Saying/Speaking

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Veera

Senior Member
India-Tamil & Telugu
Hi,

The sentence below is excerpted from the source: http://englishenglish.com/englishtest.htm?_sm_au_=iVV1V56kW5V7n0k5

63) There was a lot of noise so I didn't understand what she was ……… .
a) saying
b) telling
c) speaking
d) talking

The correct answer is 'saying' - There was a lot of noise so I didn't understand what she was saying.

I wonder, I am not finding any differences among the four answers. To my understandings,all the four express the same.

I thought 'c' would also sounds ok . Are there any differences ?

I am afraid to get clarification , because this is a multiple question. I would like to know why the answer would be 'saying'.

Please share your ideas on this. Thanks in advance.
 
  • DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I had a look at your test. In the case of several of the questions, the differences between the multiple-choice answers were very subtle and would not have been obvious to a non-native speaker. Certainly, in this case only (a) is correct. I've made a few little changes to the test sentence to illustrate the use of the alternatives.

    (a) There was a lot of noise so I didn't understand what she was saying
    (b)
    There was a lot of noise so I didn't understand what she was telling me
    (c)
    There was a lot of noise so I didn't understand the words that she was speaking
    (d)
    There was a lot of noise so I didn't understand what she was talking about
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    No, I meant transitive, though I'm not sure it was a very good way of explaining that the best choice was (a). Probably better to say, that of the choices on offer (a-d), it is the only option with which we can plausibly form the question:

    What was she 'X'-ing (that I was having difficulty understanding due to noise)?

    a.What was she saying (that I was having difficulty understanding due to noise)?............................:tick:
    b.What was she telling (that I was having difficulty understanding due to noise)?...........................:cross:
    c.What was she speaking (that I was having difficulty understanding due to noise)?.......................:cross:
    d.What was she talking (that I was having difficulty understanding due to noise)?..........................:cross:
     
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