How to Say the Word “Say” in Spanish

Welcome to this comprehensive guide on how to say the word “say” in Spanish! Learning how to express this common action word is essential when building your Spanish vocabulary. In this guide, we will explore the formal and informal ways to say “say” in Spanish, while also offering regional variations, tips, and examples to help you master this important linguistic skill. So, without further ado, let’s dive into the world of Spanish expressions with the word “say”!

Formal Ways to Say “Say” in Spanish

When speaking formally or addressing someone with respect, Spanish language offers a variety of options to express the word “say”. Here are some common formal alternatives:

1. Decir

The most common and versatile word for “say” in Spanish is “decir”. It is used in a wide range of contexts and is particularly suitable for formal conversations, written communication, or situations where utmost politeness is required. Here’s an example:

La profesora dijo que la clase comenzará mañana. (The teacher said that the class will start tomorrow.)

2. Manifestar

Another formal option is “manifestar”, which is often used in professional or official settings. It implies a more formal or structured way of expressing opinions or ideas:

El portavoz manifestó su apoyo al proyecto de ley. (The spokesperson expressed his support for the bill.)

Informal Ways to Say “Say” in Spanish

When conversing with friends, family, or in casual situations, the Spanish language offers a range of informal expressions for “say”. Let’s explore some popular choices:

1. Decir

Similar to its usage in formal contexts, “decir” is commonly employed for informal conversations as well. It’s versatile and applicable in various scenarios, from everyday chitchat to friendly discussions:

Le dije a Juan que nos vemos más tarde. (I told Juan that we’ll see each other later.)

2. Contar

A less formal option, “contar” is used when indicating that someone shared something with you. It’s often employed when narrating stories, sharing experiences, or simply conveying information:

Mi hermano me contó un chiste muy divertido. (My brother told me a very funny joke.)

Regional Variations

While the formal and informal ways to say “say” in Spanish are generally consistent across regions, there can be some local variations. Here are a few examples:

1. Chilean Spanish

In Chile, it is common to use the word “hablar” with a reflexive pronoun to convey the meaning of “say”. For instance:

Me habló mi mamá que vendrá a visitarnos. (My mom told me she will come to visit us.)

2. Mexican Spanish

In Mexican Spanish, “decir” is still the most used term for “say”, both formally and informally. However, an informal slang variation often heard in Mexico is “poner”, which literally means “to put”. It’s utilized to add emphasis while expressing something that has been said:

¡Pues mi amigo puso que ya no quiere ir de vacaciones! (Well, my friend said he doesn’t want to go on vacation anymore!)

Tips for Using “Say” in Spanish

To effectively incorporate the word “say” in your Spanish conversations, consider these helpful tips:

1. Pay Attention to Verb Conjugation

Just like any verb in Spanish, “decir” and its alternatives change their endings to match the subject. Make sure to learn and practice the appropriate conjugation forms to express yourself clearly and accurately.

2. Listen and Pay Attention to Native Speakers

Listening to native Spanish speakers is an excellent way to improve your language skills. Observe how they use different expressions for “say” and try to incorporate them into your own speech.

3. Practice Contextual Usage

Understanding the context in which each word for “say” is used is crucial. Pay attention to the situations in which certain expressions are employed and practice using them appropriately.


Congratulations! You’ve now learned various ways to say the word “say” in Spanish, both formally and informally. Remember to use “decir” as the go-to option, and feel free to add more variety to your vocabulary by incorporating “manifestar” or “contar” as needed. Additionally, be aware of regional variations such as “hablar” in Chilean Spanish or the slang usage of “poner” in Mexico. Keep practicing and exposing yourself to Spanish conversations to enhance your language skills. ¡Buena suerte!

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