Word forms: says (sez
, said (sed
When you say something, you speak words. [V with quote] ⇒ 'I'm sorry,' he said. [V that] ⇒ She said they were very impressed. [be V-ed to-inf] ⇒ Forty-one people are said to have been seriously hurt. [V n + to] ⇒ I packed and said goodbye to Charlie. [V n] ⇒ I hope you didn't say anything about Gretchen. [V n] ⇒ You didn't say much when you telephoned. [V wh] ⇒ Did he say where he was going? [V so] ⇒ It doesn't sound exactly orthodox, if I may say so. [Also V to-inf]
2. verb You use say in expressions such as I would just like to say to introduce what you are actually saying, or to indicate that you are expressing an opinion or admitting a fact. If you state that you can't say something or you wouldn't say something, you are indicating in a polite or indirect way that it is not the case. [V that] ⇒ I would just like to say that this is the most hypocritical thing I have ever heard in my life. [V that] ⇒ I have to say I didn't even know Fox Lane Police Station existed till about four or five years ago. [V that] ⇒ I must say that rather shocked me, too. [V that] ⇒ Dead? Well, I can't say I'm sorry. 3. verb You can mention the contents of a piece of writing by mentioning what it says or what someone says in it. [V that] ⇒ The report says there is widespread and routine torture of political prisoners in the country. [V that] ⇒ Auntie Winnie wrote back saying Mam wasn't well enough to write. [V with quote] ⇒ You can't have one without the other, as the song says. [V with quote] ⇒ 'Highly inflammable,' it says on the spare canister. [V so] ⇒ Jung believed that God speaks to us in dreams. The Bible says so too. 4. verb If you say something to yourself, you think it. [V + to] ⇒ Perhaps I'm still dreaming, I said to myself. [V to pron-refl with quote] ⇒ 'Keep your temper,' he said to himself. 5. singular noun [oft more/some N]
If you have a say in something, you have the right to give your opinion and influence decisions relating to it. ⇒ You can get married at sixteen, and yet you haven't got a say in the running of the country. [+ in] ⇒ The students wanted more say in the government of the university.
6. verb You indicate the information given by something such as a clock, dial, or map by mentioning what it says. [V n] ⇒ The clock said four minutes past eleven. [V that] ⇒ The map says there's six of them. 7. verb If something says something about a person, situation, or thing, it gives important information about them. [V amount + about] ⇒ I think that says a lot about how well Seles is playing. [V n + about] ⇒ The appearance of the place and the building says something about the importance of the project. 8. verb If something says a lot for a person or thing, it shows that this person or thing is very good or has a lot of good qualities. [V amount + for] ⇒ It says a lot for him that he has raised his game to the level required. [V n + for] ⇒ It says much for Brookner's skill that the book is sad, but never depressing. 9. verb
You use say in expressions such as I'll say that for them and you can say this for them after or before you mention a good quality that someone has, usually when you think they do not have many good qualities. [V n + for] ⇒ He's usually smartly-dressed, I'll say that for him. [V n] ⇒ At the very least, he is devastatingly sure of himself, you can say that.
10. verb You can use say when you want to discuss something that might possibly happen or be true. [V that] ⇒ Say you could change anything about the world we live in, what would it be? 11. phrase
You can use say or let's say when you mention something as an example. ⇒ To see the problem here more clearly, let's look at a different biological system, say, an acorn. ⇒ Someone with, say, between 300 and 500 acres could be losing thousands of pounds a year.
12. exclamation Say is used to attract someone's attention or to express surprise, pleasure, or admiration. [US, informal] ⇒ Say, Leo, how would you like to have dinner one night, just you and me?
COBUILD Advanced English Dictionary. Copyright © Harper Collins Publishers