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Question Told or Showed

hirashin

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Dear native English speakers,
which one sounds good?
1 (a) The look on her face told us that she had won the contest.
(b) The look on her face showed us that she had won the contest.

2 (a) Her smile told us that she had won the contest.
(b) Her smile showed us that she had won the contest.

 

Lothor

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I'm happy with both.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for the help, mdchachi and Lothor. Hmm... Your views are divided.
 

bentenmusume

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Well, this is a very subtle point, I think, so it probably shouldn't be surprising that even native speakers aren't able to come to a 100% consensus.

I'm not sure if this is an American English/British English distinction (I believe both mdchachi-san and myself are AE speakers, and Lothor is BE...correct me if I'm wrong), but I also feel like "told" is slightly more idiomatic, though "showed" is certainly understandable and does not feel "wrong" or unnatural to any significant degree.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for your opinion, bentenmusume san. I'd like to hear Michael2's opinion to see if this is a AE/BE difference.
 

Lothor

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Hirashin - What mdchachi says. Personal preference not one being better than the other.
 

Michael2

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I don't think it's a AE/BE difference, it's just personal preference. I would prefer "tell" too, because the smile is being used instead of words, but idiomatically "telling" us some information. The smile is being used to convey an idea, not just existing by itself, like a painting, which could "show" the trenches in WW1, but "tell us" what life was like for soldiers at the time.
 

hirashin

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Thanks for your view, Michael2. But I haven't seen any native speakers who prefer "showed" in this case, in another site as well.
 
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