konuşmak, anlatmak, söylemek, demek

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I had some difficulties learning the difference between these words:

  • konuşmak - to speak, to talk
  • anlatmak - to tell
  • söylemek - to say, to tell
  • demek - to say, to tell

So, I asked in the Discussion and searched the Internet, and this is what I found.

Konuşmak should be easy for native English speakers, because the words "speak/talk" and "say/tell" are normally not interchangeable in English. They are also not interchangeable in Turkish, so you can't use the other three words instead of "konuşmak."

Anlatmak means to narrate, to tell a story.

Söylemek and demek both mean to say a single word or a single phrase or sentence. Although, there are two cases in which these two words are not interchangeable:

1) Denoting direct and indirect speech. You will find an explanation here: demek vs. söylemek

2) Set phrases and idioms:

  • "yeter demek" - "to say that's enough"
  • "yalan söylemek" - "to lie"
  • "yemek söylemek" - "to order food"
  • "aşkını söylemek" - "to declare one's love"
  • "şarkı söylemek" - "to sing"

and so on. You can't substitute "söylemek" for "demek" or vice versa in these phrases.

If you know more set phrases and idioms in which "söylemek" and "demek" cannot be used interchangeably, share them with us in the comments.

2 years ago

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Here are a few idioms including "konuşmak" and "söylemek" from me :)

  • Tatlı yiyelim, tatlı konuşalım. (Let's eat dessert, let's talk/speak sweet.)

  • Abuk subuk konuşmak (To talk/speak nonsensical)

  • Bilmece gibi konuşmak (To talk/speak in riddles / to riddle)

  • Bülbül gibi konuşmak (To talk/speak fluently) (bülbül=nightingale)

  • Dost acı söyler. (To be cruel to be kind.) (You translate this into English as "The friend says painful." with a simple logic but never do it)

  • Arkasından konuşmak (To backbite / to talk/speak behind someone's back)

  • Söyleye söyleye dilinde tüy bitmek (To be tired of repeating by saying more than once)

  • Ayıptır söylemesi. (It is shame to tell/say.)

  • Az konuş, öz konuş. (Tongue still makes a wise head.)

  • Başka türlü söylemek (To rephrase)

2 years ago
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Nice collection! Thanks! The usage of "konuşmak" and "söylemek" in these idioms seems to be consistent with what I've written.

2 years ago

Thank for clear explanation

2 years ago
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