English version

tell

From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishtelltell /tel/ ●●● verb (past tense and past participle told) /təʊld $ toʊld/ S1 W1 🔊 🔊 1 communicate something [transitive]TELL if someone tells you something, they communicate information, a story, their feelings etc to youtell somebody (that) 🔊 I wish someone had told me the meeting was canceled. 🔊 The Chief of Police told reporters that two people were killed in the blast.tell somebody what/how/where/who etc 🔊 Jack had to go, but he didn’t tell me why. 🔊 I think you’d better tell me exactly what’s been going on around here.tell somebody about something 🔊 No one had told them about the drug’s side effects. 🔊 I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.tell somebody something 🔊 Tell me your phone number again.tell (somebody) a story/joke/secret/lie 🔊 She told us some funny stories about her sister. 🔊 Sheppard was telling the truth.tell somebody straight (=tell someone the truth, even though it might upset them) 🔊 Tell me straight, Adam. Just answer yes or no.see thesaurus at explain, reveal see Thesaurus box on 000000RegisterIn written English, people often prefer to say that another writer describes something, rather than using tell:His book describes how the human brain has developed.2 show something [transitive] to give information in ways other than talkingtell somebody how/what/where/who etc 🔊 The light tells you when the machine is ready. 🔊 The bear’s sense of smell tells it where prey is hiding.tell somebody about something 🔊 What do these fossils tell us about climate change?3 what somebody should do [transitive]TELL to say that someone must do somethingtell somebody (not) to do something 🔊 The teacher told the children to sit down quietly. 🔊 I thought I told you not to touch anything!tell somebody (that) 🔊 Bernice was told she had to work late this evening.tell somebody what/how etc 🔊 Stop trying to tell me what to do all the time. 🔊 Do as you are told (=obey me) and don’t ask questions.see thesaurus at advise, order, recommend4 know [intransitive, transitive not in progressive]SHOW/BE A SIGN OF to know something or be able to recognize something because of certain signs that show thiscan/can’t tell 🔊 She might have been lying. Benjy couldn’t tell.tell (that) 🔊 The moment Kramer walked in, I could tell that things were not going well.tell (something) a mile off (=know easily) 🔊 You could tell a mile off that he was lying.tell when/how/whether/if etc 🔊 It’s hard to tell how long the job will take.tell something by something/from something 🔊 I could tell from his tone of voice that Ken was disappointed.5 recognize difference [transitive not in progressive]RECOGNIZE to be able to see how one person or thing is different from anothertell something from something 🔊 How can you tell a fake Vuitton handbag from the real thing? 🔊 Can you tell the difference between sparkling wine and champagne? tell6 tell yourself something7 warn [transitive usually in past tense]WARN to warn someone that something bad might happentell somebody (that) 🔊 I told you it was a waste of time talking to him.tell somebody (not) to do something 🔊 My mother told me not to trust Robert.8 tell somebody about bad behaviour [intransitive] informalTELL/ORDER somebody TO DO something to tell someone in authority about something wrong that someone you know has done – used especially by children syn tell on somebody 🔊 If you hit me, I’ll tell. kiss-and-tell9 tell tales10 all told11 affect [intransitive not in progressive]EFFECT/INFLUENCE to have an effect on someone, especially a harmful onetell on somebody 🔊 These late nights are really beginning to tell on him.12 tell the timeSPOKEN PHRASES13 I/I’ll tell you what14 to tell (you) the truth15 I can tell you/I’m telling you16 tell me17 I told you so18 I’ll tell you something/one thing/another thing19 you can tell him/her etc from me20 I couldn’t tell you21 I can’t tell you22 don’t tell me23 somebody tells me (that)24 you’re telling me25 tell me about it26 you never can tell/you can never tell27 there’s no telling what/how etc28 that would be telling29 tell somebody where to go/where to get off30 tell it like it is31 I’m not telling (you)32 tell me another (one)GRAMMAR: Patterns with tellIn meaning 1, tell is transitive and must be followed by an object.You tell someone something: He told her the news.You tell something to someone: He told the news to his mother. Don’t say: He told to his mother the news. You tell someone about something: He told me about his feelings. Don’t say: He told about his feelings.You tell someone to do something: He told me to sit down.You use tell someone (that) when reporting what someone said: He told them that he was sorry.She told me I could go. Don’t say: He told that he was sorry.COLLOCATIONSnounstell a story/taleHe then told the story of how he was injured while riding his motorcycle.tell a jokeThey sat around telling terrible jokes.tell somebody a secretI offered to tell her my secret if she didn’t tell anyone else.tell a lieThey told lies about us.tell the truth‘I’m telling you the truth, ’ she persisted.THESAURUStell to give someone information by speaking or writing to themShe wrote to tell me she was getting married.Can you tell us where the nearest garage is?let somebody know especially spoken to tell someone something when you know more about itLet me know your new address as soon as you can.Let us know what happens at the interview.pass a message on to somebody (also pass it on informal) to tell another person the information that has been told to youShe’s with a client at the moment, but I’ll pass the message on to her.If I get any news, I’ll pass it on.brief to give someone all the necessary information about a situation, so that they can do their workPolice officers were briefed before going out to arrest the suspects.relate formal to tell someone about something that happened to you or to someone elseOne girl related a story about a friend who had accidentally become pregnant.recount formal to tell someone about a series of eventsThe guide recounted the history of the castle, from the 1300s onwards.bring something to somebody’s attention to tell someone about something that they did not know about, but which they need to know aboutI wanted to bring the matter to your attention.She was the first person to study the effects of pesticides, and to bring them to people’s attention.fill somebody in informal to tell someone about things that have happened recently, especially at workCan you fill Robert in on the progress we’ve made while he’s been on holiday?to officially tell someoneinform to officially tell someone about somethingDo you think we ought to inform the police?Doctors should inform patients about the possible side effects of any drugs they prescribe.announce to tell people publicly and officially about somethingThe university chancellor announced his resignation on Friday.It was announced that the company had made a profit of $6 billion.report to officially tell someone about something that has happenedShe was able to report that the project was nearly finished.notify formal to tell someone officially about something that has happened or that is planned to happenStaff were notified several months in advance that they would be losing their jobs. tell against somebody tell somebody/something apart tell of somebody/something tell somebody ↔ off tell on somebody→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpus
