Question by  Steve44 (16)

Where did the phrase I tell you what come from?

I need to know where the phrase I tell you what came from.


Answer by  qwe123 (78)

The phrase "I tell you what" appeared in Louisa May Alcott's book, "Little Women. " It was a line from the character Beth. "I'll tell you what we'll do," said Beth [to her sisters], "let's each get her something for Christmas, land not get anything for ourselves. " There is one example of where this old American phrase was used.


Answer by  Vllad45 (1886)

This phrase is from a regional dialect, generally in the south of the United States, but there are precursors that exist in English literature dating back to the nineteenth century (though it was considered improper grammar and poor writing). It was formerly "allow me to explain" or "if I may tell you".

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