Verb SAY (past simple and past participle said)
is used to:
• to indicate who speaks the words quoted between inverted
commas in direct speech.
‘There’s going to be a parents’ meeting
next Moday’, the principal said.
REMEMBER: SAY is followed by the preposition TO
when the person to whom the thing is said is expressed.
‘You are right’, he said to me.
• introduce reported speech, when the person to whom the thing is
said is not expressed. Between a main clause containing the verb
say and the secondary clause, we can use the conjuction that.
The weather forecast says (that) it will be
Mr Brown said (that) he had moved to his
new office the week before.
The verb say is used in the following expressions:
say a word, say yes, say no, say thank you, say please,
say hello / goodbye, say something.
Say thank you to everybody before
Don’t say a word. Someone may be listening.
Verb TELL (past simple and past participle told) is used to:
• introduce reported speech when the person to whom the thing
is said is expressed. In this case, the person is a direct object,
therefore it is not preceded by a preposition (He told me..., I told
A main clause containing the verb tell can be followed by:
-A secondary clause introduced by the conjuction that, which is
often just implied.
They told me (that) they were looking for a new instructor
at the gym near my house.
- A verb in the infinitive (to... / not to...)
She told me to wait for a while.
I told everybody not to come late.
When both the person to whom the thing is said and a direct object
are present, the double object structure is used:
person + object
I am going to tell him the truth.
The verb tell is used in the following exressions:
tell a lie / lies, tell the truth, tell a story, tell the time, tell someone’s
fortune, tell the difference, tell someone about something.
Don’t tell me a lie. I can tell the difference between
a liar and someone who is telling the truth.
Tell me about your trip.