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Say, Tell, Speak, Talk Activity

Say, Tell, Speak, Talk Activity

Students listen to the second half of a sentence and decide whether it is best to use say, tell, speak, or talk. A speaking activity using reported speech.

Level:  Intermediate

Grammar:  Reported Speech

Time:  20 minutes


  • Make one copy of the Conversation Cards for each group, and cut as indicated.



Explain the usage of say, tell, speak, and talk. 

Say: Most commonly used

Tell: Used to instruct or inform

Speak: Formal and one-way communication, such as a speech, on the phone, or to talk about a language

Talk: Informal communication


Students get into groups of 4 or 5 people.


Give one set of Conversation Cards to each group, and ask the students to put the cards in a pile face down.


Ask the students to take turns taking a card from the pile, reading out what is written on it, and waiting for a member of the group to say whether it is best to use say, tell, speak, or talk.


The first student in the group to correctly answer can take the card.


Continue until there are not any cards remaining.


The winner in each group is the student with the most cards.


More information on Say, Tell, Speak, Talk.

Printable Worksheets

Conversation Cards


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