We use this pattern when we hear something strange, something that we do not believe, or something that we do not understand.
Many times, we use this question when we want to know where a person got their information because we do not believe that it is true.
A) I heard that coffee gives you cancer.
B) Who says that? = Who said that?
It is also common to use this question when angry.
- Who says that I can join this club? That is unfair!
But we can also use it when something is different than a stereotype. We are showing the stereotype is not true. These are rhetorical questions. They do not require an answer. Stereotype:
White men cannot jump high. Situation:
After a white man dunks a basketball, the man or other people can say the following.
- Who says white men can't jump?
Here are a few more examples.
Who says (that) + sentence?
- Who says that men can't take care of babies?
(=The person believes that men can take care of babies.)
- Who says that women have to be pretty to get a good job?
(=The person believes that women do not have to be pretty to get a good job.)
Bonus Tips and Points
- Who says that men can't cook?
- Who says we can't bring food into the concert?
- Who says that pasta isn't healthy?
- Who says that men don't get plastic surgery?
- Who says that our company is not competitive?
- Who says that women can't drive?
- Who says that Americans are all fat?
- Who says that Canadians are all very polite?
- Who says that chocolate is good for your health?
1. The past tense questions have the same meaning. We can use either one. However, it is common to use the present tense (Who says...) when it is something that people say regularly.
Real-World English Conversations
- Who said that it would rain tomorrow?
- Who said that this restaurant wasn't good?
- What says that women can't drive?
A) Men can't cook.
B) Who says that men can't cook? That is nonsense. I am a great cook and I am a man.
A) I heard that most women are terrible drivers compared to men.
B) Who says that women are terrible drivers? My husband is not a woman and he is a terrible driver.
A) Who says that I can't go in?
B) It is a rule, sir. Nobody can enter the bank until 9 am.
A) You can't bring food into the stadium.
B) Who says that I can't bring food in?
A) It is a rule. Nobody is allowed to bring outside food or drinks into the stadium.
A) This pasta is delicious.
B) See. Who says men can't cook?
A) I heard that women are not as good as men at math.
B) Who says that? That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
A) Who says that the early bird gets the worm? I wake up late every day and I always win and get what I want.
B) You are so arrogant and cocky.
A) Who says that?
B) I say that.
A) Who says that we can't win? If we try our best, anything is possible.
B) You're right. Let's do it!
A) This raw fish is delicious.
B) You're right. Who says that raw food can't be delicious? Study these free English lessons to improve your English speaking. If you learn these common sentence patterns well, then your English speaking will improve greatly and you will be able to have fluent conversations in English in the near future! Study the lessons well, practice using the sentences and questions at home and in real life, and make sure to come back to review the material so you do not forget. If you do these three things, then you will be speaking English like a native English speaker in no time!