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Learn English > English lessons and exercises > English test #87821: Tell / Say / Speak / Talk
Tell / Say / Speak / Talk
Tell = to give information to somebody by speaking or writing
tell someone something: 'I told him about it.'
tell something to somebody: 'He told the news to his co-worker.
'Please, tell me your name'
= we usually say who is told (personal object) and what they were told
'I told him...', 'They told us...', 'We told them...'
'He told me ( that ) he was hungry.'
'Mary told me to eat dinner.'
'Our parents told us about it.'
Say = Never has a person as the object. You say something or say something to somebody.
Tell me what he said to you.
I want to say something on this subject.
= The construction 'He said that' is very common, but the 'that' is often omitted in informal writing and speech.
She said (that) she worked in the big company.
He said (that) he was ill.
Sally said that John would be late to the party.
Both ' SAY ' and ' TELL ' can be used in direct or indirect speech.
DIRECT SPEECH: I said:' I'm hungry'. / I told him: 'I'm hungry'.
INDIRECT SPEECH: I said that I was hungry'. / I told him that I was hungry.
Speak = We often use it for one-way communication, and also for more serious or formal situations.
I need to speak to you after class.
The king of this country spoke to the audience about the war.
= When we want to refer to a person's ability to speak a language.
He speaks two languages.
Do you speak English?
Talk = It is used about a general topic. It cannot be used to report specific indirect speech.
This verb usually refers to two or more people exchanging or sharing information.
We talked about my big project.
Let's talk about it!
Both ' SPEAK ' and ' TALK' have similar meanings.
There is no big difference between them.
They can often be used in the same situation.
I spoke to her about the meeting.
I talked to her about the meeting.
('SPEAK' has a more serious or formal tone.)
English exercise "Tell / Say / Speak / Talk" created by greg100 with The test builder
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