From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsaysay1 /seɪ/ ●●●S1W1 verb (past tense and past participle said /sed/, third person singular says /sez/)1express something in words [intransitive only in negatives, transitive]SAY to express an idea, feeling, thought etc using words‘I’m so tired, ’ she said.‘Don’t cry, ’ he said softly.Don’t believe anything he says.say (that)A spokesman said that the company had improved its safety standards.I always said I would buy a motorbike when I had enough money.say how/why/who etcDid she say what happened?I would like to say how much we appreciate your hard work.‘Why did she leave?’ ‘I don’t know – she didn’t say.’say something to somebodyWhat did you say to her?‘This is strange, ’ he said to himself.a terrible/silly/strange etc thing to sayWhat a silly thing to say!say hello/goodbye/thank you etc (=say something to greet someone, thank someone etc)She left without saying goodbye.say you’re sorry (=apologize)I’ve said I’m sorry – what more do you want?say yes/no (to something) (=agree or refuse)Can I go, Mum? Oh, please say yes!say nothing/anything/something (about something)He looked as if he was going to say something.I wished I had said nothing about Jordi.have anything/nothing/something to sayDoes anyone else have anything to say?Although he didn’t say so, it was clear that he was in pain.What makes you say that (=why do you think that)?say to do something (=tell someone to do something)Nina said to meet her at 4.30.I’d like to say a few words (=make a short speech).‘So what are your plans now?’ ‘I’d rather not say.’ → see Thesaurus box on 000000RegisterIn written English, people often avoid using say when referring to opinions or ideas expressed by another writer. Instead, they prefer to use a more formal verb such as argue, assert, claim, or maintain. 2give information [transitive]SAY/STATE to give information in the form of written words, numbers, or pictures – used about signs, clocks, letters, messages etcThe sign said ‘Back in 10 minutes.’The clock said twenty past three.say (that)He received a letter saying that the appointment had been cancelled.say to do something (=give information about what you should do)The label says to take one tablet before meals.say who/what/how etcThe card doesn’t even say who sent the flowers.It says here they have live music.3mean [transitive] used to talk about what someone meansWhat do you think the writer is trying to say in this passage?So what you’re saying is, there’s none left.be saying (that)Are you saying I’m fat?I’m not saying it’s a bad idea.All I’m saying is that it might be better to wait a while. Grammar Say is usually used in the progressive in this meaning.4think that something is true [transitive]EXPRESSused to talk about something that people think is truethey say/people say/ it is said (that)They say that she has been all over the world.It is said that he was a spy during the war.somebody is said to be something/do somethingHe’s said to be the richest man in the world.Well, you know what they say – blood’s thicker than water.The rest, as they say, is history.5show/be a sign of something [transitive]a)SHOW/BE A SIGN OFto show clearly that something is true about someone or something’s characterThe kind of car you drive says what kind of person you are.The fact that she never apologized says a lot about (=shows very clearly) what kind of person she is.It said a lot for the manager (=it showed that he is good) that the team remained confident despite losing.These results don’t say much for the quality of teaching (=they show that it is not very good).b)to show what someone is really feeling or thinking, especially without using wordsThe look on her face said ‘I love you.’something says everything/says it allHis expression said it all.6speak the words of something [transitive]PRAY to speak the words that are written in a play, poem, or prayerCan you say that line again, this time with more feeling?I’ll say a prayer for you.
THESAURUSto say somethingsay to tell someone something, using words‘I really ought to go, ’ she said.Lauren said she’d probably be late.state to say something, especially in a definite or formal way – used in official contextsThe witness stated that he had never seen the woman before.Please state your name and address.announce to publicly tell people about somethingThe chairman announced his resignation.The results will be announced tomorrow.We will announce the winners next Sunday. They were announcing the train times over the loudspeaker system.declare to say something very firmly‘My personal life is none of your business, ’ she declared.mention to talk about someone or something, especially without giving many detailsDid Tom mention anything about what happened at school?Your name was mentioned!express to let someone know your feelings by putting them into wordsYoung children often find it difficult to express their emotions.comment to say what your opinion is about someone or somethingThe prime minister was asked to comment on the crisis.note/remark formal to say that you have noticed that something is true – used especially in formal writingWe have already noted that most old people live alone.Someone once remarked that the problem with computers is that they only give you answers.add to say something more, after what has already been saidHe added that he thought it could be done fairly cheaply.point out to mention something that seems particularly important or relevantDr Graham points out that most children show some signs of abnormal behaviour. It’s worth pointing out that few people actually die of this disease.air to talk about your opinions, worries, or the things you disagree about: air your views/grievances/differencesThe programme will give listeners the chance to air their views about immigration.Workers were able to air their grievances.voice to talk publicly about your feelings or about whether you approve or disapprove of something formal: voice concern/support/doubt/fears etcThe president has already voiced his support for the proposal.She voiced concern for the safety of the hostages.different ways of saying somethingwhisper to say something very quietly, using your breath rather than your full voice‘Don’t wake the baby, ’ Jenny whispered.mumble to say something quietly without pronouncing the words clearlyHe mumbled his thanks.mutter to say something quietly, especially when you are annoyed but do not want someone to hear you complaining‘This is ridiculous, ’ he muttered under his breath.She muttered something about having to go home early. murmur to say something in a softslowgentle voiceShe stroked his hair and murmured, ‘Don’t worry. You’ll be all right.’growl to say something in a low angry voice‘As I was saying, ’ Lewis growled, ‘it needs to be finished today.’snarl to say something in a nasty angry way‘Get out of my way!’ he snarled.exclaim to say something suddenly and loudly‘How beautiful!’ she exclaimed.blurt out to suddenly say something without thinking, especially something embarrassing or secretIt was partly nervousness that had made him blurt out the question.stammer/stutter to speak with a lot of pauses and repeated sounds, because you have a speech problem, or because you are nervous or excited‘I’ll, I’ll only be a m-moment, ’ he stammered.
