(someone) can tell by (some evidence) that (clause)

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.

I can tell you put a lot of work into 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.

This phrase appears in these lessons: