tell of vs. tell

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Senior Member
Hello, my friends,

I was wondering what's the difference between tell of and tell, I think they are interchangeable in most cases:

"In this book, Aron tells of the importance of making good decisions."

Thoughts dan context: Aron wrote his experience of making a good decision in his book and wants to share it with us.
  • lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I don’t think that’s a very useful assumption to make. Whether or not the preposition “of” is needed depends on the context. But there are also some specific uses of “tell of”.

    For example, we often describe a book/play/story (or perhaps any piece of writing) as telling of something:

    [The book Journey of an American Boy] tells of the places lived, friends made, and family togetherness. It tells of the struggle in life after the author's father died …

    For example, we are led to ask not only what the Friar's Tale tells of the characters of that tale, but what it tells of the Friar telling such a tale; what it tells of what the Friar thinks of the Summoner, against whom the tale is directed; what it tells of Harry Bailey, who cheers on the teller of the tale; what it tells of the motives of the narrator, Pilgrim Chaucer …
    But it’s also (as in your example) applied to a person recounting something, typically in news item headings:

    Survivors tell of their joy after Taoiseach's apology
    Governor tells of his brushes with suicide


    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    "Telling of" something is synonymous with "telling someone about" something e.g. In this book Aron tells [us] about the importance.
    In this book Aron tells [us] of the importance.
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