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I read the first sentence on likes.com. I wonder if there is any difference between the following two sentences:

  1. We all have them, but your chin could be telling you more than you know about you and everybody else.

  2. We all have them, but your chin could tell you more than you know about you and everybody else.

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  • The second is not well-formed, that is ungrammatical.
    – DyingIsFun
    Aug 2, 2016 at 15:19
  • It was "could tell you " Aug 2, 2016 at 15:40
  • The sentences are both fine, and mean (roughly) the same thing. But the first "be telling you" structure is very common in internet and magazine articles. It's a nod to a fairly recognizable structure.
    – DyingIsFun
    Aug 2, 2016 at 15:43

1 Answer 1

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The second sentence seems strange, because tell is not used in the sense of speaking up here. If you do use it literally, you could see a sentence like

Your friend could tell you more about your girlfriend than you know.

Which means that if your friend would tell you something about your girlfriend, he would tell you things you didn't know about her.

Your chin doesn't talk. But it can tell you something - maybe because of its shape. If it tells you something, it is doing so the whole time; your chin doesn't sit down for a chat with you, it conveys any message it has continuously.

We all have them, but your chin could be telling you more than you know about you and everybody else.

So this sentence means that possibly, your chin is conveying a message about you (and other people?) that you didn't know about.

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