Difference between Say and Tell | Say vs Tell

Difference between Say and Tell | Say vs Tell: Today’s topic what are the Difference between Say and Tell.

Difference between Say and Tell | Say vs Tell:

The English language can be tricky at times, especially when it comes to choosing the right verb to use in a particular situation. Two words that often cause confusion are “say” and “tell.” Although they may seem interchangeable, there are some key differences between these verbs that you should be aware of to use them correctly. In this article, we will explore the differences between “say” and “tell” and provide examples of how to use them in different contexts.

Definition of “Say” and “Tell”:

The verb “say” is used to refer to the act of uttering words or phrases aloud. It is often used to convey information, express thoughts, or communicate ideas. For example, you might say, “I am happy” or “The sun is shining today.”

The verb “tell,” on the other hand, is used to communicate a message or impart information to someone. It usually requires a direct or indirect object and often involves giving instructions or expressing an opinion. For example, you might tell someone, “Please turn off the lights” or “I think you should apply for that job.”

Difference between “Say” and “Tell”:

Direct vs. Indirect Communication:

One of the primary differences between “say” and “tell” is that “say” is typically used for direct communication, while “tell” is used for indirect communication. When you say something, you are expressing your thoughts or feelings directly to your audience, while telling something involves imparting information to someone else.

Object Requirement:

Another difference between “say” and “tell” is that “tell” usually requires an object or indirect object in the sentence, while “say” does not. For instance, you can say “I am feeling great,” without any object, but you would need to tell someone, “I am feeling great because I just got a promotion” to express the reason behind your happiness.

Narrative vs. Directive:

While both “say” and “tell” can be used to convey information, “say” tends to be more narrative, while “tell” is more directive. For example, you might say, “She said that she was feeling tired” to relay information about someone else’s state, while you would tell someone, “Please bring me a glass of water” to give them a directive.

Examples of Using “Say” and “Tell”:


  • I say we should leave early.
  • She said he wants to go to the market.
  • He says he is a non vegetarian.


  • Please tell now who is she?
  • I told you to meet me at the station.
  • He told me that he complete his homework.

Difference between Say vs Tell in Table:

DefinitionTo utter words aloudTo communicate a message or impart information
Direct/Indirect CommunicationUsed for direct communicationUsed for indirect communication
Object RequirementDoes not require an object or indirect objectUsually requires an object or indirect object
Narrative/DirectiveCan be narrativeIs more directive
Say vs Tell


In conclusion, while “say” and “tell” are both verbs that involve communication, they have different meanings and are used in different contexts. “Say” is used for direct communication, is not object-dependent and can be narrative, while “tell” is used for indirect communication, requires an object or indirect object, and is more directive. By understanding these differences, you can use the right verb to express your ideas, convey your message, and avoid confusion or misinterpretation in your communication.

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