When we want to report or tell what someone else has said, we have to use the past tense of the
verbs “to tell” and “to say”.
told = past tense of tell
said = past tense of say
When we use the verb “to tell“, we use an object pronoun right after the verb in past tense.
- She told me the good news.
- They told me the meeting was canceled.
- We told them that the party starts at 7:00 PM.
- I told her that I was in love with her.
- She told me that she was in love with me also.
When we use the verb “to say” we use “to” right after the verb.
- She said to me that she wasn’t coming to work.
- They said to her that her boyfriend was seeing another woman.
- He said to me that he lost a lot of money.
- I said to her that she should go out more often.
Always use “to” with the verb “say“.
X She said me she loves me.
✔ She said to me that she loves me.
When we report possible future action we use the word “that” after the verbs “to tell” or “to say” and we have to use “would” or
“would not” to put the idea in the past.
Never use “to” after the verb “tell” in reported speech.
X She told to me to come home.
✔ She told me to come home.
- She told me that she would go to the movies.
- He told her that he would be late.
- They said to me that they would be at the beach.
- She said to me that she would go to the concert.
- She told me that she wouldn’t go to the party.
- He told her that he wouldn’t be late.
- They said to me that they wouldn’t play golf this weekend.
We use the verb “to tell” for the following only.
The Verb To Tell
- The truth
- Please, don’t tell me lies.
- Please, tell me the truth.
- She can really tell the best jokes.
- Can you please tell me the time?
- My dad used to tell me the best stories when I was a kid.