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say / tell ---- said / told Options
NirmalPriyaVishnu
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 1:29:55 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 135
Neurons: 540
Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
When do you use "said" and "told"?
Ans:
The main meaning of the verb tell is to "speak or write something to someone."
The main meaning of say is to "use your voice to express something in words."

Say or Tell?
Ans:
•You say something
•You tell someone something

Difference "Said" Vs "Told"?
Ans:
Told / Tell indicate that a person deliberately communicated with someone else.
"He TOLD me to be quiet" or "He TOLD me about the accident".
Said / Say refers to words coming from someone's mouth. It doesn't matter whether anyone is listening.

Already visited the below threads
http://forum.thefreedictionary.com/postst19032_Difference-between-said-and-told.aspx
http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/radio/specials/1535_questionanswer/page34.shtml

please explain very simple and clear if possible.
rogermue
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 2:54:39 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 1/28/2012
Posts: 5,045
Neurons: 34,900
Location: München, Bavaria, Germany
"to say" is used as an "inquit formula. "inquit" is Latin for he/she says.
- Be quiet, he said.

"to say can be used with a that-clause.
- He said that he would rather stay in.

And never with an indirect object.

With "to tell" you can use structures such as
- He told me to wait.

So the difference is not in the definition. Both verbs are verbs dicendi,.
dicendi is Latin for "of saying".
The two verbs have different structures.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 8:47:27 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,427
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi Raman,

The most obvious (usual) difference is that 'tell/told' is followed by person or group.

"He told us that he was coming."
"He told me he was cold."
"I told you it was gold!"
"The clock tells us the time."
"He has told his mother that he is getting married."


Occasionally it is written differently:

"The clock tells the time (to us)."
"He told the story (to them)
,- but this is not very common.

The object (the person being told) may be omitted like this, but it is always 'understood from the context'.

*********************
"Say/said" is usually followed by the information/data. The words or a paraphrase of some sort, very often a 'that' phrase/clause, though sometimes the 'that' is omitted.

"He said (that) he was coming." - "He said, 'I'm coming'."
"He said (that) he was cold." - "He said, 'I'm cold'."
"I said (that) it was gold." - "I said, 'It's gold!'"
"He has said (that) he's getting married." - "He has said, 'I'm getting married'."


Usually, with 'say/said', the person being told is not mentioned, or has to be added using 'to', as a parenthesis.
"He said that he was cold, to Mary."

***********************
If you want the technical reasons - I think I can get it right.

"Say" is a normal transitive verb.
The object of "say" is the thing said. (the actual 'quotation' or the "that" clause, which acts like a noun). If you want to add a second object, it has to be an addition to the sentence, as an indirect object

"Tell" is a relatively unusual type of verb called a ditransitive verb - which takes two objects.

"Tell <someone> <something>."
"He told us that he was coming."
"He told me he was cold."
"I told you it was gold!"
"The clock tells us the time."
"He has told his mother that he is getting married."

It is similar to 'give'.
"He gave her a present."
NirmalPriyaVishnu
Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014 12:02:08 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/29/2011
Posts: 135
Neurons: 540
Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India
Hi Dragonspeaker,

Thank you for your clear explanation.

TELL / TOLD --- followed by the PERSON OR GROUP.
SAY / SAID -- followed by the information / data.

which gives clear picture.
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