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How To Say "To Tell" In Spanish

Learning a new language opens up a world of possibilities, and Spanish, with its rich history and diverse regional variations, is a popular choice for many language enthusiasts. In this article, we will explore how to say the English verb "to tell" in Spanish. Whether you are planning a trip to a Spanish-speaking country, connecting with Spanish-speaking friends, or simply expanding your linguistic horizons, mastering this essential verb is crucial. Let us delve into its meaning, regional nuances, and usage through practical examples.

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What is "To Tell" in Spanish?

The English verb "to tell" translates to decir (IPA: /deˈθir/) in Spanish. This versatile verb encompasses the act of conveying information, narrating stories, and expressing thoughts or ideas. While "decir" is the primary translation, it is important to note that the nuances of communication can vary across different Spanish-speaking regions.

In Spanish, just as in English, the verb form changes when addressing multiple individuals. When saying "to tell" to a group, remember to use the appropriate plural form of "decir," which is dicen (IPA: /diˈθen/).

Meaning of "To Tell" in Spanish

"Decir" captures the essence of verbal communication, and its usage extends to various contexts, such as:

Sharing Information: Use "decir" to communicate facts, opinions, or instructions.

Example: Ella me dijo la dirección del restaurante. (She told me the restaurant's address.) 

Narrating Stories: Employ "decir" to tell stories, anecdotes, or personal experiences.

Example: Él contó una historia fascinante sobre sus viajes. (He told a fascinating story about his voyages.) 

Quoting Speech: When quoting someone's words, "decir" is the go-to verb.

Example: Ella le dijo: "Estaré allí para las 5 de la tarde". (She told him, "I'll be there by 5 PM.")

Expressing Thoughts: Use "decir" to convey thoughts, feelings, or intentions.

Example: Nos dijeron que estaban emocionados por el próximo evento. (They told us that they were excited about the upcoming event.)

Synonyms of "To Tell" in Spanish

Here are some synonyms of "decir" in Spanish along with their meanings:

  • Manifestar (IPA: /manifesˈtar/): To make something known or evident through words or actions.
  • Expresar (IPA: /ekspreˈsar/): To communicate thoughts, feelings, or ideas through words, gestures, or other means.
  • Comunicar (IPA: /komuniˈkar/): To share information, ideas, or feelings with someone else through various forms of communication.
  • Afirmar (IPA: /afiɾˈmar/): To assert or declare something as true or certain.
  • Aseverar (IPA: /aseveˈrar/): To state or declare something confidently and with strong belief.
  • Mencionar (IPA: /menθiˈonar/): To refer to or talk about something briefly or in passing.
  • Narrar (IPA: /naˈrar/): To tell a story or describe events in a sequential and engaging manner.
  • Relatar (IPA: /reˈlatar/): To provide a detailed account or description of events, experiences, or information.
  • Exponer (IPA: /ekspoˈner/): To present or explain something, often in a systematic or organized manner.
  • Declarar (IPA: /deklaˈrar/): To make a formal statement or proclamation about something.

—The noun, adjective, and adverb forms of to tell in Spanish (teller, telling, tellingness, tellable, told, tellingly) are analyzed in other blog posts. 

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Regional Variations

While "decir" serves as the universal translation for "to tell," it is worth noting that different Spanish-speaking regions might have alternative expressions that convey similar meanings. For instance:

  • Mexico: In Mexico, "platicar" is commonly used to mean "to tell" in a casual, conversational manner.
  • Spain: In Spain, you might hear "contar" being used interchangeably with "decir" when narrating stories or sharing information.

How to Say "To Tell" in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to say "to tell" in Spanish:

  • Ella me contó la emocionante noticia sobre su compromiso.
  • (She told me the exciting news about their engagement.)

  • Quiero decirte un secreto.

(I want to tell you a secret.) 

  • Nos dijeron que los encontráramos en la plaza central.

(They told us to meet them at the central plaza.)

  • Le contó a su abuela un cuento para dormir.

(He told his grandmother a bedtime story.) 

  • ¿Le dijiste a María sobre la fiesta?

(Did you tell Maria about the party?

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Mastering the translation of the English verb "to tell" into Spanish opens the doors to effective communication across various contexts. While "decir" is the primary translation, it is essential to recognize regional nuances and alternative expressions that might arise in different Spanish-speaking regions. Whether you are in Mexico, Spain, or any other Spanish-speaking country, the ability to convey information, stories, and thoughts using this versatile verb is a valuable skill. So go ahead, practice using "decir" in sentences, and embrace the beauty of linguistic exchange.

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