Say Something

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Say or Tell. Which one do you use? The title has a clue.

Say and tell can be confusing for an English learner. In my English conversations with Italian students, I hear this everyday: He said me; I said her; She said him; I said you. It’s incorrect. You always say something (to someone) or you tell someone something: He told me; I told her; She told him; I told you.

Claudio told Paolo about a karaoke bar.

He said that he loves karaoke.

Paolo said, “I’m a terrible singer, but I sing better after a couple of beers.”

Claudio told Paolo to meet him at 10 o’clock.

He said that the cover charge is free if you arrive by 10 o'clock.

Paolo told Claudio that he will drive in his father's new, luxurious, shiny, deluxe Ferrari convertible sports car.

Paolo said, “He is working out of town and, besides, it will impress the ladies. ”

“O.K,” Claudio said, “let’s go!”

So if you think you want to use “She said him to meet her at the karaoke bar”, you really want to use this:

  • She told him to meet her at the karaoke bar (she told someone something). OR
  • She said to him, “Meet me at the karaoke bar.” (direct quote: she said something to someone). OR
  • She said that she’ll meet him at the karaoke bar (reported speech: she said something). OR
  • She told him that she’ll meet him at the karaoke bar (reported speech: she told him something)

Say Something (To Someone) OR Tell Someone Something.

What can you say about that?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a very nice blog. I look forward to more.

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