He was, but no one could tell

AliBadass

Senior Member
persian
A: Marco had to give a speech in front of 500 people.
B: Whew! That's a big audience. He must have been nervous.
A: He was, but no one could tell.

What does speaker A mean by ''no one could tell''?

This short dialogue is picked up from an exercise from the English grammar book named ''USING AND UNDERSTANDING English Grammar, forth edition'' written by Betty S. Azar.
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    B: He must have been nervous.
    A: He was [nervous], but no one could tell [(that) he was (nervous)].

    So the first clause 'He was' echoes 'He must have been', leaving out the repeated part 'nervous', and the second clause echoes the first: He was nervous, but no one could tell (detect/notice) that fact.
     
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