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English Language Institute

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speak english
7 Oct
ENG45  0







What is the difference between telling, say, speak, and talk? Do you know how to use them correctly in English sentences? Usually, English students have a problem differentiating them. So, here we explain them in a way for you to remember them more clearly.

Tell: to give information to someone by speaking or writing I told her about the news.

I told the news to her.

He told him not to be late.

She told the message to her mother.

As you see tell can be with someone + something or something + someone.


Say: has NEVER a person as an object, you say something or you say something to somebody

Please tell me what your mother said to you.

I knew she wanted to say something.

Both say and tell can be used in direct or indirect speeches.


Speak: It is used for one-way communication and formal and serious ones.

The teacher spoke to the student after class.

Our manager today spoke to the secretary about the new salaries.

I speak with her don’t worry.

They spoke to her about the accident.

Speak is also used when we want to talk about someone’s ability to speak another language.

She speaks two languages.

I can’t speak Chinese.


Talk: it is used when two or people are exchanging ideas and it is used for general topics.

We talked about our plan for one hour.

Let’s talk about the matter on another day.

They are talking about their wedding day.

My mother is talking on the phone.


From these four words speak and talk have similar meanings and there is no big difference between them. Their similarities are so close that they can be used in the same situations.

I spoke to her about our problem.

I talked to her about our problem.

I am speaking to her don’t interrupt us.

I am talking to her don’t interrupt us.


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