Say or Tell, Speak or Talk

Can you tell the difference?

Image result for speech bubble question mark clipart

Four easily-confused verbs. In fact, I think it’s really two pairs of confusing verbs, as say and tell are both commonly used for reporting speech, where as speak and talk are used more generally to refer to the act of verbal communication and not for reporting speech. Though they can have similar meanings and uses, the grammatical forms we use with them differ, particularly with ‘say’ and ‘tell’.

In today’s blog I’m offering several downloads designed to explore in detail the different meanings, uses, forms and expressions. These are aimed at Intermediate to Advanced level.

There’s a Summary with a detailed explanation, examples and exercises for each verb, a Chart which compares the verbs, and then there are some activities to practice using them together in their correct forms: A version of the fun game Consequences where students can create silly dialogues without knowing what the other person is saying and Dominoes where students have to find a good match to create sentences using the four different verbs.


If you try out any of the resources I’ve posted here on my blog I’d love to hear your feedback. You can post comments on the relevant blog page or send a message.

Previous Blog Posts

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3 thoughts on “Say or Tell, Speak or Talk

  1. This is all very captivating, Clare! It’s a pleasure to work with your materials. Love from me and my students !

    1. Thanks Eva, so glad that you and your students are enjoying them!

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