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Till now I used to say "Tell", but after reading this article I am not very sure about "Tell" since there are other possibilities too.

When child says "Mama", should I say "Say", "Speak", or "Tell"?

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  • I don't think your question has to do with the linked article because to say just "tell" sounds as much awkward as to use other verbs, especially to a child. Is the word tell used in your native language?
    – user24743
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 7:13
  • 1
    "Yes, my love?"
    – lurker
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 7:26
  • It depends on the context, and it is not clear which context you mean. If you want your child to tell you something, then you would say "Tell Mama what you want." If you want the child to speak the word "Mama", then you would say "Say 'Mama'!"
    – stangdon
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 16:03
  • Are you a Spanish speaker? Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 9:52
  • 1
    @Araucaria I am a Hindi speaker. Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 10:21

2 Answers 2

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If you want to know what your baby/toddler is thinking, you might say

Tell Mama, sweetie

If you want to know what an adult is thinking, you might say

Please say what you think

If you want to know what an adolescent is thinking, just look at them and say

Speak!

They are all ways of telling the listener you want them to vocalise what they are thinking.

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In English we don't normally use a verb like speak, say or tell in this situation. We normally say:

  • What is it?

or, for example, if the child's name is Maria:

  • Yes, Maria?

or just:

  • Yes?

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