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Say and tell

I want to know what is the difference between say and tell?, How I can use this words?    

For example:

-I'm telling you

-I'm saying you

What is good and what is bad? If you can give me more examples, I will thankful 

Feb 15, 2015 3:21 AM
Comments · 5

Hello! I don't feel like this has been very clearly explained. Hopefully I can help!

I think the main difference is:

- "Tell" is something that one person does to another person (it requires two subjects). "I told you that the concert started at 6." "He told her she was pretty". "My mom told me to go to bed."

- "Say" refers to the actual act of talking and what someone is saying (it doesn't require another person). "I said that the concert started at 6". "He said she was pretty". My mom said: 'go to bed'". 

"Say" is more general, as it doesn't require us to restate who said what to whom. "Tell" can sometimes sound more forceful than "say". If you use "tell" too much, things can sound over-emphasized. Because of this, it has grown to be used to make things sound more concrete. 

"Dad said that I need to do my homework." - Dad nicely asked me to do my homework.
"Dad told me to do my homework." - Dad ordered me to do my homework. 

We often use them together when telling stories with a lot of dialogue, so as to avoid repetition (he said, then I said, then he said...). Usually if the people that are talking are well established, it is not necessary to use "tell" every time. 

Yesterday my mom told me to clean my room, but I said no.

Yesterday, my husband said that we could go to a restaurant for dinner, but I told him that I would rather stay at home. I said that I would cook him whatever he wanted, and he told me..... 

Hope this helps! 

March 16, 2015

When you use "say", you need to include what you say.  Say something. Say, "It's great to see you!" Say that you agree.  We often include the information as a quotation - it's not a fixed rule, but this is generally how we use "say".


When you use "tell", you need to include a person, plus what you tell that person. Tell me something. Tell me that it's great to see me. Tell me you agree. We often include the information as a statement, not a quotation. Again, it's not a fixed rule, but just a guideline.


"I'm saying you" is simply wrong. We use, "I'm saying (something) to you."

February 15, 2015

I don't know what exactly the grammar rule would be, but with your examples you can say "I'm telling you" or " I'm saying to you" (although this may sound awkward), but not "I'm saying you". 


"I'm saying you" is grammatically wrong. 


Note: both words translate to "decir" in Spanish, but they're not interchangeable in English. 

February 15, 2015



great comment and very informed knowledge.

March 18, 2015

In my opinion don't have difference

February 15, 2015
Language Skills
English, Spanish
Learning Language