say VS tell

Discussion in 'Italian-English' started by simonaj, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. simonaj Senior Member

    italian, Italy
    What is the difference between "to say" and "to tell"? E come si usano, cioè quando si usa l'uno invece dell'altro?
    thanks.
     
  2. moshi Senior Member

    Italian, Italy
    - puoi usare "tell" come "raccontare" : tell a story
    - col significato di "dire" sono sinonimi, ma "tell" si usa in genere come "dire a qualcuno" (you told me), mentre say è più generale (she said that...).

    I madrelingua saranno molto più chiari e utili di me!!! :)
     
  3. Monica610 Senior Member

    Genova, Italy
    Polish
    After using "to say" you must always use "to", for example: "She said to me that...". But: "She told me that...".
     
  4. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Interesting question. I have the same issues in Italian!:)

    "to say" - is a general description of speech - like "dire".
    Esempi:
    He said that the car was too small. (a specific person, but not necessarily said to a specific person or group)
    Dante said "it's hot down here!" (same as above)

    "to tell" - implies that a specific person will "say" something to one or more people. Something more like "raccontare".
    Esempi:
    Dante told Beatrice that he loved her. (very specific)
    Michelangelo told Giulio, "So tell me, what do you think?" (very specific)
    Garibaldi told the crowd "Let's unite Italy!" (very specific)

    Peró, c'è un problema:
    "to say to" someone is like "to tell"
    Dante said to Beatrice that he loved her.
    Michelangelo said to Giulio, "Tell me, what do you think?" (very specific)
    Garibaldi said to the crowd "Let's unite Italy!" (very specific)

    There are exceptions to all rules, but I think this is reasonable as a start.
     
  5. 87andrea New Member

    italian
    Vorrei sapere che differenza c'è tra i verbi SAY e TELL.

    Per esempio nel discorso indiretto qualè l'opzione piu corretta?
    1)Bill told to mary to open the door
    2)Bill told mary to open the door
    3)Bill said to mary to open the door

    Un altro esempio su cui ho dei dubbi:

    1)George told Peter could come with him if he liked
    2)George said Peter could come with him if he liked

    Grazie in anticipo.
     
  6. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    My attempt: I hope I did it right...:)
     
  7. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
     
  8. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    Thank you Tim.
    I intended "George said (that?) Peter could come with him if he liked" as passive form. I was probably wrong...:confused:
     
  9. Odysseus54

    Odysseus54 Mod huc mod illuc

    In the hills of Marche
    Italian - Marche
    What do you mean with passive ?
     
  10. Ranocchietta

    Ranocchietta Senior Member

    Rome, Italy
    Italian
    I think she means that George told someone else that Peter was welcomed, if he wished to go.

    In Italian it would be: "George ha detto che Peter poteva andare con lui se lo desiderava".

    I think that in this sense the sentence is correct, or is there another way to say it?
     
  11. Azazel81 Senior Member

    Milan
    Italy - Italian
    And I go: "what did Lorena mean by 'passive'?". I see no passive form in there... :confused:

    Anyway.. there are lots of things that still need to be said about "say vs tell"...

    For instance that there are certain expressions where you can use only "say" and some others where you can use only "tell".

    e.g.: you must say: "tell me the truth" or "don't tell lies!".. even if in Italian we have both ways ("dimmi/raccontami la verità" and "non dire/raccontare bugie!").
     
  12. Odysseus54

    Odysseus54 Mod huc mod illuc

    In the hills of Marche
    Italian - Marche
    Le differenze sono :

    1) "To tell" regge il doppio accusativo : della cosa che si dice, e della persona a cui si dice.

    2) "To say" regge l'accusativo della cosa che si dice e il dativo ( con "to" ) della persona a cui si dice.

    3) "To tell" ha , oltre al significato generico di "dire" anche quelli specifici di "raccontare" e di "prescrivere" ( "dire a qualcuno perche' faccia qualcosa" ), piu' altri piu' idiomatici , p. es. "fare la spia" ( con "on" ).

    4) "To say" significa solo "dire"

    In molti casi i due verbi sono semanticamente intercambiabili, ma la costruzione deve essere modificata, da 'accusativo' a 'dativo' ( uso questi termini un po' impropriamente, perche' li trovo piu' diretti che "complemento oggetto" e "complemento di termine" )

    In altri casi invece, dove "tell" e' utilizzato in uno dei suoi significati piu' specifici, non sono intercambiabili.

    Esempi

    " He had told me that he would be late " = " He had said to me that he would be late "

    " I told him not to be late " non intercambiabile con "said", a meno che la 'prescrizione' contenuta in "told" non si renda con altri elementi della frase, vedi es. seguente

    " I told him (that he could) not be late " = " I said to him that he could not be late "

    Spero di non aver confuso le cose ulteriormente.
     
  13. TimLA

    TimLA Senior Member

    Los Angeles
    English - US
    Hmmm...let's see what we can do.
    In terms of grammar (grammer?:D), I'm the last person you should ask.:)

    George said that Peter could come with him if he liked. (George talked to "someone" - maybe Peter, maybe not)
    George said to Peter that he could come with him if he liked. (George talked to "Peter")
    George told Peter that he could come with him if he liked. (George talked to "Peter").
     
  14. Lorena1970

    Lorena1970 Senior Member

    Italy, Italiano
    Yes, that's what I meant. Me either I am not so expert in terms of grammar rules, sorry :eek:.
     

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