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Difference between Say and Tell

Effie
11 Sep 0 0

Today you will learn the difference between the verbs 'say' and 'tell'. We often get confused with these two verbs as both of them are quite similar because they both talk about giving information to another person.
Both these verbs are used to communicate verbally. In both the verbs, you're uttering words from your mouth. But when you're telling something, there's always a listener involved, and on the other hand, when you're saying something, listeners might or might not be present.

To summarize the above sentence,


● You say things


● You tell things to someone else.


So, the primary difference is Use 'say' when the listener is not necessary. Let's learn more about these verb's rules using examples!


1. Merry told Cristine to go away.
2. Merry said Cristine to go away.


The first sentence is correct because we use 'tell' when the listener is necessary.


1. Jo told him to keep quiet.
2. Jo told him to keep quiet.


The first sentence is correct because we always use 'tell' when someone is giving/taking orders or advice.
1. She said that it was too easy.
2. She told me it was too easy.


We can use both 'say' and 'tell' in case of reported or indirect speech. But don't forget to add me after told in this case. Easy, right?


1. Alex never says 'thank you' for anything.
2. Alex never tells me 'thank you' for anything.


The first one is correct because we use 'say' when the emphasis is on the actual words the other person said or when we're reporting the exact words of someone and we use 'tell' when you want to focus on
the general message.


1. Sara loves telling jokes.
2. Sara loves saying jokes.


The first one is correct because we always use 'tell' with a noun. The noun could be a lie, truth, future, past, etc. Now, let's quickly revise what we've understood till now!


SAY TELL BOTH
DIRECT SPEECH GENERAL MESSAGE REPORTED SPEECH
WITH A NOUN INDIRECT SPEECH
ORDER/ADVICE

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