“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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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.
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)
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.
Here's how to talk about what language was used to write something:
The original play was written in Russian.