Confusing Verb Pairs II

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Differences between Say and Tell

Use 'say' to speak in general about something that has been said by someone. 'Say' is often used to report what someone else has said.

John said he had a good time in Las Vegas.
The teacher often says we need to study more.

Important Note: 'Say' refers to any type of speech and is, therefore, more general in nature.

Verb Forms: Say - Said - Said - Saying

Use 'tell' to mean that someone has instructed or informed someone else of something. 'Tell' is often used to report what someone else has told a specific person.

Angela told them to hurry up.
Our friends told us about their experiences in Germany.

Important Note: 'Tell' is always followed by an indirect object. The infinitive form is often used following the construction to indicate instructions (see example above).

Verb Forms: Tell - Told - Told - Telling

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Differences between Speak and Talk

There is little difference between 'speak' and 'talk' and they are often used interchangeably.

'Speak' is often used when someone is speaking to a group of people in general. 'Speak' is also used with languages.

Peter speaks both German and Italian.
She spoke about her problems at work.

Important Note: 'Speak' tends to be used in more formal situations.

Verb Forms: Speak - Spoke - Spoken - Speaking

'Talk' is used to express informal conversation between a limited number of people.

My wife and I talked about our child's future.
She continued talking to Jack after I left the room.

Important Note:'Talk' is often used with the preposition 'about' when introducing the subject of conversation, and 'to' when introducing the conversational partner.

Verb Forms: Talk - Talked - Talked - Talking

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Differences between Raise and Rise

Use 'raise' to indicate that something is lifted into another position by another person or thing.

I raised the books above my head.
She raised her hand in class.

Important Note:'Raise' is also used to express bringing up children, as well as increasing salary. Remember that 'raise' takes a direct object (the object being raised by someone or something).

They raised my weekly salary by $200.
They raised their children to respect the elderly.

Verb Forms: Raise - Raised - Raised - Raising

Use 'rise' to express movement of the subject from a lower to a higher position.

I rose from my chair and left the room.
She hasn't risen from that seat for more than three hours.

Important Note: 'Rise' can also indicate the act of getting up in the morning.

I like to rise early and get work done.

Verb Forms: Rise - Rose - Risen - Rising

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Differences between Remind and Remember

Use 'remind' to indicate that someone has reminded someone else to do something. Use the phrasal verb 'remind of' to indicate that someone or something else reminds you of someone or something else.

Jane reminded me to get him something for his birthday.
She reminded me of my sister.

Important Note: 'Remind' always takes an object.

Verb Forms: Remind - Reminded - Reminded - Reminding

'Remember' is used when a person remembers to do something on his or her own. 'Remember' is also used to express recollections of a past event.

I remembered to post the letters.
I remember studying all night long for exams.

Important Note:'Remember + Infinitive (to do)' refers to someone who remembers to do something. 'Remember + Gerund (ing form)' refers to a memory of a past event.

Verb Forms: Remember - Remembered - Remembered - Remembering

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Differences between Leave and Let

Use 'leave' to express movement away from a place.

I left the house at five o'clock.
She always leaves for work at seven in the morning.

Important Note: 'Leave' can also express the idea that someone has forgotten or placed something in another place.

She left her keys on the table.
I usually leave the papers in the top drawer.

Verb Forms: Leave - Left - Left - Leaving

Use 'let' to express the idea that someone allows another person do something.

I let them leave work early.
She lets her children watch TV on Saturdays.

Important Note: Remember that 'let' is always followed by an object and a verb in the base form without 'to'.

Verb Forms: Let - Let - Let - Letting

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Differences between Set and Sit

Use 'set' to express the placement of an object on a surface.

I set the plates down on the table.
She set the books on ​the chest of drawers.

Important Note: 'Set' is often used to refer to placing plates, glasses and other utensils on the table.

Verb Forms: Set - Set - Set - Setting

Use 'sit' when referring to the subject which moves from a standing to a sitting position.

Can I sit down?
Please sit on this chair.

Important Note:'Sit' is often used with the preposition 'down'.

Verb Forms: Sit - Sat - Sat - Sitting

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Your Citation
Beare, Kenneth. "Confusing Verb Pairs II." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, Beare, Kenneth. (2020, August 27). Confusing Verb Pairs II. Retrieved from Beare, Kenneth. "Confusing Verb Pairs II." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 9, 2023).