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    #1

    Verb "tell" and pronouns

    I am wondering if the verb "tell" needs a pronoun in these kinds of sentences. Is a pronoun always required after "tell" or can it be omitted?

    1. John asked me where I was yesterday, and I told I was at home .
    2. The journalists asked the President if he was going to resign, and he told he was going to stay and fight.
    3. The doctor asked Anna how she felt, and he told she was fine.

    Or maybe I should use "say" instead?
    Would it be correct to write:
    John asked me where I was yesterday, and I said I was at home.

  1. engee30's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Verb "tell" and pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I am wondering if the verb "tell" needs a pronoun in these kinds of sentences. Is a pronoun always required after "tell" or can it be omitted?

    1. John asked me where I was yesterday, and I told I was at home .
    2. The journalists asked the President if he was going to resign, and he told he was going to stay and fight.
    3. The doctor asked Anna how she felt, and he told she was fine.

    Or maybe I should use "say" instead?
    Would it be correct to write:
    John asked me where I was yesterday, and I said I was at home.
    With the verb tell you do need an object following the verb.

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    #3

    Re: Verb "tell" and pronouns

    "Tell" is a transitive verb which needs an object/person, whereas "say" is not.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #4

    Re: Verb "tell" and pronouns

    ***** NOT A TEACHER *****


    Hello, Bassim:

    I have noticed that students are often confused by these two words.

    Here are four sentences from a grammar book. * You can use them as a model.

    1. Tom told me (that) he didn't like Brian.
    2. Tom said (that) he didn't like Brian.

    3. Tom told us about his trip to Mexico.
    4. Tom talked / spoke about his trip to Mexico.

    * Source: Raymond Murphy with Roann Altman, Grammar in use / Reference and Practice for Intermediate students of English (1989), Cambridge University Press.


    P.S. I think that it would all right if I gave just one of the book's practice sentences: "George couldn't help me. He [George] ___ to ask Jack." Would you use "said" or "told"?

  2. Matthew Wai's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Verb "tell" and pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    1. Tom told me (that) he didn't like Brian.
    2. Tom said (that) he didn't like Brian.
    I think 'said to me' is also possible, but I am not a teacher.

  3. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: Verb "tell" and pronouns

    1. John asked me where I was yesterday, and I told I was at home. I told him I was at home. I said [that] I was at home.
    2. The journalists asked the President if he was going to resign, and he told he was going to stay and fight. He said he was going to stay and fight. He told them he was going to stay and fight. He replied that he was going to stay and fight.
    3. The doctor asked Anna how she felt, and he told she was fine. She told him she was fine. She said [that] she was fine.



    Quote Originally Posted by Matthew Wai View Post
    I think 'said to me' is also possible, but I am not a teacher.
    It's not as natural if you include what was said. You would use that to show what you said to one person versus what you said to someone else.

    None of these would sound very good with "and I said to him that I was home" or "He said to them that he would..."


    On the other hand:
    I can't believe what you just said to me!
    What I heard you say to Peter is not what you said to me.
    No, I did not say you could go to the concert. What I said to you was that if your grades were good enough, you could go.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  4. Skrej's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Verb "tell" and pronouns

    Quote Originally Posted by Bassim View Post
    I am wondering if the verb "tell" needs a pronoun in these kinds of sentences. Is a pronoun always required after "tell" or can it be omitted?

    1. John asked me where I was yesterday, and I told him I was at home .
    2. The journalists asked the President if he was going to resign, and he told them he was going to stay and fight.
    3. The doctor asked Anna how she felt, and she told him she was fine.

    Or maybe I should use "say" instead?


    As others have said, 'tell' requires an object. You could modify your sentences by adding the appropriate object pronouns to reference back to the original subject, as indicated.

    Note you'll have to correct the subject pronoun reference for #3 to refer to Anna, not the doctor.

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