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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #106029: To say / to tell ...
To say / to tell ...
TO SAY ? TO TELL ?
The two verbs imply a 'communication between people' ; they are both irregular verbs ( to say, I said [sed], said) - (to tell, I told, told). As soon as you start learning English, you need them, and you learn them ! Yet, years later, you still happen to use one for the other ! Let's clear these hesitations ...
1) To SAY :
- Is used to introduce quotes : these words form the Predicate (or direct object) of the verb 'say' : ex : Jeffrey said : ‘I’m hungry … I’m even starving …’
- It's used in Indirect Speech too, forming a subordinate introduced by that : ex : Jeffrey said that he was hungry, and even starving.
- If a personal complement is used after say, the preposition to must be used : ex: Baby Jane said thank you to her mother, who smiled !
- Most French kids know the game : 'Jacques a dit' ... In English, it exists too and is named : 'Simon says [sez] ' ....( 'Simon' gives instructions to a group : 'Raise your hand !' or 'Jump in the air', 'Simon says, applaud !' and the players should only obey the instruction if the order starts with : 'Simon says ...'. The players who've made a mistake are out till there's only one 'Simon' left !)
2) To TELL :
1) = to say BUT ‘Tell’ mentions the person you're speaking to as personal object :
ex : Jeffrey told us (= personal object) (that) we were late.
The second complement may be :
- a noun : Jeffrey told us important news.
- a subordinate : Jeffrey told us that we were lucky.(= told that = informed)
- an infinitive : He told us to wait for him. ( = told to = ordered)
- an indirect interrogative clause : the word order : He told us what time it was.
2) Relating facts : To tell a story ;Tell me the truth ! ; To tell a lie ; Tell me about it ; To tell jokes ! ; To tell a secret ...
Now you're ready to face the exercise ... Go for it !
What are they saying ... ?
... and telling people ?
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