Tell means “to give information to a person” – so tell (present) and told (past) are always followed by a person.
With say (present) or said (past), we can use these structures:
1. say (something)
2. say that (something)
3. say (something) to (a person)
4. “(something)” a person said
1. Francis says she doesn’t like chocolate.
2. I said that I’d be home from work early.
3. What did the teacher say to you when you failed the test?
4. “Nice to meet you,” Harry said.
Structures #1 and #2 are the most common in spoken English.
Don’t make this common mistake!
Use speak (present) and spoke (past) with languages, and with talking in general (no specific details). We can use speak with (someone) and speak to (someone)
In the case of speak with (someone) and speak to (someone), you can also say talk to or talk with.
However, you can’t use “talk” with languages: