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  1. #1

    Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Hello my friends:
    My students (XI graders: Spanish speakers) still have faulty constructions with "say and tell", as in Spanish "decir y contar" are similar.
    For example: One student when writing a story expressed "I said to my friend: "He is a nice boy, and I like him"."- She should have said "I told my friend."
    I continue hammering on the difference; it is -tell- when you address somebody with something. It is when you "tell" somebody anything; and "say" is just "mentioning", "expressing" anything without addressing to any particular subject.
    Can you illustrate the way to address this matter in an undestandable way?
    Thanks so much in advance,
    Edgarius

  2. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #2

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Hello

    say <to utter words>
    EX: I said (these words) to him, "He's a nice boy."

    tell <to give information>
    EX: I told him (this information), "He's a nice boy."

    Hope that helps.

  3. #3

    Smile Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Casiopea:
    Thanks so much for your hints:
    This means "say" is just expression, utterance of something, as "tell" is passing of information, reference of anything said.
    Like this example: I was talking to a student:
    I said to him: "Bring you assigment to get a good grade."
    I told him that he needs to bring his assignment, so to get a good grade.
    Thanks again.
    Regards
    Edgarius

  4. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #4

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    You're most welcome, Edgarius (cool name!).

  5. Casiopea's Avatar

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    #5

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Helpful Corrections

    It means "say" is just an expression, an utterance, whereas "tell" is passing on information as well as referencing what has been said.

    Like these examples:

    I said to him, "Bring your assigment if you want to get a good grade."

    I told him that he needs to bring his assignment to get a good grade.


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    #6

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Edgarius, et al.,

    I think Casiopea gave the clearest explanation for Spanish speakers. I will attempt to give an even clearer one:

    say + something (to someone)
    Ex: He said (that) he liked it.
    tell + someone something
    Ex.: He told me (that) he liked it.

    In other words, any time Spanish speakers wants to say "me dijo, le dije, les dicen, nos dijeron...(que...)" etc., they have to say "tell".

  6. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Edgarius View Post
    Hello my friends:
    My students (XI graders: Spanish speakers) still have faulty constructions with "say and tell", as in Spanish "decir y contar" are similar.
    For example: One student when writing a story expressed "I said to my friend: "He is a nice boy, and I like him"."- She should have said "I told my friend."

    Since it's a quote, "I said" seems fine to me. What I hate is: "I'm like....":

    -Justin showed up in a warm-up suit, and I'm like, "Oh my god, dawg, this is the prom...."


    I continue hammering on the difference; it is -tell- when you address somebody with something. It is when you "tell" somebody anything; and "say" is just "mentioning", "expressing" anything without addressing to any particular subject.

    Can you illustrate the way to address this matter in an undestandable way?

    -I said I'd work late, so don't wait up.

    -My boss told me to work late, so don't wait up.

    -What I said is that I didn't vote for him.
    -I told you I didn't vote for him.

    -I say it's spinach, and I say, the hell with it.
    -I'm telling you it's spinach, and I'm telling you, the hell with it.

    I think the big difference is that tell/telling/told is often followed by a pronoun or noun:

    -I told him...
    -She was telling me...
    -He told the team
    ....

    Say/said/says/saying isn't followed by a pronoun or noun - unless whatever is said starts with one:

    -She said I should be more careful.

    Thanks so much in advance,
    Edgarius
    You're welcome. Hope it helps.

    [I edit copy and have tutored college writing.]

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    #8

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    Yeah!

    Basically as you stated when you use "Tell" it needs an object
    ie; me ,him ,her, the police etc... who youre telling!!!

    With say we tend to just report the actual words.

    Also we use "tell" when reporting imperatives and orders.
    ie; He told me to close the window.

    If they really want to use "say" maybe they could practice the construction;
    She said that she loved me.
    (She told me she loved me)

    But you're right Spanish speakers often over-use say when they should naturally use tell. As you say in Spanish they are pretty much interchangeable.

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    #9

    Re: Say and tell: Troublesome Irregular Verbs.

    you can also look here

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