گرامر پیشرفته: Say or tell

گرامر پیشرفته: Say or tell

گرامر پیشرفته: Say or tell

گرامر پیشرفته: Say or tell

Say or tell?

Say and tell are irregular verbs. The past simple of say is said, the past simple of tell is told:

They asked if I was looking for work and I said yes.

Then he told me how he had got the job by lying about his age.

We use say and tell in different ways in reported speech. Say focuses on the words someone said and tell focuses more on the content or message of what someone said:

‘Hello,’ she said.

Not: ‘Hello,’ she told.

She told him they were going on holiday. (The focus is on the information.)

We use say with direct speech. We don’t normally use tell in this way:

He said, ‘I’m not paying £50 for that.’

Say and tell with objects

Both say and tell take a direct object. The object is most commonly the reported clause (the report of what someone said).

reporting clause

reported clause (direct object)

She said

‘I don’t know what you mean.’

told her

why it had happened.

Tell normally takes an indirect object (one or more people = io) and a direct object (the reported clause = do):

The boy told [IO]us [DO]he didn’t want any money.

However, we use tell without an indirect object with words such as the truth, a lie, a joke, a story:

You should never tell a lie.

Not: … say a lie.

Come on Kevin. You’re good at telling jokes.

Say does not take an indirect object. Instead, we use a phrase with to:

And then she said to me, ‘I’m your cousin. We’ve never met before.’

Not: And then she said me …

Tell + indirect object + to-infinitive

We use tell with an indirect object and a to-infinitive to report a command or an instruction. We don’t normally use say in this way:

They told us to come back the next day.

Not: They said us to come …

They told her to wait till the doctor arrived.

Spoken English:

But in informal speaking, we sometimes use say + to-infinitive to report a command or an instruction:

I asked him if he wanted it today but he said to leave it till tomorrow.

Typical errors

  • We don’t use an indirect object with say:

‘I’m in a hurry,’ he said to me.

Not: … he said me.

  • We don’t use tell without an indirect object when we report someone’s words:

Then a loud voice said, ‘Hello.’

Not: … a loud voice told, ‘Hello.’

She said she would wait for us outside.

Not: She told she would wait


مطالب مرتبط:

گرامر پیشرفته: Specially Or Especially

گرامر پیشرفته: ?Altogether or all together?، Begin or start

Leave A Reply