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  • Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

  • Say, tell, speak, talk, how can I use them correctly?

  • Well, today we're going to talk about it.

  • What did you say?

  • I didn't tell you that.

  • You're speaking too quietly.

  • Okay, let's talk about it.

  • Can you accurately use say, tell, speak, and talk?

  • Well, today I hope that by the end of this lesson you'll feel more comfortable about

  • how to accurately use them in daily conversation.

  • The first pair that we're going to talk about is say, and tell.

  • Let's start with say.

  • Say is often used for reported speech.

  • This means that you can imagine you are a reporter, you are a journalist, and you're

  • telling someone what happened, what someone else said.

  • Breaking news, Vanessa said to study English every day.

  • Breaking News, Vanessa said to study English every day.

  • Here, you saw reporter Dan reporting to you using reported speech, and he used

  • the word said.

  • Vanessa said to study every day.

  • By the way, that's great advice, study every day.

  • But previously, I have said something, I said study every day, and he's reporting that.

  • So, you might use this in other situations as well.

  • But you might say to your mom, at the end of a long school day, "My teacher said a lot

  • about the Revolutionary War, but I didn't understand any of it."

  • So, you're reporting to your mom what your teacher said.

  • "My teacher said a lot about the Revolutionary War, but I was too tired and I was sleeping."

  • So, you're reporting this speech.

  • But what if you want to add a person?

  • Who is Vanessa talking to?

  • Who is the teacher talking to?

  • Well, you're going to add the word to.

  • Vanessa said to her students, study every day.

  • The teacher said to me to go to the office.

  • The teacher said to someone, Vanessa said to someone.

  • It's not as often used to use this construction.

  • But if you want to use said plus a person, you need to add to.

  • Vanessa said to study every day, or Vanessa said to her students to study every day.

  • The next one is the word tell, or in the past tense, it is told.

  • This is an irregular verb.

  • I tell you, I told you.

  • You see here even in these quick examples that you're talking to someone directly.

  • So, you're going to almost always have a person or maybe an organization, the person you're

  • talking to directly after the word tell.

  • We use tell when we're speaking directly to someone.

  • So, let's take a look at a quick example.

  • Breaking News, Vanessa told her students to study English every day.

  • Breaking news, Vanessa told her students to study English every day.

  • You saw reporter Dan say, "Vanessa told her students to study every day."

  • Who did Vanessa talk to?

  • Her students?

  • So, here we have that person, the one who I'm directing my conversation at, we have

  • it directly after this word tell.

  • Vanessa told her students to study every day.

  • She told them that daily practice is important.

  • Her students told her, "Thanks that really works."

  • Do you see an all of these examples, we have that person directly after tell.

  • Vanessa told her students.

  • She told them.

  • They told her.

  • Beautiful.

  • Now, remember a moment ago we said that you can say, Vanessa said to her students, but

  • it's not used as much.

  • So, I recommend if you want to talk about the person who you are talking to, use the

  • word tell.

  • The teacher told the students to study.

  • Vanessa told me that I'm doing a great job, and you are.

  • Let's go on to the next pair.

  • The next two words are speak and talk.

  • I have some good news.

  • The general feeling of the word speak or in the past tense, it is spoke.

  • This is also an irregular verb.

  • This has the feeling of something formal, maybe distant, and it almost feels like you're

  • above looking down.

  • Maybe you're the boss or you're the parents looking down.

  • When you speak, it needs to be in this formal, maybe even as an authority.

  • Let's take a look at a couple of examples.

  • You might say, "I spoke to my sister about her puppy."

  • Or, "I talked to my sister about her puppy."

  • When you say, "I spoke to my sister about her puppy, it feels like you had an organized

  • meeting, you had a PowerPoint presentation and you were presenting to her.

  • It's very formal, it's distant, you're almost looking down as you're speaking with her.

  • I spoke to my sister.

  • And really, when you're talking about a puppy, that's not the situation.

  • So, you can use talk, because it's much more natural in just daily conversation.

  • I talked to my sister about her puppy, great.

  • You might say, "The manager spoke with the client, or the manager talked with the client."

