Sometimes people confuse say and tell, let’s look at their meaning and use and hopefully, things will make more sense to you 🙂
If you use Tell, you must follow it with the person whom you’re talking to:
He told me an anecdote.
Jamie told Mrs. Brown she was taking a vacation.
This is not necessary for said, we say something and this is also used for direct speech:
I said I would call him tomorrow.
The Professor said: “Work harder to get a scholarship!”
Okay, I know how to write and say them, but where do we use each of them?
Let’s look at a few examples starting with Say:
- When you’re quoting somebody (William Somerset Maugham said: “The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.”)
- When you want someone to pronounce something (Please say the word Asparagus)
- When you want to hear someone’s opinion (What do you say we watch the new movie today?)
- When you want to indicate something (Look, buddy, the sign says “No smoking”!)
Now, let’s look at tell:
- Tell can be used not only when talking to people, but also when you’re writing to them. (I just got an e-mail from Sandra. She told me about her trip to Beijing)
- This means that tell can mean give information. (Welcome to our online store, before we start shopping, please tell us your city and country of residence)
- You can start a question with tell me (So tell me, was the movie boring to you?)
- Tell can emphasize something you’ve said (I’m telling you, that girl is looking at you all night so go and talk to her! To tell you the truth, I didn’t like my meal at all.)
Let’s put both words into practice:
Now, I’d love it if you told me what you like listening to in your free time, because next time I’d like to focus on some words which are followed by prepositions. 🙂