The next word in our vocabulary boost series is TELL. TELL is a high frequency verb that can be used as a synonym of say, recount, repeat, know or make someone do something. There are numerous collocations and phrasal verbs that are formed using TELL.
As recommended in our START method (HERE), you should always learn vocabulary as a short phrase and relate new words to synonyms and use them. Click (HERE) and (HERE) for advice on how to learn more vocabulary and HERE for an example of a great strategy to learn new words.
Tell someone or say to someone – in English the biggest difference between say and tell is the use of the preposition to. Study these examples:
My teacher told me the secret.
My teacher said the secret to me.
Tell someone to do something – obligation
To tell someone to do something is to give an order or a firm instruction, it is to make somebody do something. Study this example:
My boss told me to finish the report by 5pm.
To learn new collocations and word patterns you should create phrases using them and also do exercises (HERE)
As far as I can tell
Tell a story
Tell a tale
Tell a secret
Tell a joke
Tell a lie
Tell an anecdote
Tell the truth
Tell the future
Tell the time
Tell someone your name
Tell the difference between different things
Tell someone the way
Tell your side of the story
Retell an event
Tell it how it is = tell the reality of a situation
Have a tell
The learning of phrasal verbs is best done using this method (HERE)
Tell (people or things) apart – know the difference
I can´t tell my twin brothers apart
Tell on someone – grass
My sister pulled my hair so I told on her
Tell off – shout at
My teacher always tells me off when I don´t do my homework
Tell from – differentiate
I can´t tell one brand of cheese from another
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To learn how to use TELL you need to practice and put these words and collocations into your own words to be able to remember them.