history vs. story

History vs. Story: What’s the Difference?

History: The study of past events or people

History is a subject that we study in school. We study the history of civilizations, important people, or topics, like the history of art. We only use the word history when referring to major events or people from the past.

HIS-tuh-ree

I studied art history in college.

Examples:

  • The history of Egypt is fascinating.
  • I have a history test tomorrow.
  • Many students think history is boring, but I love it.
  • The U.S. has a long history of violence.

Story: A re-telling of something that happened, usually to you or someone you know.

Story telling is a big part of language. We tell stories to each other about things that happened at work, like when you accidentally spilled coffee on your computer. Yikes!

telling stories is fun
He tells the funniest stories!

We tell stories about events in our lives, like about how our parents met and fell in love, or things that we remember from our childhood. Stories can be happy, sad, scary, or funny––the best stories are funny, don’t you agree?

We also tell stories to children. Some of my favorite stories are Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. What are your favorite childhood stories?

STOR-ee

Tell me a story about your childhood.

Do you have a favorite childhood story, or a story about learning English? Leave a comment to share your story!

What's the difference between say and tell?

Say vs. Tell – What’s the Difference?

SAY and TELL are similar – they are used to communicate information. So what’s the difference? The major difference is TELL can include the listener. SAY typically does not include the listener, only what is being said.

(Incorrect)   She said me to call her.

(Correct)      She told me to call her.

TELL

TELL is used with direct object pronouns (me, you, it, her, him, us, them) or other nouns (the children, my dad, the staff). So if you need to include the speaker and the listener, use TELL + direct object noun or pronoun.

  • The boss told his employees not to be late for the meeting.
  • His doctor told him to get more exercise.
  • I told her I lost her camera on my trip.

SAY

SAY does not often include the person you are speaking to. It refers to what was said, not who said it.

  • She said something on the phone, but I couldn’t understand her.
  • I said hello to our new neighbors.
  • When someone takes a picture, it is common to say “Cheese!”
  • If I ask you to come visit, please say yes!

For more on reported speech, check out this post.

It’s time to say goodbye now. Please take a moment to tell me what you think of this lesson.

Cheers!

Will vs. Be Going To

Be Going To vs. Will for the Future Tense: What’s the Difference?

Robot:                What are you going to do today?
Astronaut:        I‘m going to visit the sun.
Robot:                But it’s too hot! You’ll burn up!
Astronaut:        I’ll be fine. I’m going to go at night.

This silly conversation shows how will and be going to are often used together when speaking about the future. What’s the difference between be going to and will? It all depends on the situation.

will-vs-be-going-to-for-future-tense
Never argue about grammar with a robot!

In the conversation, the robot asks the astronaut about his plans using be going to. When the robot tells him, “You’ll burn up,” that is a fact, not a plan, so he uses will. Again, when the astronaut replies, “I’ll be fine,” he is making a promise. The astronaut has a plan: “I’m going to go there at night.” It’s not a very smart plan, but it’s a plan, so he uses be going to.

I hope he wears a lot of sunscreen.

Let’s look at some other uses of be going to and will that depend on the situation.

BE GOING TO

PLANS AND ARRANGEMENTS

Use be going to for things that you already have planned.

  • I‘m going to finish the report this evening.
  • We‘re going to rent a car for the weekend.
  • They‘re going to build a new shopping center here.
  • Ford is going to close several car dealerships next year.
  • Are you going to be late for the meeting?

It’s also good to begin a speaking presentation with, “Today, I’m going to talk about…” Here are some more tips and tricks to giving a great presentation in English.

PREDICTIONS & THE WEATHER

The weather is a prediction for the future, so both forms can be used. Notice that certain expressions are used when we talk about the weather.

  • It looks like it’s going to rain today.
  • I hope the roads won’t be foggy.
  • Do you think it’ll be sunny at the beach?

For all other predictions, be going to and will can both be used, depending on how sure you are about it. The more certain you are, the more you should use be going to.

  • The Giants are definitely going to win the game.
  • My mom is going to love the gift I bought her!
  • Scientists will find a cure for cancer one day.
  • In the next 500 years, what will happen to the climate on Earth?

WILL

INSTANT DECISIONS & CHANGING PLANS

  • The restaurant is closing soon, so I’ll order take out.
  • Your phone battery is dead? I’ll send you an email.
  • There’s a huge traffic jam? I’ll take the metro instead.

PROMISES & THREATS

  • I won’t tell anyone your secret.
  • If you come to work late again, you’ll get fired.
  • I will always be your friend.
  • Will you marry me?

OFFERS

  • The phone’s ringing : I’ll get it.
  • My car’s not working : I’ll give you a ride.
  • I need a few dollars for the bus : I’ll lend you some.
  • The employees should bring something to the meeting : I’ll bring the coffee.

NEGOTIATIONS

  • If you wash the dishes, I’ll set the table
  • If you pay half now, I’ll lower the price.
  • If you buy one, I’ll give you one for free!

Let’s look at some other situations where will and be going to can be used.

At a Restaurant

In the following video, you can see that the customers and server are both using will again and again. That’s because they are making decisions in the moment. When the server says, “I’ll be right back,” she uses will because she is making a promise, not a plan.

A Weather Forecast

Here, you can see how will and be going to are both used to talk about the weather.

Be Going To for Predictions in the Very Near Future

 

Thank you for reading my bog! Now, I’m going to stop writing and watch Grey’s Anatomy, my favorite TV show. (plan) You never know what will happen! (prediction)

See you in the future!