Say - Use say when the words are the important part.
Tell - Use tell when the person being told is the important part.
- I told your teacher you could go on the field trip.
- I said, "Don't do that!"
- I said I was going, but then I told my friend I wasn't. I'll surprise her when I actually show up.
- I said her...
- Said doesn't take an indirect object.
- Possible: I said no to her.
- Better: I told her no.
Practice: Fill in the blanks with say/said or tell/told.
- He ____________ the class about his exciting adventure.
- She asked how he knew the right answer, and he ____________ he had studied a lot.
- He ____________ them he was glad he had gone.
- _____________ that again! I want to write it down.
- What did you ____________? I couldn't hear you.
- She _______________ I would be offered the job, but first she needed to ___________ the human resources office.
- I _____________ you I would be home by 7:00.
Answers: 1) told, 2) said, 3) told, 4) Say, 5) say, 6) said, tell, 7) told