Say or Tell – Tell or Say. Quando e Como Usar?


Olá meus queridos amigos e amigas e futuros amigo(a)s.

Estou aqui para mais uma dica rápida agora sobre o SAY e TELL.

Se você:

say você say alguma coisa.

Se você:

tell você tell alguma coisa para alguém.

Regra simples e direta. Certo? Bem em teoria sim e na prática também :) Como tudo na vida basta só ficar atento aos detalhes e acima de tudo, praticar, praticar e praticar até que seja algo automático e não tenha que parar e pensar.

Say or Tell?

Say and tell have similar meanings. They both mean to communicate verbally with someone. But we often use them differently.

The simple way to think of say and tell is:

  • You say something
  • You tell someone something
You say something You tell someone something
Ram said that he was tired. Ram told Jane that he was tired.
Anthony says you have a new job. Anthony tells me you have a new job.
Tara said: “I love you.” Tara told John that she loved him.

But, of course, it is not always so easy. Here are a few rules to help you.

Personal object
We usually follow tell with a personal object (the person that we are speaking to). We usually use say without a personal object:

  • She told me that she loved John.
  • She said that she loved John.
  • He told everybody that he had to leave.
  • He said that he had to leave.

Say “to someone”
With say, we sometimes use “to someone”:

  • He said to me that he was tired.
  • Tara said to Ram that he had done very well.
  • Anthony said to her, “I hope you come soon.”
  • “I’d like to sleep,” she said to him quietly.

Direct speech
We can use say with direct speech. We use tell only with direct speech that is an instruction or information:

  • Amanda said, “Hello John. How are you?”
  • “That’s great’” she said.
  • He told her: “Open the door quietly.”
  • She told me, “I have never been to England.”

We can use say with direct questions, but we cannot use tell:

  • She said: “Do you love me?”
  • The policeman said to the prisoner, “Where were you at 8pm?”

Reported speech
We can use say and tell to talk about reported information:

  • She said that it was raining.
  • She told me that she would call at 2pm.

We cannot use say or tell to talk about reported questions. We must use ask (or a similar verb):

  • She asked if I had ever been there.
  • They asked what I wanted to eat.
  • She asked where he lived.
  • He asked if she wanted to go home.

Orders, advice
We use tell + object + infinitive for orders or advice:

  • She told him to sit down.
  • They told me not to wait.
  • Tell Neil to have a holiday and forget her.

Phrases
Here are a few fixed phrases with tell. We cannot use say with these phrases:

  • tell (someone) a story
  • tell (someone) a lie
  • tell (someone) the truth
  • tell the future (= to know what the future will bring)
  • tell the time (= know how to read a clock)

Right and wrong
Read these examples of correct and incorrect usage:

We cannot… These are NOT possible… These are possible…
say someone to do something Tara said Jo to go away. Tara told Jo to go away.
say someone something Panita said me that she was hungry. Panita told me that she was hungry.
tell something He told that he likes coffee. He said that he likes coffee.
tell to someone Tookta told to me that she was coming. Tookta told me that she was coming.
Tookta said to me that she was coming.
say a lie Siriluck always says lies. Siriluck always tells lies.
tell somebody “direct speech”
(except instructions and information)
Ram told Nok: “Let’s turn on the TV.” Ram said to Nok: “Let’s turn on the TV.”
(Ram told Nok, “Turn on the TV.”)
(Ram told Nok: “I was born in 1985.”)
say or tell a reported question She said if I wanted to come. She asked if I wanted to come.
Tookta told what I wanted to do. Took asked what I wanted to do.

Isso ai e até a próxima.

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2 comentários sobre “Say or Tell – Tell or Say. Quando e Como Usar?

  1. Victor Galdino março 25, 2010 às 1:55 pm Reply

    I told you that’s to simple to say the diference about them.

  2. Ednaldo março 9, 2011 às 11:06 am Reply

    Say or tell?
    Good tips friend!

    See you

    Ednaldo Corrêa

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