See the list below for explanation and examples:
- Say. It never has a person as an object.
Structure: to say something (to somebody).
Example: When I arrived I said ‘Hello’ to all the students.
The boy didn’t say anything after the meeting.
- Tell. It is used to give information or to explain something.
Structure: To tell someone something.
Example: He told me (that) he was really tired.
- Talk. It is used to describe a situation in which two or more people are having a conversation.
Structure: to talk (to someone) about something.
Example: When I meet my friends, we usually talk about our childhood for hours.
Could I talk to Susan about the project, please? I need her help.
- Speak. It is used to describe one-way communication (when a person addresses the audience) and also to describe the ability to communicate in a language.
Structure: to speak (to someone) about something // speak + a language.
Example: The teacher spoke to the students about the issue.
I speak three languages; English, French and Italian.
- Ask. It is used to get information about a topic, and it has different structures depending on the use.
1. To ask (someone) for + object.
Example: I asked my cousin for a jacket.
2. To ask (someone) about a topic.
Example: I asked my father about the French Revolution.
3. To ask (someone) a question.
Example: My father asked me what I wanted for my birthday.
4. To ask (someone) to do something.
Example: My sister asked me to help her with the homework.
Apart from the verbs above, there are also phrasal verbs that are used when describing a communicative situation.
To ask round → To invite someone to one’s house.
Example: They have asked us round for dinner.
To bring up → To introduce a topic into a discussion.
Example: I try to avoid bringing up religious topics in family meetings.
To point out → To indicate or specify.
Example: I wanted to point out the importance of phrasal verbs.
To spell out → To say explicitly.
Example: Before the pregnancy leave, she spelt out everything we had to do.
To talk around → To persuade.
Example: It was hard for me to talk them around, but I finally convinced them to buy the product.
To talk back → To answer rudely.
Example: We mustn’t talk back to our teachers.
To talk out of → To convince someone to stop or change something.
Example: My mum tried to talk me out of going to that party.
To talk over → To discuss something.
Example: We should talk over the trip arrangements before booking the hotel.
To tell off → To attack someone verbally. To scold.
Example: My teacher told me off after breaking the windowpane.