Say and tell

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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:

  1. When you’re quoting somebody (William Somerset Maugham said: “The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.”)
  2. When you want someone to pronounce something (Please say the word Asparagus)
  3. When you want to hear someone’s opinion (What do you say we watch the new movie today?)
  4. When you want to indicate something (Look, buddy, the sign says “No smoking”!)

Now, let’s look at tell:

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. You can start a question with tell me (So tell me, was the movie boring to you?)
  4. 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. 🙂

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