Verbs Often Confused

In English there are many verbs that we get confused with.Some of those confusing verbs are :

 -" Been " and  " gone" :

The past participle of go is gone ,but when we want to imply that somebody has not only gone to a place but left it as well , we use been as a past participle.

 -He has gone to New York .( He is there now )

 -He has been to New York .( He was there but is not there now )

 -She had already gone to the party when I called her. (She was at the party when I called)

 - She had already been to the party when I called her. (She had returned from the  party when I called her )

 -" Reach "     and    "  arrive " :

  Reach must have an object : - We reached London in the morning.

  Arrive cannot have an object : - We arrived in the morning  .      " or ":

                                              - We arrived in London in the morning .

 The word" there" can be used with reach and arrive :

 We reached there in the morning .

 We arrived there in the morning .

-" Say   "  and    " Tell "  :

Rather than learn difficult and unreliable rules for the use of these two verbs ,it's better to put the following examples to memory :

 Say :    - He said nothing .

             - He said a few words to me .

             -He said to me ,"Pass me the book ."

Tell :     -He told the truth to the lawyer .

            -He told him the truth .

            -He told me the whole story .

           - He told me to pass the book to him .

  Additional Examples :

  1- He (  said  / told )to me ," We can't leave tomorrow ."

  2-The bus ( arrived / reached  ) my village at 5 in the evening.

  3-He ( arrived / reached ) earlier than I did .

  4-Although I speak English fluently ,I have never ( gone / been ) to England .

  5-I   (said /told ) him to give me the note .


    Thank you for reading !

    - Hala -


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  • A good lesson for Me.

  • Tell :

    to give information to somebody by speaking or writing

    tell someone something: 'I told him about it.'

             -'Please, tell me your name'

     we usually say who is told (personal object) and what they were told

           -'I told him...', 'They told us...', 'We told them"

             -'Our parents told us about it.'

    Say :

     Never has a person as the object. You say something or say something to somebody.

          -Tell me what he said to you.

          -I want to say something on this subject.

           -He said (that) he was ill.

    Both ' SAY ' and ' TELL ' can be used in direct or indirect speech.

    Speak :

     We often use it for one-way communication, and also for more serious or formal situations. 

           -I need to speak to you after class.

    When we want to refer to a person's ability to speak a language.

        -He speaks two languages.

         -Do you speak English?

  • Very enlightening this post for me. I had always difficulty to understand the use of these verbs very alike in translation (say,tell, speak..). But, as to the verb "to speak"? How is it its usage comparising to other two ones?

  • He won the race despite his injury. (preposition )

    He won the race although he had an injury (conjunction)

    • @ Selma :

      Thank you for your participation !

      although /despite are also two confusing words and we always use after although a clause: Subject+verb + rest of the sentence.

      in spite of / despite / although:

      In spite of, despite and although are all used to show a contrast but there are differences in the structures used with them.

      In spite of / despite

      After in spite of
      and despite we use a noun or a pronoun.

      • We enjoyed our camping holiday in spite of the rain.
      • Despite the pain in his leg he completed the marathon.


          After although we use a subject and a verb.

      The holiday was great although the hotel wasn’t very nice.

      Thanks again dear selma!

    • Very nice to be with you dear hala:))
  • Dear Hala,

    Thank You So Much!

    Actually, I have been learning English myself from my school days without attending to private tuition. In fact, the English language is my secondary language, and it is hard to find people using English on regular basis in my village. For this reason, I expect lots of assistance from the EC to improve my English skills to a better extent. I know well that there are good people in the EC! And, they like to help us honestly.

    Good Luck!


  • It seems that there are some words that are used as either nouns or verbs in English. Please little elaborate these words in English to some extent. Your early attention is greatly appreciated!

    1. Water
    2. Plough
    3. Weed
    4. Sow

    For example,

    1. I need to drink some water. (Noun)
    2. I am watering in my garden now. (verb)


    Good Luck!



    • @ Bimal:

      You are right ! Alot of words in English can be used as nouns and verbs .For example :

      -hope - play -act- place - step -trust - control......

      Thank you for sharing those exmples too ! Welcome to our group!

  •  Dear All!

    Please let me know on how to use ‘’ reach ‘’ and ‘’ approach ‘’ under different situations.


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