Is there any difference between the usage of those two expressions in a conversation?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    Welcome to ELU. Could you edit your question to include the research you have already done with looking in dictionaries, please? Otherwise, this risks closure as General Reference. – Andrew Leach Nov 10 '14 at 13:21

Talk refers to the act of interpersonal communication through speaking. So if you say:

  • Talk to me!

This would imply that the person is not speaking or communicating with you to you ( - otherwise you would not need to say it!).

  • Tell me!

on the other hand, means tell me the information. With the verb tell, the person you are telling is the indirect object of the verb, and the information the direct object. So if someone just says tell me, it means tell me your information.


If a person is being uncommunicative, sulky, for example, one might say to him or her:

Talk to me!

If a person has some news that interests you, which you are eager to know, you might say:

Tell me!


It depends on the tone, as this can change the meaning of almost anything, any word or expression and certainly "tell me" and "talk to me" change very quickly when playing around with the tone.

I`d love to see a study in "use", but my suspicion is that "tell me" is most often used to precede a question with a moderate tone, and "talk to me" is most often used as a plea for engagement, with a softer tone.

It would be interesting to see the use of both, according to gender and age.


The two might seem the same, but there is a slight difference in context. In the context of literature, talking can take a long time, and telling most of the time means telling something quickly as information

Telling information

Talking about a subject

So when it is included in a discussion, talk to me means let's take our time and talk about something, While tell me means give me the information , tell me what's wrong.

So all in all the difference is in the context , talk to me can be a longer action than tell me.

  • "Tell me (what happened)?" Could involve a detailed description of events leading to a specific episode. – Mari-Lou A Nov 10 '14 at 14:33
  • Thank you! I guess "tell me" is more like saying "catch me up on that" – glw7v8 Nov 10 '14 at 14:47

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