say

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UK:*UK and possibly other pronunciationsUK and possibly other pronunciations/ˈseɪ/US:USA pronunciation: IPA and respellingUSA pronuncation: IPA/seɪ/ ,USA pronunciation: respelling(sā)


Inflections of 'say' (v): (⇒ conjugate)
says
v 3rd person singular
saying
v pres pverb, present participle: -ing verb used descriptively or to form progressive verb--for example, "a singing bird," "It is singing."
said
v pastverb, past simple: Past tense--for example, "He saw the man." "She laughed."
said
v past pverb, past participle: Verb form used descriptively or to form verbs--for example, "the locked door," "The door has been locked."
WordReference Collins English Usage © 2020
say
‘say’
When you say something, you use your voice to produce words. The past tense and -ed participle of say is said /sed/.
You use say when you are quoting directly the words that someone has spoken.
‘I feel so happy,’ she said.
‘The problem,’ he said, ‘is that Mr Sanchez is very upset.’
In writing, you can use many other verbs instead of say when you are quoting someone's words.
Reporting
In spoken English, you usually use say.
He said to me, ‘What shall we do?’
Be careful
In speech, you mention the person and say before quoting their words. Don't say, for example, ‘`What shall we do?’ he said to me' in spoken English.
You can use it after said to refer to the words spoken by someone.
You could have said it a bit more politely.
I just said it for something to say.
If you are referring in a general way to what someone has expressed, rather than their actual words, use so, not ‘it’. For example, say ‘I disagree with him and I said so’. Don't say ‘I disagree with him and I said it’.
If you wanted more to eat, why didn't you say so earlier?
I know she liked it because she said so.
You can report what someone has said without quoting them directly using say and a that-clause.
She said she hadn't slept very well.
They said that smoking wasn't permitted anywhere in the building.
Be careful
Don't use ‘say’ with an indirect object. For example, don't say ‘She said me that Mr Rai had left.’ Say ‘She said that Mr Rai had left’ or ‘She told me that Mr Rai had left.’
‘tell’
If you are mentioning the hearer as well as the speaker, you usually use tell, rather than ‘say’. The past tense and -ed participle of tell is told. For example, instead of saying ‘I said to him that his mother had arrived’, say ‘I told him that his mother had arrived’.
‘I have no intention of resigning,’ he told the press.
She told me to sit down.
➜ See tell
You say that someone tells a story, lie, or joke.
You're telling lies now.
Dad told jokes and stories.
Be careful
Don't say that someone ‘says’ a story, lie, or joke. Don't say, for example ‘You’re saying lies now'.
‘ask’
Don't say that someone ‘says’ a question. Say that they ask a question.
Luka asked me a lot of questions about my job.
I asked what time it was.
➜ See ask
‘give’
Don't say that someone ‘says’ an order or instruction. Say that they give an order or instruction.
Who gave the order for the men to shoot?
She had given clear instructions about what to do while she was away.
‘call’
If you want to say that someone describes someone else in a particular way, you can use say followed by a that-clause. For example, you can say ‘He said that I was a liar’. You can also say that someone calls someone something. For example, you can say ‘He called me a liar’.
She called me lazy and selfish.
➜ See call
‘talk about’
Don't use say to mention what someone is discussing. Don't say, for example, ‘He said about his business’. Say ‘He talked about his business’.
Lucy talked about her childhood and her family.
'say' also found in these entries:
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