"Hablar" vs. "Decir" vs. "Contar"
The Spanish verbs hablar, decir, and contarare all actions that involve communication, but they are not interchangeable. As you can see in the chart below, decir and contar both translate as to tell, so it's more of a challenge to differentiate between these two verbs than it is to differentiate between them and hablar. ¡No te preocupes!(Don't worry!) After reading this article, you'll have a good handle on how to distinguish between all three verbs.
Conjugation Review Time
Hablemos de Hablar
Let's talk about the verb hablar in depth!
Uses of Hablar
Hablar is a verb that can be used on its own, as well as in a variety of expressions to talk about what languages you speak/are spoken, who someone is talking to, and how people communicate.
Let's take a closer look at some examples of these common uses of hablar.
1. Hablar on Its Own
The verb hablar is used on its own to refer to the general act of speaking or talking.
Let's take a look at some examples.
2. Saying What/How Many Languages You Speak
One of the most common uses of hablar is talking about what languages you speak.
Check out these examples.
3. Saying What Language Is Spoken
To state what language is spoken/what language people speak, we use the phrase se habla. This grammatical construction is called the impersonal se.
4. Speaking to Other People
5. How People Communicate
Take a look at the following examples.
¿Qué Te Decimos sobre Decir?
What can we tell you about decir? A lot! Read on to find out how to use this talkative verb.
Uses of Decir
Hablar is used to refer to the general act of speaking, while decir is used to talk about the content of what was said.
Let’s take a look at the common uses of decir.
1. What People Say Matters
The main difference between hablar and decir is that we use hablar to talk about speaking and decir to talk about what was said/told.
2. Asking For/Giving Information
We use the verb decir to ask for or give specific information.
Take a look at these examples.
3. Decir Que
¿Te Contamos Algo sobre Contar?
Ready for us to tell you about contar? Read on!
Uses of Contar
We use contar when what is being told includes details. In other words, contar is used when the speaker is narrating an event, situation, story, or anecdote.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
Decir vs. Contar
Since decir and contar are so similar, let’s take a look at some more examples to make sure we have the differences down pat.