SAY AND TELL

Meaning:

Say and tell both have the same meaning and are also both used with direct and indirect speech. With the direct speech – say is more common than tell.
Please see examples below:
“Turn left”, I said. Or - Turn left, I told him.
He said that it was my last dance. Or – He told me that it was my last dance.

Note:

We only use tell to instruct or inform. So we do not use tell with greetings, exclamations or questions.
Please see examples below:
He said, “Good day”. But not – He told them “Good day”.
John said, “What a nice surprise.” But not – John told us “What a nice surprise.”

Often, say is used without personal objects.

For example: He said that she would be absent. Not – She said to me that she would be absent.
We use “to” if we want to put a personal object after say.
For example: And I say to all the mankind in this world…

We usually say who is told after tell.

For example: He told me that he would be absent. Not – He told that he would be absent.
In a few expressions, tell is used without a personal object. Some common examples are: tell a story/joke; tell the truth; tell a lie
For example: I don’t think she is telling a lie. Not – Saying a lie…
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