General Writing and Grammar Help/Verbs, and who they're


QUESTION: It may sound unconventional, but can the question "What did your agent do to you?" be answered with "He represented me" grammatically? It strikes my ear as wrong, but I'm hard-pressed to find a rule that says I can't say "represent" is something that was "done" to me. Any guidance?

ANSWER: "What did your agent do to you?" Is incorrect. The agent did not "do anything to you" as that is NOT representation.

The correct sentence structure is:

"What did your agent do for you?"


"He represented me."

If the agent had "done something, i.e. "do to you,"  then that would mean the agent slapped him, hit him, pushed him, talked badly to him, etc. etc.

It is "do for you" i.e. a service: represented.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for the prompt response! Your reasoning agrees with mine, but I'm not successful in finding any grammatical "rule" or standard that says "he represented me" can't answer the original question. Is there one?

If your question is about the answer:

"He represented me."

Then, here is the definition of "represent":

transitive verb
1)  to bring clearly before the mind :  present <a book which represents the character of early America>

2)   to serve as a sign or symbol of <the flag represents our country>

3)   to portray or exhibit in art :  depict

4)   to serve as the counterpart or image of :  typify <a movie hero who represents the ideals of the culture>

5) a :  to produce on the stage
b :  to act the part or role of

6) a (1) :  to take the place of in some respect (2) :  to act in the place of or for usually by legal right (3) :  to manage the legal and business affairs of <athletes represented by top lawyers and agents>
b :  to serve especially in a legislative body by delegated authority usually resulting from election

7)   to describe as having a specified character or quality <represents himself as a friend>

8) a :  to give one's impression and judgment of :  state in a manner intended to affect action or judgment
b :  to point out in protest or remonstrance

9)   to serve as a specimen, example, or instance of

10) a :  to form an image or representation of in the mind
b (1) :  to apprehend (an object) by means of an idea (2) :  to recall in memory

11)   to correspond to in essence :  constitute

intransitive verb
1)   to make representations against something :  protest

2) slang :  to perform a task or duty admirably :  serve as an outstanding example
— rep·re·sent·able  adjective
— rep·re·sent·er noun

He represented his company at the meeting.
She hired an agent to represent her in the contract negotiations.  ( these apply to your answer)
Senator Smith represents the state of Connecticut.
The company is represented by a local law firm.
She represented the United States in figure skating at the Olympics.
The court's decision represents a victory for small businesses.
The new prices represent a substantial increase over last year's prices.

There is no grammatical "rule" for the word "represent" as it applies for an agent to "represent" someone, as in:

Literary agent represents the author/writer.

Insurance agent represents covered client.

Lawyer/attorney represents his/her client.  

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Jannie Balliett


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