Thursday, January 30, 2014

Say vs. Tell

Say and tell mean exactly the same thing… We just use them differently grammatically. You can say (something) TO (someone), or you can tell (someone something). Besides that, it also depends on what phrase/ expression you are using. Either way the grammar stays the same.

1. All parents love this expression: "Do as I say, don't do as I do."

2. Lionel Richie really knew his grammar, as demonstrated in his song, "Say you, say me." In this case he is not relaying information... he is giving someone an instruction (Imperative), just like your English teacher.

3. Can you tell the time just by looking at the position of the sun in the sky?

4. If you are torn between telling a lie and telling the truth, keep in mind that generally "honesty is the best policy."

5. Whenever we would travel anywhere, and we asked our mom where we were going, she used to say to us, "There and back to see how far it is."

6. Do you recognize the lyrics to any of these songs: "Tell me why… ", "Say what you need to say.", "...and you can tell everybody this is your song… ", "Say my name, say my name."?

7. Can you tell any jokes? The only jokes I can tell are Chuck Norris jokes: Once Graham Alexander Bell had finally invented the telephone… he discovered he had two missed calls from Chuck Norris.

8. It is common to start questions off by saying, "Tell me… ": Tell me – why do onions automatically go on everything when half the people in the world detest them?

9. When you want to relay any information someone asked you to pass on, you would say, "He told me to tell you… ", or "He said to say that… "

10. If you don't want to mention the source of any information, one way to put it would be, "A little bird told me… " How would you say that in your own language?

11. When you scold someone, you are also telling them off (phrasal verb). Have you told anyone off recently? 


  1. Chuck Norris jokes? Is he quick?

    1. Yes… Chuck Norris is super quick. That's the reason superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas to bed.

  2. A little bird told me - we say in Russian when we don't want to mention someone's name. A magpie brought on its tail. This a word to word translation.

    1. A word for word/ direct translation. Thanks! That's interesting!