Verb To Say

The meaning of the verb to Say / seɪ / is:

  • To use your voice to convey something with words.
  • To express an opinion, feeling or idea.

Note that the verb to SAY, is usually followed by the word THAT. For example:

  • He said that he would not be going to work today.
  • She said that she was feeling cold.

For more about verbs which are followed by a THAT clause, see: British Council Learn English.


Verb to Say (used with object) – said / sed / saying / s’eɪŋ /
  1. To utter or pronounce; speak: e.g. What did you say? I said “Hello!”
  2. To express in words; to state; to declare: e.g. Say it clearly and simply.
  3. To state as an opinion or judgment: e.g. I say that she is prettier than you.
  4. To be certain, precise, or assured about; determine: e.g. I say that’s right!
  5. To recite or repeat: e.g. Say a little prayer for me.
  6. To report or allege; maintain: e.g. People will say we’re in love.
  7. To express a message or viewpoint: e.g. A writer has something to say.
Verb to Say (used without object) – said / sed / saying / s’eɪŋ /
  1. To speak; declare; express an opinion.
  1. Approximately; about: e.g. It’s, say, 3 metres long.
  1. What a person says or has to say.
  2. The right or opportunity to speak, decide, or exercise influence.
  3. A turn to say something: e.g. I’m going to have my say.

Say what? (Used to express surprise, get attention, etc.)
Adapted from Dictionary Reference



Simple I say I said I will say
Continuous I am saying I was saying I will be saying
Perfect I have said I had said I will have said
Perfect Continuous I have been saying I had been saying I will have been saying
Conditional I would say I would have said
Conditional Continuous I would be saying I would have been saying




Simple I don’t say I didn’t say I won’t say
Continuous I’m not saying I wasn’t saying I won’t be saying
Perfect I haven’t said I hadn’t said I won’t have said
Perfect Continuous I haven’t been saying I hadn’t been saying I won’t have been saying
Conditional I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t have said
Conditional Continuous I wouldn’t be saying I wouldn’t have been saying


Related Content:

There are many ‘Sayings’ (s’eɪŋs) that use the verb To Say – The Free Dictionary.
A Saying is a short, commonly known expression, which usually offers advice or wisdom and is frequently identified with a well-known personality.

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