How to use the words “say, tell, speak and talk”.

Here’s how to use the words “say, tell, speak and talk”

Say – Examples:  [1] “He said that he was hungry.”  [2]“What did he say about the exam?” [3]“What did she say to you?”

Tell – Examples:  [1]“He told me that he was hungry” – not “He told to me….” (“Tell” means “say to, so “tell to” would mean  “say to to”)   [2]“He told me to close the window.”  (Here “to” is part of an infinitive and expresses a command.)   [3]“She told me about her dog.”

Speak – Examples:  [1] “Do you speak English?”  (Meaning:  “Are you able to speak English?”) [2] “She spoke about her trip.”  (Correct, but “talked” is more common) [3] “They spoke in Korean.”  (Meaning: “They used Korean to communicate”)  [4] “He spoke to me.”

They used Korean to communicate.”) Don’t say “They talked Korean.”


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