Unitat 43

Communication verbs and phrasal verbs

There are some verbs, which describe communicative actions that are sometimes misunderstood, or create some kind of confusion.

Contingut exercicis

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.  


Exercici 1

Respon a les següents preguntes per avaluar el que has après.

Exercici 2

Respon a les següents preguntes per avaluar el que has après.

Exercici 3

Respon a les següents preguntes per avaluar el que has après.