the principal says to me to arrange the meeting.

This is even more informal and is not nearly as common. Most people would write this as either of the following:

[...] So then the principal says to me, "Arrange the meeting."

[...] So then the principal tells me to arrange the meeting.

The usage of "says to" in place of "tells" is most likely an American dialectal oddity but, unfortunately, I don't remember which one uses it.

I wouldn't recommend following this practice. Your first usage is much more correct.

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If you want to go for a more formal approach:

The principal has asked me to arrange the/this meeting.

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