- to inform or command by telling
- Lại đây mẹ bảo.
- Come here, I got something to tell you. / I got something I want you to do.
- Nó bảo thứ hai nghỉ.
- She told me we don't need to come on Monday.
- Đã bảo rồi !
- Told you!
- Bảo sao nghe vậy.
- I'm only doing what I'm told to do. / I'm only following orders.
- (literally, “I'm listening to what I'm told.”)
- Có câm không thì bảo !
- Shut the hell up or else!
- (literally, “Shut up or I'll tell you to!”)
If nói (“to say; to utter; to talk; to speak”) is grammatically analogous to English say in that it has an "indirect object" which follows với (“to”), then bảo is analogous to English tell in that it does not require với:
- Em nói với anh…
- I said to you…
- Em bảo anh…
- I told you…
There are some cases where a pronoun can be mistaken for an "indirect object" of nói:
- Em nói anh nghe.
- I'm telling you this.
This sentence can be changed into Em nói cho anh nghe (literally “I'm saying so that you hear.”). The verb nghe (“to hear”) is a clue that anh (“you”) is not merely an "object", but actually the subject of a different clause.