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English Vocabulary - Vocabulario de inglés
SPEAK, TALK, SAY OR TELL?
Key
Speak is used when one person addresses a group, or to refer to a language.
Talk suggests that two or more people are having a conversation.
Sometimes they are used with similar meaning. There are also fixed expressions.
Say is used with words. Structure: say something to somebody.
Tell is used when giving information. Structure: tell somebody something.
Speak se usa cuando una persona se dirige a un grupo, o para referirse a un idioma.
Talk sugiere que dos o más personas tienen una conversación.
A veces ambos se usan con significado similar. También hay expresiones fijas.
Say se usa con palabras. Estructura: say something to somebody.
Tell se usa cuando se da información. Estructura: tell somebody something.
  • speak (spoke, spoken)
    He spoke to the class about the problem.
    Can you speak Chinese?
    I'd like to speak to Mr. Pitt, please.

  • talk (talked, talked)
    They talked for hours about the problem.
    Can I talk to Mr. Pitt, please?

  • say (said, said)
    She said nothing all morning. (spoke no words)
    As she entered, she said 'Hello' to me.
    He said 'Goodbye' and went away.

  • tell (told, told)
    She told me nothing about herself. (gave me no information)
    Can you tell me how to get to the bank?

  • Phrases with 'tell'
    You can tell...
    the truth
    the time
    a lie
    a story

  • Related words and expressions
    speech
    : act of speaking or formal talk given to an audience
    speaker: person who speaks
    talk: conversation or informal speech
    saying: well-known phrase
    be on speaking terms with somebody: be on friendly or polite terms, be willing to talk
    actions speak louder than words: what a person actually does means more than what he says he will do
    the facts speak for themselves: the facts show the truth, without further interpretation or explanation
    speak/talk of the devil: said when somebody one has been talking about appears
    talk one's head off: talk too much
    say when: used to ask somebody to show when one should stop pouring a drink
    not say boo to a goose: be too shy or too gentle
    before you could say Jack Robinson: very quickly or suddenly
    easier said than done: more difficult to do than to talk about. Eg. Getting a job is easier said than done.
    say no more: I understand what you mean

  • Ver también Ways of speaking

 

Practice

Level of this activity: MediumExercise - Say or tell? - Medium
Level of this activity: DifficultExercise - Say or tell? - Difficult

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