Common Mistakes Spanish Speakers Make When Learning English
“Tell me” or “Say Me”?
Say and tell have similar meanings, but English students often make mistakes when using them.
- Wrong: “Say me something interesting!”
- Correct: “Tell me something interesting!”
- Wrong: “She say me to fix the car”
- Correct: “She told me to fix the car”
The simple way to think of say and tell is:
- You say something
- You tell someone something
|You say something||You tell someone something|
|Jordi said that he was tired.||Jordi told Jane that he was tired.|
|James says you have a new job.||James tells me you have a new job.|
|Isabella said: “I love you.”||Isabella told John that she loved him.|
We usually follow tell with a personal object (the person that we are speaking to). We usually use say without a personal object:
- She told me that she loved John.
- She said that she loved John.
- He told everybody that he had to leave.
- He said that he had to leave.
Say “to someone”
With say, we sometimes use “to someone”:
- He said to me that he was tired.
- Tara said to Ram that he had done very well.
- Anthony said to her, “I hope you come soon.”
- “I’d like to sleep,” she said to him quietly.