'I say what I mean' vs 'I mean what I say'

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Senior Member
This is supposed to be easy and yet I don't have a clue what's the difference.

They both seem to mean:

"I speak my mind. For example when I say I want to watch a movie I actually want to wach one, there is no trick, or second, more important meaning."

But where is the difference?

I feel like 'I mean what I say' is more likely to be used after something else has actually been said but that's about the only thing I was able to come up with.

What do you think?
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I say what I mean = I’m a straight-talker; I don’t beat about the bush

    I mean what I say = I’m deadly serious about this!


    Senior Member
    British English
    I say what I mean - I don’t think differently to what I say - if I think something the I say it - I don’t get confused - I always say what I want to say

    I mean what I say - what I say is very important to me - you should pay attention to what I’m saying because it is very important - I don’t joke around - you should take me seriously.

    E.g. A: ‘it’s twelve days until Christmas’
    B: ‘don’t you mean eleven?’
    A: ‘ I say what I mean’

    A: ‘I’m confiscating your phone for a month’
    B: ‘are you joking? You don’t really mean that.’
    A: ‘I mean what I say’



    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Colloquially, "I say what I mean" is used to mean "I speak my mind; I don't use roundabout euphemisms, but instead, speak directly and frankly." It sometimes means the person will be blunt and even rude.

    But, "I mean what I say" is used to mean "I don't idly threaten, I will follow through on what I say I will do." It sometimes even means the person is willing to take actions that are extreme or violent.

    (also x posted)

    Also, "Say what you mean" as a command means "Don't confuse me, speak plainly" and "Mean what you say" as a command means "Don't lie or try to mislead" (less common, natural in fewer contexts)
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