When should one use 言います and when should one use 教えます? Please see examples below.



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    Maybe it's just my lack of imagination but both of those sentences, whilst grammatical, seem like unusual things to say. What was your intended meaning and context? – user3856370 Jun 11 at 15:42
  • Agreed ^. 言う vs 教える is a great question but I recommend brushing up the example sentences. 何か問題ありましたら(教えてください/言ってください)、、、とか? – Darius Jahandarie Jun 11 at 15:51
  • Sorry that I might use a bad example here. Let’s do another example. “I told my dad that I want to go to study abroad.” 父に留学したいと言いました/教えました。? – Agnes Jun 11 at 15:58

So, a small note first of all, I don't think that 〜と教える is all that common? Usually it does take を from what I've seen, though と is not ungrammatical. In any case, there is definitely a difference in meaning between と言う and を教える・と教える even if they can both be translated to "tell".

When you say/see 〜と言った・と言いました, there is a sense that you are quoting what was said. I think it's fairly appropriate for what you are likely trying to express. Perhaps you are relaying the conversation to someone else:

"My father said XXX." "And then?" "I said (told him) I want to study abroad".

教える on the other hand is more about the imparting of knowledge or information, which is why it is can also be used for the verb 'teach' or 'show'. When taking を, it's the taught/imparted concept that is marked by the particle, for instance:

"Please can you tell me the way to the station?" 駅までの行き方を教えてください。 (the concept is 駅までの行き方)

"I (am) teach(ing) maths at high school." 高校で数学を教えています。 (the concept is 数学)

If you wanted, you could make the concept a noun phrase, for instance:

"I will teach/show (my) children how to share." 子供に分け合うことを教えます。 (the concept is 分け合うこと, 'to share' or 'sharing')

Alternatively, you might use と教える for quoting, but again, this has a sense of quoting the imparted information, rather than just what was said.

"She told us that that highway has been closed" 彼女は私達にその道路が閉鎖されていると教えてくれた。

"The teacher told us that Columbus discovered America in 1492" 先生はコロンブスが1492年にアメリカを発見したと教えてくれた。

But, I don't think you should really use と教える with the study abroad example, as again, I don't think that specific context is really about imparting, instructing or showing knowledge. It's more about 'saying' than 'instructing'. So that's probably why I favour 言う here, and is how I think you should find the distinction between the verbs.

Hopefully that might clarify the typical usage of と言う and を教える・と教える.

There are other verbs (e.g. 伝える, 話す, 語る) which can also be translated as 'tell', but these all similarly require their own care in how they are used. You'll probably get a feeling for how each of them is used as you encounter them.

Good luck, and hope that helps!

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