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Confusing Verb Pairs II

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Differences between Say and Tell

Use 'say' to to speak in general about something that has been said by someone. 'Say' is often used to report what someone else has said.

John said he had a good time in Las Vegas.
The teacher often says we need to study more.

Important Note: 'Say' refers to any type of speech and is therefore more general in nature.

Verb Forms: Say - Said - Said - Saying

Use 'tell' to mean that someone has instructed or informed someone else of something. 'Tell' is often used to report what someone else has told a specific person.

Angela told them to hurry up.
Our friends told us about their experiences in Germany.

Important Note: 'Tell' is always followed by an indirect object. The infinitive form is often used following the construction to indicate instructions (see example above).

Verb Forms: Tell - Told - Told - Telling

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