Say whatever he likes

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Agito a42

Senior Member
Three deserters speak with their former chief (a male by gender). The dialogue between them is rather lengthy, and I don't know if the last few lines directly connected to the first part of this one.

One of the deserters: Say whatever he likes, but I know he'd like nothing more that to see all of us dead.

From the dialogue, It doesn't seem like any of deserters said something that the chief might've liked.

This comes from a translation of a Japanese comic.
 
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  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Okay. "Say whatever he likes" refers to the chief. Perhaps he made some remark earlier in the text in which he claimed to like or forgive the deserters.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    Okay. "Say whatever he likes" refers to the chief. Perhaps he made some remark earlier in the text in which he claimed to like or forgive the deserters.
    To the chief? Hm, I don't quite understand... is it an imperative?
    And I'm not sure if he has mentioned that he likes someone. Maybe there's a hint that he doesn't have grudge against one of them, but not more.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    It's not an imperative. It's a shorter way to say this: He can say whatever he likes, but I know he'd like nothing more than to see all of us dead. A hint that he doesn't bear a grudge towards them would be enough to prompt this remark.
    This one definitely makes sense. But this "like" seems to me just like the "please" or "want" in "I do and say whatever I please/want." I mean, it has nothing to do with affection for anyone.
     
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    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    That's right. It has nothing to do with affection for anyone. If he says whatever he likes, he says whatever he wants to say.
     

    Agito a42

    Senior Member
    OK, I see this now. I'll explain a bit, for those who might read this later.
    The former chief gives the deserters information about their common enemy and the problems he is faced with. So, it's somewhat kind of him to provide this useful information. Thus, one of the deserters asks why he would bother to tell them about these things. After a few expressed thoughts, another deserter concludes: "Say whatever he likes, but I know he'd like nothing more that to see all of us dead", which is to say he may gives us important information, but his true intention is to see us dead, it's all part of his devious scheme.

    The only problem is this non-standard use of verb (at least it looks like that to me). As far as I understand, this is not an example of ellipsis. Perhaps you could think of something similar? A few examples with another verb would be just great.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Sorry, I'll delete post #10. The ellipsis of "he can" as it was used in the example is also fairly common. People often omit little pieces of complete sentences in real speech. The writer of that remark was obviously trying to imitate real speech, and the writer did a reasonable job of that.
     
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