tellDo as you're told and go and wash your hands.Remember you promised me you would never tell anybody.Don't tell anyone about this just yet.Have you told anyone about this?Maybe, he's told, he's much more than a celebrity.I told him about my dream for a course there.I told him to go and see a doctor if he was worried.His years in the army certainly tell in his attitude to his work."What colour was the car?" "I couldn't tell in the dark."Women are told it's prostitution or a beating, or death.He told me about his time in the delta.Don't tell me how to behave in public!Can you tell me how to log on to the Internet?Can you tell me the quickest way to the centre of town?I'm in charge here, and I'm not going to have anyone telling me what to do.He didn't tell me where he got this information.I told Mrs Viney to leave our supper ready."Wait here!" he told the children.I find it really difficult to tell the difference between Frank and his brother.At the moment, we can only tell the twins apart by looking at their name tags.A sign told us it was the highest village in England.Can you tell us where the nearest garage is?"Can you tell what this is with your eyes shut?" "It tastes of strawberry, but I'm not sure."Come here Eva - let me tell you a secret.I'm telling you this in the strictest confidence, so not a word to anyone.I thought I told you to be in bed by 10 o'clock!telling the truthFor once, I think he's telling the truth.We doubt Cox-Golder is telling the truth.We weren't absolutely certain he was telling the truth.A second registrar examined Christopher, but decided it was possible Celia and Danny were telling the truth.Again the eyes looked at her sharply, and they saw she was telling the truth.At the time I thought he was exaggerating, but I was to discover that he was telling the truth.But this time, it turns out he was telling the truth.Had he been telling the truth?It helped immeasurably that, at that point, he believed he was telling the truth.They'd start telling the truth next.tell somebody (not) to do somethingI was told people wanted to adopt me.The admissions person told me to apply early and send the stuff directly to her.His eyes had been awash with sensual longing and he had told her not to bother getting dressed.The real estate man who handled the move-in was summoned by the ward organization and told what to do.Eee-Eee told the squirrel to get out of my spacesuit.A new advice centre opened in Edinburgh today, where energy advisers will tell you how to save money.The sample is automatically looped to repeat continuously until you tell it to stop.I climb the four flights and tell him to take his time at the door.tell something by something/from somethingBut the families say they have still not been told anything by the health authority.He laughed, then frowned, because he knew he would have to tell her by then.One of the ways to tell is by the mark.The belief is to some degree affected by being told so by their authoritative pastors.The famous story of Cupid and Psyche is told only by Apuleius, who writes very much like Ovid.This tells you by how much the Government is overspending.You can tell just by looking at her.You could tell just by looking at defensive end Kevin Greene.tell the difference betweenThe legendary outfitter teaches hunters how to tell the difference between a smart shot and a bad idea.Sometimes it is impossible to tell the difference between a solid model and a 3D drawing.The symptoms are similar so hospital tests may be needed to tell the difference between bacterial and viral meningitis.I can't tell the difference between being hungry and wanting food.He could tell the difference between reality and fantasy Language, under-standing, and logic were well developed.We are sophisticated people, and we can tell the difference between reality and myth.If a man could tell the difference between the two parties he would make a sucker out of Solomon for wisdom.tell somebody (not) to do somethingI was told people wanted to adopt me.The admissions person told me to apply early and send the stuff directly to her.His eyes had been awash with sensual longing and he had told her not to bother getting dressed.The real estate man who handled the move-in was summoned by the ward organization and told what to do.Eee-Eee told the squirrel to get out of my spacesuit.A new advice centre opened in Edinburgh today, where energy advisers will tell you how to save money.The sample is automatically looped to repeat continuously until you tell it to stop.I climb the four flights and tell him to take his time at the door.
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Verb table
tell
Simple Form
Present
I, you, we, theytell
he, she, ittells
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Past
I, you, he, she, it, we, theytold
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave told
he, she, ithas told
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad told
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill tell
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have told
> View Less
Continuous Form
Present
Iam telling
he, she, itis telling
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you, we, theyare telling
Past
I, he, she, itwas telling
you, we, theywere telling
Present perfect
I, you, we, theyhave been telling
he, she, ithas been telling
Past perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theyhad been telling
Future
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill be telling
Future perfect
I, you, he, she, it, we, theywill have been telling
> View Less