1. Say is used with direct and indirect speech
2. Say is most often used without a personal object.
3. If we want to put a personal object after say, we use to.
She said you can’t go.
“Don’t cry,” she said to me.
Anything he says is not true.
I don’t know why she went away, because she didn’t say.
1. Speak is often used for one-way communication and for exchanges in more serious or formal situations.
2. Speak is the usual word to refer to knowledge and use of languages.
Hello, may I speak to Jim Smith?
Sorry, I don’t want to speak.
Excuse me, can you speak Chinese?
Robert spoke at the teachers' annual convention.
1. There is not very much difference between speak and talk.
2. Talk is the more usual word to refer to conversational exchanges and informal communication.
Bill Gates is talking to him.
English people love to talk about the weather.
Look, they are talking in English.
I like to talk with Helena.
1. used with direct and indirect speech
2. after tell, we usually say who is told, i.e., tell someone something
3. only used to mean ‘instruct’ or ‘inform’
4. Tell is used to tell someone to do something
5. Tell is not used before objects like a word, a name, a sentence, a phrase.
Tell Jack to attend the meeting.
Tell Jack the meeting is canceled.
Mary told a story to her son.
Now, I can tell the differences among the words SAY, SPEAK TALK and TELL.