You're hanging out with one of your friends at school. A woman who you both recognize from one of your classes walks by. You don't know her, but you think she seems rich. You say to your friend this.
You can tell by the way she carries herself and her tone of voice that she comes from a well-to-do family.
When you "can tell" something, it means that you are able to know it by seeing it, tasting it, feeling it, etc.:
I can tell that you're getting better at it.
Use "by___" to talk about the evidence that you see:
You won, didn't you? I can tell by your smile.
"By ___" can come before or after the clause:
I can tell by the color that they're almost ripe.
I can tell that they're almost ripe by the color.
The way that someone carries themselves means their attitude, posture, and body language. Here are some ways that you can describe how a person carries themselves:
He carries himself well.
She carries herself with confidence.
He always carried himself like a soldier.
"Carrying yourself" a certain way is something that people often seem to do on purpose. Because of that, it's not common to talk about someone carrying themselves badly or in a negative way.
Someone's "tone of voice" means how they sound. It especially means the emotional characteristics or personality in someone's voice. For example, if your son or daughter starts to speak to you angrily, you can say:
Don't you take that tone of voice with me!
Or if someone says that they're OK, but they say it in a sad and depressed voice, you can describe it this way:
I could tell from his tone of voice that he was upset.
A "well-to-do family" is a family that has a lot of money. They might not be extremely rich, but they're pretty rich.
This phrase sounds pretty positive. It's not rude to call someone "well-to-do".
Talk about someone's family history this way:
I heard that he comes from a wealthy family.
I come from a long line of academics.
A "long line" of something means that many of your ancestors did the same thing.
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