Just say it! Differences between say, tell, speak and talk

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  • General

Verbs - say, tell, speak, talk

difference between say tell speak and talk


This lesson plan deals with the difference between say, tell, speak and talk. Students get various exercises that will help them to understand and practise different uses of these verbs. They will also see real-life examples which include these verbs and have been taken from movies.

B1 / Intermediate
B2 / Upper Intermediate
45 minStandard LessonPrintable & Digital$6 Plan


First, students get a task on vocabulary that collocates with the verbs say, tell, speak and talk. They need to cross out one word or phrase that doesn’t collocate with the verb in each box. They also have to say what verb this word or phrase collocates with. Next, students need to choose 5 phrases from the previous exercise and write questions with them. Finally, working in pairs, they ask and answer the questions they wrote.


Next, students focus on the differences between speak and talk. They have to mark whether sentences with these verbs are rather formal or informal. After that, they have to complete the rules by choosing the correct verb. Then, they study a table which shows how say and tell are used, and complete sentences with the correct forms of these two verbs.


Finally, students get two tasks which show some common expressions in context. In the first exercise, they need to complete the dialogues with correct forms of the verbs: speak, talk, say or tell. In the last task of this worksheet, students need to write their own dialogues with the phrases from the previous task. If you want to show them more examples of how these are used, you can play excerpts from various movies which include these phrases (you can find the links to them in the Teacher’s Worksheet or below). What’s more, we also added some photos of various situations which can inspire students when writing dialogues.
By the way, if you’re curious where we got that video compilation with various phrases we teach in this lesson, the answer is simple: Playphrase.me. Watch out, though, it’s a super simple but also super addictive website 😄 I bet you guys going to find a thousand ideas how to use this website in your classes. Enjoy!



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  1. Well, I downloaded them from playphrase.me and then just compiled them using VSDC Free Video Editor (it came pre-installed with Windows 10). No fancy video editors – just the simplest free tool out there. It was basically drag & drop job 🙂

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