Say or tell? Say and tell are irregular verbs. The past simple of say is said, the past simple of tell is told:
They asked if I was looking for work and I said yes. Then he told me how he had got the job by lying about his age. We use say and tell in different ways in reported speech. Say focuses on the words someone said and tell focuses more on the content or message of what someone said.
Direct speech and indirect (reported) speech | Canguro English