Say or Tell?

Say Versus Tell

Welcome ot common mistakes! Today we're going to be tlaking about the difference between "Say and Tell" -
one of the most common mistakes
that I hear - especially among Russian students. SO let's get started.

I'm going to make this easy - After the word Tell -
1. Don't use a preposition.
2. Give me a person or thing after "tell" - a direct object.
If you do both of these things, I will be very happy.

Let's look at an example or two.
First, here is the mistake.

"I told to my friends that I love hamburgers."

Which rule did we break! We can't use a preposition (TO) after tell.
"I told MY FRIENDS that I love hamburgers.

Let's try another one.
"I told that I love hamburgers to my friends."

Which rule did we break!? We need a person or thing after "tell"
"I told my friends that I love hamburgers.

quickly I want to mention that there are exceptions to this - for example, to "tell a story."


Great, got it? I hope so.

Let's talk about the word Say. "Say" is a bit more versatile. Generally speaking, we can include
1. The information
2. We can use a preposition (TO) before the direct object of the verb.

So let's look at our hamburger example with the word "Say" instead of tell.

If it is correct, it will look like this.
1. I said to my friends that I love hamburgers.
2. I said that I love hamburgers to my friends.

The meaning here is about the same. Though I'd like to mention that I wouldn't say "I said to my friends" - I'd use "tell" instead because it is shorter without the preposition.

So let's summarize. After tell you need to remember two things - 1 - don't use a preposition. 2. give me a direct object immediately after "tell"
What about say? After say
1. We can use a preposition before the direct object.
2. We can add the information after "say" instead of the direct object of the verb.
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