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    Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #41986: Say or tell?
    > Other English exercises on the same topic: Say, tell or speak? [Change theme]
    > Similar tests: - Say or Tell - Vocabulary: communication - Say or tell - Say / tell - Say/tell - To speak/ to say/ to tell/ to talk - Speak-Talk-Say-Tell - Say or Tell
    > Double-click on words you don't understand

    Say or tell?

    How to choose between to say and to tell

    I)  Syntax:

    You tell someone something.
    You say something to someone.

    - "You are late," he said to me. 
    - He told him (that) I was late. 


    II) How to use: 

    a) "say" is often used with direct speech at the beginning / at the end of the sentence.

    You can also find in indirect speech at the beginning of the sentence.

    He said to me : "You are late". He said to me (that) I was late.

    b) "tell" is often used with indirect speech, but you can also find it in direct speech (at the end of the sentence):
    He told him (that) he was late. "You are late," he told him.


    c) "tell" is often used to give an order:

    She told them to sit down.

    d) "tell" is often used to explain all the details of a story / an event. It is often used with  about OR how.

    Tell us about your trip to America.

    She told us how she had met her husband.

    e) "tell how" can be used with the infinitive form:

    I told them how to go there.
    Je leur ai dit comment aller lą-bas.

    f) Please learn: to tell the time = to say what time it is currently.

    EXERCISE: Choose the correct verb.

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    1. What did you him when he arrived?

    2. 'Don't make a promise that you can't keep,' he his son.

    3. us how you feel today.

    4. He didn't he was sorry.

    5. He he had come home very late the night before.

    6. him not to be late next time.

    7. He me he didn't know they were engaged.

    8. Can you the time in English?

    9. Can you this again?

    10. Whoever lies is a liar.

    End of the free exercise to learn English: Say or tell?
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