tell-v; 4 Senses

Sense Number 1: to inform, narrate, or command

He told her fascinating tales of his single-handed voyage around the world.
I told the policeman my name and address.
Mary told us that she would be back in an hour.
They told us what to do in case of fire.
I tell you that man is a crook!
She told him with her eyes. (figurative speech_act)
The SEC told them to produce the documents by Thursday.
I told you not to go swimming in the old quarry.
The man was repeatedly told to put down his weapon.
What the research tells us is that it is not all doom and gloom.
Years of care and hard labor told on her face.
The magnitude of the WTC catastrophe was told by the scourings on the granite in lower Manhattan.

VerbNet: transfer_mesg-37.1.1-1-1,tell-37.2-1
FrameNet: Request,Telling
PropBank: tell.01
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6

Sense Number 2: to distinguish or discern something

Commentary: Syntax is: NP1[agent] TELL NP2[finite]

He couldn't tell whether or not she was lying.
They told the difference between the twins only by their different haircuts.
Today in class the children learned how to tell time.
Who can tell what the future may bring?
John can easily tell the difference between French and California Chardonney.

VerbNet: NM
FrameNet: NM
PropBank: tell.02
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 5, 8

Sense Number 3: to tattle, inform, rat on

Commentary: Syntax includes: NP1[Agent] TELL (ON) NP2[patient] NP1[agent] TELL (ON) NP2[state]
NOTE: (this is a figurative sense of divulging or 'tattling' Includes: VPC tell on

The little boy told on his older brother.
They suspect he was fired for telling on upper management.

VerbNet: NM
FrameNet: Reporting
PropBank: tell.03
WordNet 3.0 Sense Numbers: 7
WordNet Verb Particle Constructions, Multiword Expressions:
tell_on 1, 2

Sense Number 4: reprimand, scold

Commentary: Syntax is: NP1[agent] TELL OFF NP2[recipient] Is: VPC tell_off

He told his boss off over the incident at work.
If they bother you, just tell them off!
She is hardly going to tell off her grandmother.

VerbNet: NM
FrameNet: Judgment_direct_address
PropBank: NM
WordNet Verb Particle Constructions, Multiword Expressions:
tell_off 1