Hello, I'm Emma from mmmEnglish
Do these verbs sometimes confuse you?
They're so similar that it can be difficult to know which
one is the right one to use.
Don't worry! You're not alone!
I get asked the difference between
tell and say and talk and speak
all the time by my students.
So I've made this video to help you understand.
Let's start with 'say' and 'tell'.
Now, this is the verb form in the present tense but
they're both irregular verbs so in the
past tense the form changes. It becomes
'said' and 'told'. These verbs are slightly
different in their definitions. 'Say' means
to express something with words and 'tell'
means to give information to a person
and that's the most important difference
between these two words. When you use
'tell' you must have a person following
the verb. It could be a name or a pronoun
but there must be a person following.
So, to help you understand I want to use
some examples. So, feel free to practice
out loud with me while I'm saying these
sentences. You'll get some extra speaking
practice too, as well as a grammar lesson
One of the most important differences about
using these verbs is that 'tell' must have
a person following. Now, what about speak
and talk? Just like 'say' and 'tell', 'speak' is
an irregular verb. So, in the past tense the
form is 'spoke'. But 'talk' is a regular verb
so all you need to do to change the verb
to the past tense is add -ed.
The pronunciation of that -ed is just a /t/
sound, added to the end of the verb:
talked, talked, talked. Now, 'speak' and 'talk'
are synonyms and most of the time you can
use either one of these verbs
interchangeably, which means it doesn't
matter, you can choose either. There are a
few slight differences in the way that
they're used. 'Speak' tends to be a bit
more formal. It also refers to more
general topics than 'talk'. Usually when
you use talk you might add it with the
proposition 'about', talk about something
so, it's a little more specific.
'Speak' you can use quite generally for
example: 'Can I speak with you?' Now this is
quite general we're not being specific
about what we want to speak about. But it
also sounds a bit more formal, it sounds
important. 'Can I talk with you?' So, this is
a little more casual a little informal.
It doesn't sound as important. And if we
add 'about' we can add some more detail
Can we talk about your brother? So, let's
talk about prepositions quickly. Which
words can you use with these verbs?
Most importantly, you can only use 'speak' when you're
talking about languages.
Though, you might hear people say 'They talk in
That's the most important thing
to remember about these two verbs
but remember that they're synonyms so
you can usually use either of them. The
difference is very slight (or small).
They are interchangeable. Well, that's it! I hope
that you enjoyed that lesson and if you
did please subscribe to my channel just
here, if you haven't already! And you can
check out more of my English video
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Looking forward to our next lesson. See you next time.