  • Because there is a manager who is an authority and he's talking with the client who is not

  • the authority, it's perfectly fine to say the manager spoke with the client.

  • But it does have a feeling of formality of some distance.

  • So, if you want to convey that you had a friendly conversation, you're building your relationship,

  • you're more on equal terms, you might want to say, "The manager talked with the client."

  • So, it just depends what you're feeling and what you want to convey.

  • You could say, "We spoke about our vacation, or we talked about our vacation."

  • What happens when you say, "We spoke about our vacation?"

  • You can imagine maybe a big speech and you're speaking about your vacation to all of the

  • college and university graduates and they're listening to you.

  • Maybe they're falling asleep because they're not interested in your vacation.

  • But here, it's something formal, it's distant, you're looking down at them.

  • So, if you want to talk about a familiar situation, talk about a familiar situation, you might

  • say, "We talked about our vacation."

  • If you're just going to a coffee shop and having a conversation with your friend, this

  • is exactly what you're going to use.

  • We talked about our vacation.

  • You just saw me use several expressions; talk to, talk with, talk about, speak to, speak

  • with, speak about, great.

  • We've got a lot of different options and remember, speak is going to be a little more formal

  • or a distant and talk is going to be more relational, more conversational.

  • Before we go on to the final part of this lesson, I want to let you know that there

  • are some important situations that you might want to be careful about with the words speak

  • and talk.

  • The first situation is if you say, "We need to speak, or we need to talk."

  • Both of these sentences feel a little bit scary.

  • If your husband says to you, "Hey, we need to talk.

  • Are you busy right now?

  • If Dan said that to me, I would be a little bit scared.

  • What's wrong?

  • What did I do?

  • Why is he upset?

  • Oh, it's quite scary.

  • So, if you use, we need to talk, or even we need to speak, make sure that you want the

  • other person to feel a little bit uncomfortable because they definitely will.

  • We need to speak.

  • Why do we need to speak?

  • What's the problem?

  • If your boss said that to you, "Excuse me, we need to speak.

  • Please come to my office."

  • Oh, that's really bad news, and you might be fired.

  • So, make sure that if you use, we need to speak or we need to talk, either of these

  • expressions, make sure that they are for a very serious situations, and usually when

  • there's some kind of problem.

  • The second situation that you need to be careful about is when you're talking about languages.

  • We usually use speak to talk about the languages that you know how to speak.

  • I speak English, I speak French, I don't speak Japanese, I don't speak Portuguese, I don't

  • speak Finnish.

  • I speak English.

  • If you want to use talk, you need to say, "We talked in English in the meeting.

  • We talked in Japanese in the meeting, talked in French in the meeting.

  • Make sure that you use that sentence structure, talked in plus the language.

  • You can't say, "We talked English, we talked Spanish."

  • No, that's not going to sound natural at all.

  • And that's the opposite of what you want.

  • Make sure that you say, "I speak English and I speak 10 other languages."

  • Wow, that's amazing.

  • So, make sure that you use this correctly.

  • Now, I have a question for you.

  • In the comments below this video, I want you to answer the question, what's something that

  • your mom used to say when you were younger?

  • What's something that your mom used to say when you were younger?

  • Let me give you two quick examples.

  • You might say, "She always said to clean up my room.

  • She always said to clean up my room."

  • Said to clean up my room, this is reporting what your mom used to say.

  • Or you could say, "She always told me to clean up my room."

  • You're adding the person directly after tell.

  • She always told me to clean up my room.

  • All right, now it's your turn in the comments, answer that question, what's something that

  • your mom used to say when you were younger?

  • I hope that you can use these accurately, and I hope this video helped.

  • Thanks so much and I'll see again next Friday for a new lesson here on my YouTube channel

  • bye.

  • The next step is to download my free eBook, Five Steps to Becoming A Confident English

  • Speaker.

  • You'll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently.

  • Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more free lessons.

  • Thanks so much.

  • Bye.

Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com.

Subtitles and vocabulary

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A2 US vanessa speak talked study told spoke

Say, Tell, Speak, Talk: What's the difference?

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    Samuel posted on 2018/09/23
Video vocabulary