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The verb “говорить”

I had believed that Говорить corresponds to “speak/hablar” and сказать to “tell/decir” but after looking at Russian verb books and playing around w Google Translate (admittedly an imperfect source) I conclude that the situation is a bit more complicated. Since сказать has perfective aspect, я скажу translates as “I will tell”. Google translates “I will tell you what to do” as Я скажу тебе что делать but “I am telling you what to do” is translated as Я говорю тебе что делать. Do you agree with these translations?
Google translates “I told you what to do ” as я сказал тебе, что делать. Would я говорил тебе, что делать also have been correct?
Also, Google translates “I will tell you about that” as Я расскажу тебе об этом which suggests to me that when you are telling someone a simple fact, or to do something, use сказать but use рассказать when telling somebody about something. Am I right?
Any help you could give me on this matter would be very much appreciated

1 answer
Answered by on

Hi George,

The first verb pair is говорить-сказать. They can both mean "say" and "tell", depending on the context. The verb говорить can also mean "speak" or "talk".

Я много говорю. I speak a lot.

Я говорил ему не делать этого. I told him not to do it.

Что ты сказал? What did you say?

We have some other verbs: рассказывать-рассказать, which means "to tell a story", "to tell something which is long", and разговаривать, which means "to speak" or "to talk".

Расскажи мне, что случилось. Tell me, what happened.

Ты много разговариваешь по телефону? Do you speak on the phone a lot?


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