GRAMMAR: Comparisonsay• You say something to someone: The principal said a few words to us.✗Don’t say: say someone something• You use say with speech marks (‘...’) when quoting the exact words that someone used: ‘I’m sorry I’m late, ’ she said.Joe said: ‘I’ll be back soon.’• You use say (that) when reporting what someone said: She said that she was sorry she was late.Joe said he would be back soon. After said, the verb in the other clause is usually also in the past tense.tell• You tell someone something: Diane told me the news.He told us a long story.✗Don’t say: tell something to someone• You tell someone about something that has happened: She told me about the accident.✗Don’t say: He told about the accident.• You use tell someone (that) when reporting what someone said: I told them that I was sorry.The teacher told me I could go home. After told, the verb in the other clause is usually also in the past tense. ✗Don’t say: He told that he was sorry.→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
say• I couldn't think of anything to say.• "I must be going, " she said.• "Is Joyce coming over later?" "She didn't say."• "Where's Pam going?" "I don't know. She didn't say."• Say a student came to you with a problem. You'd try to help them, right?• "I'm in love, " said Dennis.• Lauren came over to say goodbye to us.• Although we must have done about 100 miles, the petrolgauge still said half-full.• It says here that the police are closing in on the killer.• Did they say how long the operation would take?• It says in today's paper that gas prices are going up again.• One look said it all -- Richard knew that Sally wouldn't marry him.• So what you're saying, Mr President, is that you don't have a policy on this issue.• Most modernart doesn't say much to me.• Julie's clothes and her whole attitude just said "New York".• I asked Dad if he'd lend me some money, but he said no.• If there's anything you're not happy about, pleasesay so.• Did Petersay that he would be late?• James wrote to the bank and said we needed a loan.• How do you say your last name?I’d rather not say• "What were you doing at the time of the accident?" "I'd rather not say."say who/what/how etc• It was hard to say what kind of a difference the class had made.• Near-spent batteries are good, but it doesn't say how long they will remain so!• He said how much his parents were looking forward to meeting Liza, especially as they had always wanted a daughter.• In a letter, Benckiser declined to say how much more it would offer for Maybelline.• But since none of us can be completely objective we have a responsibility to say what our biases are.• The vic-tims started to see strangers everywhere, indifferent people who came and went and never said who they were.• You may even wish to say what things of interest may be seen along that route.• Will my right hon. and learned Friendsay how we compared internationally in the 1970s and the 1980s?All I’m saying is• All I'm saying is that it would be better to do this first.somebody is said to be something/do something• A certain number of members must be present before a meeting is said to be quorate and can proceed.• In the meanwhile, he is said to be hurt and shocked by the hostility of the reaction to the strategyproposals.• Lowermarginal rates would also improve work incentives and shrink the black economy, which is said to be booming.• She is said to be bricked up in her room, spinning her hand loom for all eternity.• Suppose a scene is said to be in correctperspective?• The system is said to be the most advanced in the world, and has already led to several arrests.• The totaldamage done is said to be millions and millions.• This is said to be a future three star route.says a lot about• H passes, it says a lot aboutcommunities that have become active behind it.• Their selectionsays a lot about the administration in which they have been asked to serve.• That says a lot about the cursehanging over the country.• This says a lot about the state of computingtoday.• That says a lot about their attitude to the problem.• But I think that says a lot about this team.• Whatever your uniform, it says a lot about your personalstyle.say a prayer for• He planted a deadvinebranch, then said a prayer for an early harvest.How do you say• Nobodyrewrote the guidelines accordingly. How do you say good night?saysay2 ●●○ noun [singular, uncountable]1RIGHT/HAVE THE RIGHT TOthe right to take part in deciding somethinghave some/no/little say in somethingThe workers had no say in how the factory was run.The chairman has the final say (=has the right to make the final decision about something).2 →have your say
Examples from the Corpus
say• The public hospitals are managed by the states, and the federal government has very little directsay in them.• Huckelberry makes a finalrecommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which has the final say.• Probably the best thing about his show was that he let people have their say.has the final say• The skipper is legally responsible for your safety and has the final say over where you go.• The state Board of Education -- Florida's governor and Cabinet -- has the final say.• Under the constitution, the supremeleader, appointed by conservativeclerics, has the final say in matters of state.• When siting the pumps, he explains, the community has the final say.• You can do all the planning you like, but in the end the Old Course has the final say.• They are said to be his own work, although the truth is that he probably has the final say.• Huckelberry makes a final recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, which has the final say.saysay3 interjection American English informalATTENTIONused to express surprise, or to get someone’s attention so that you can tell them somethingSay, haven’t I seen you before somewhere?
Examples from the Corpus
say• Say, Mike, how about a beer after work?• Say, my lights don't work.