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SPEAK, TALK, SAY OR TELL?

Uses Say used with direct and indirect speech Examples She said that it was my last chance. He said Good morning. She said that she would be late. (not She said me...). And I say to all the people of this great country...

Say is most often used without a


personal object. If we want to put a personal object after say, we use to.

Tell

used with direct and indirect speech after tell, we usually say who is told, i.e., tellsomeone something only used to mean instruct or inform

She told me that she would be late. She told me that it was my last chance. (not He told them, Good morning.) Toms mother told him to clean his room. Alice said a naughty word... (not Alice told a naughty word...) Ill tell you tomorrow. (not Ill tell you it tomorrow.) I dont want to tell you again to get your homework done. When she walked into the room everybody stopped talking.

Tell is used to tellsomeone to


do something

Tell is not used before objects like a word, a name, a sentence, a phrase.
We do not usually use it after tell to refer to a fact. Tell someone again (repeat) Talk There is not very much difference between speakand talk.

Talk is the more usual word to refer to

conversational exchanges and informal communication. Speak Is often used for one-way communication and for exchanges in more serious or formal situations. Ill have to speak to that boy -- hes getting very lazy. After she had finished reading the letter, nobodyspoke. She speaks three languages fluently.

Speak is the usual word to refer to


knowledge and use of languages.

speak (spoke, spoken) He spoke to the class about the problem. Can you speak Chinese? I'd like to speak to Mr. Pitt, please. talk (talked, talked) They talked for hours about the problem. Can I talk to Mr. Pitt, please? say (said, said) She said nothing all morning. (spoke no words) As she entered, she said 'Hello' to me. He said 'Goodbye' and went away. tell (told, told) She told me nothing about herself. (gave me no information) Can you tell me how to get to the bank? Phrases with 'tell' You can tell... the truth the time a lie a story Related words and expressions speech: act of speaking or formal talk given to an audience speaker: person who speaks talk: conversationor informal speech saying: well-known phrase be on speaking terms with somebody: be on friendly or polite terms, be willing to talk actions speak louder than words: what a person actually does means more than what he says he will do the facts speak for themselves: the facts show the truth, without further interpretation or explanation speak/talk of the devil: said when somebody one has been talking about appears talk one's head off: talk too much say when: used to ask somebody to show when one should stop pouring a drink not say boo to a goose: be too shy or too gentle before you could say Jack Robinson : very quickly or suddenly easier said than done: more difficult to do than to talk about. Eg. Getting a job is easier said than done. say no more: I understand what you mean