tell or say ?

< Previous | Next >

neliha76

Senior Member
france
could anyone please could tell me the difference between say & tell.
does "to tell something to someone" exists or we just have to use " to tell somebody something" ?

thanks in advance
 
  • Kelly B

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Tell is usually more appropriate when the other person is identified: I told him that...
    Say usually sounds better when the other person is not identified: I said that....
    Of course you may add the phrase to him if you use say.

    Tell is used certain set phrases: I told the truth (or a lie.)
     

    slewis

    Member
    UK (English)
    These are all valid:
    he told lies [to her]
    he told [her] lies
    he told her "I'm lying"
    he told her [that] he was lying
    he told her about his lies
    he told her to lie

    he said [to her] "I'm lying"
    he said "I'm lying" [to her]
    he said [to her] [that] he was lying
    he said [to her] [that] he was lying to her

    but NOT:
    he said her ... (a common error for non-native speakers)​
    I agree that tell = say to, but they're not always interchangeable.
    tell can also mean direct

    Steve
     

    Mesanaw

    New Member
    USA English
    tell is indirectly talking about something you said prevously or are going to say
    I told Jason about the movie tonight
    I am going to tell Jason about the movie tonight
    say is when it is direct
    I said,"Jason would you like to go to a movie with me tonight?"
    Hope this was helpful
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top