Except from an email received from tech support:

I do show that the account has been updated

What is the meaning of "I do show"? To whom or what does "I" refer?

  • 3
    I refers to the person who wrote the e-mail, of course, and (s)he does indicate or demonstrate that the account has been updated. With no more context than one short sentence, how are we supposed to be able to give you a better answer than that? – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 9 '14 at 16:54

I do show, employs a technique called metonymy, where one word is substituted for another in which it has a close relationship. It's the same kind of thing as "The Whitehouse announced spending cuts" or "Let's see what London have to say about that".

The definition of Metonymy in general is very broad and rather vague, but it tends to fall into a number of classes, according to the relationship between the substitute and the substituted, for example "a part for the whole", "a tool for its user", and so on, (each with an exciting Greek name, useful for pub quizzes).

In this case it seems like the the technical support guy was substituting themselves with a tool which they use; which appears to be some kind of record system, (maybe a bug-tracker, a financial account, some system logs, or whatever).

The emphatic use of do suggests that, either:

  • you have made a claim which they concede is reflected in their records, or
  • you have made a claim which they deny, from the evidence of their their records.

This is the type of statement made by someone viewing online data. They are stating that they can visibly confirm that the account has been updated.

  • 1
    "Confirm" gets close to the implications of do in OP's example, but in practice I find it difficult to imagine contexts where a native speaker would include the auxiliary verb unless it was being heavily stressed, with the specific intention of refuting a suggestion from someone else that the account hasn't been updated. – FumbleFingers Oct 9 '14 at 17:38
  • @FumbleFingers: Indeed. "If you have updated the account, why don't you show then in your report that the account has been updated?" - "I do show that the account has been updated. You just haven't read it properly." is the most natural conversation that springs to my mind. "Affirm" rather than "confirm"? – Amadan Oct 10 '14 at 6:01
  • @Amadan: Interesting idea - I'm not sure affirm quite works in place of confirm in Gary's second sentence, but affirming it might replace stating. Maybe something a bit "stronger", like contending, contesting. But I reckon Dan has nailed it below - specifically in that he points out two possible scenarios where the "emphasis" might be appropriate. – FumbleFingers Oct 10 '14 at 12:12

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