|ESL BLUE(s)||Troubleshooting say /tell|
Here are some of the most common errors using say / tell , preceded by their correct form:
|Correct Form||Common Errors|
He said he could not come to the party.|
He told me he could not come to the party.
|Tell is normally followed by a personal direct object (here = me) and is not often used for direct speech. See next item.
He said, 'I cannot come to the party.'
Say is more often used to introduce direct speech (when the writer wishes to indicate the exact words used, as in novels). |
Tell is not often used to introduce direct speech, but it can be used, for example, to introduce a command or instructions.
It's not true. You're telling lies.|
I like it when Bob tells a story. He's a great storyteller.
|It's not true. You're |
I like it when Bob
We do not use say with certain expressions:
and in these cases it is not necessary to use a personal direct object.
It's snowing. I knew it would and I said so. |
It's snowing. I knew it would and I told you so.
It's snowing. I knew it would and I said it..|
It's snowing. I knew it would and I told you it.
It is better to use so rather than it in these situations. It is certainly more common.