“I couldn't help but notice that your shirt has something written in Korean on it. Do you know what it says?”

English Lesson: I couldn't help but notice that your shirt has something written in Korean on it. Do you know what it says?

You see someone who's wearing a t-shirt with Korean writing on it, but it doesn't make sense. You ask whether he understands it.

I couldn't help but notice that your shirt has something written in Korean on it. Do you know what it says?

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what (some writing) says

English speakers use the word "says" to talk about things that are written somewhere, even though we can't actually hear written English. For example:

What does the note say?

The instructions say to take two tablets every four to six hours.

I couldn't help but notice (something)

When you notice something and want to talk about it, even though it's a little uncomfortable or unusual to talk about, you can use this phrase:

I couldn't help but notice that you're not wearing your wedding ring. Is everything OK?

A common use case is when you want to start up a conversation with a stranger:

Excuse me, miss. I couldn't help but notice the book you're reading. What do you think of it so far?

You can also say "I couldn't help noticing ___":

Hey, I couldn't help noticing the tattoo on your inner arm. It's really cool. Does it mean anything?

Aside from "notice", you can also say:

  • I couldn't help but think (something)
  • I couldn't help but overhear (something)

(an object) has something written on it

When there are words written or printed on an object, you can say that the object "has something written on it":

His hat had something written on it. I couldn't quite make out what it said.

(something) is written in (a language)

Here's how to talk about what language was used to write something:

The original play was written in Russian.