We were going to get an e-mail regarding a trip from our school. The next day, our school told us that they've emailed us the list. But I didn't receive any email, so I asked my friend and she said that she'll check, thus I said:

Then tell me after checking.

Then inform me after checking.

What sounds more natural "tell me" or "inform me"?

Thank you :)

P.S. My question is a bit different because that thread is based on the use of "tell" and "inform" in various contexts, but my question is specifically about what sounds better with "checking"..

  • Possible duplicate of Differences between "inform, tell, notify, and instruct"
    – user109564
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 18:27
  • 1
    "What sounds better?" What sounds better to me, might sound utterly annoying to you. You could instead ask something related to ". . . common usage?" which might be more appropriate. To me this sounds better: "Okay, let me know [then/what you find]"
    – AIQ
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 19:34
  • @AIQ I know that your sentence sounds.mlre.natural, but all I'm asking is which one out of the two sounds better... Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 19:45
  • 1
    @It'saboutEnglish The way you have worded your question will be construed as a "proofreading question". You are not identifying a specific problem with the two sentences. Questions like "which is better or what is a better way to say" tends to get closed. If you rephrase your question (identifying a specific problem and which between the two you think is more idiomatic), you will get reasonable number of answers, I think. I am trying to help you.
    – AIQ
    Commented Oct 1, 2019 at 20:31
  • Have you heard of information theory: sender, channel, message, recipient? inform and tell are two different registers as given in your sentences.
    – Lambie
    Commented Oct 2, 2019 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


Inform is the more formal choice of the two, and is therefore unlikely to be used among friends / schoolmates, as your context specifies.

People generally talk about informing the authority / authorities of some kind, someone who "should know" in order to make a decision or know how to proceed: you inform the police, the teacher, the boss, the client.

There's also the oft-repeated We regret / are sorry to inform you..., which you'll often read or hear (well, hopefully not too often), so that's where you'll encounter that verb as well.


The term 'tell me' is more direct and could be perceived as an order by some people. 'Inform me' is more formal and polite, which is used in email and with respected people.

  • That may be true in Indian English but it isn't in British English. Tell me is considered to be perfectly polite and is more commonly used.
    – Chenmunka
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 6:57

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