The verb “to tell” is quite widely used and versatile in English, but comparatively rarely used by non-natives.
There may well be synonyms that can be used instead of “tell”, but they don’t always work so naturally and can be in the wrong register. I also get the impression that Dutch writers avoid what they suspect (incorrectly) is a slangy or informal word.
- to indicate or give an indication:
(“show” and “let know“ are good alternatives too)
“This tells you that the meat is cooked through.”
- to narrate:
“Let me tell you a story”
“He told me a right pack of lies”
- to order or give instructions:
“I told you to water the plants!”
- to inform or give information:
“I told you butter wouldn’t suit the works.” (The Mad Hatter)
- and numerous other more complex words: advise, report, declare and mention all come to mind as candidates.
Another gap of a week without posting! The real world’s been intervening again, I’m afraid. But to make it up to you, I’ve added another page grouping useful blog items together, of which this is one: the Words you don’t use enough.
Prevalence: high. It’s not a word that’s front of mind for most Dutch authors. Or disregarded as too informal.
Frequency: high. Liable to turn up several times in a single document. Sciencey ones in particular.
Native: no. These underused words are natural to us.