Humble   Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:01 am GMT
How would you answer a question like this: -Will she join us?
1. - It’s hard to say.
2. - It’s hard to tell.

RayH   Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:06 pm GMT
I would probably answer with (1) but, in this particular case, it could just as easily be (2).

What's the difference? Well, if you were just commenting on whether she will join, without much concern about her choice, you would use (1), if her choice matters to you or to the questioner, you would be more likely to answer (2).

Still, I don't think many native speakers would make too much fuss over the distinction between the two.
guest   Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:11 pm GMT
I would also go with 1.

The difference is that "Will she join us" requires a response, so 'say' would be appropriate.

"hard to tell" indicates discernment ['tell' here is not a direct development of the sense of 'tell' that means 'to say/recount verbally', but an older, more original sense of 'to count/consider/esteem/discern']. Unless you were looking at her at the time of asking "Will she join us" and able to see her reaction, 'tell' wouldn't fit the situation as nicely as 'say'

but 'tell' could work
Humble   Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:23 am GMT
Thank you very much, RayH and guest, crystal clear.
Guest   Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:19 pm GMT
say to = tell
Russconha   Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:18 am GMT
Say is not equal to tell.

For example, I said to him "Are you ok?" This can't mean that I told him "Are you OK?"

To tell is more direct, to say is more like speech in general.

If you want to know something, you can say to someone "Tell me" but you can't tell someone to "say me"