Speak, talk – differences
When do we use speak and when do we use talk? Here are the differences:
|Speak and talk have similar meanings. They suggest that a person is using his or her voice, or that two or more people are having a discussion.|
speak to somebody (about something)
talk to somebody (about something)
|What are you talking about?
Who were you speaking to on the phone?
I was talking to Mark about cricket.
How old were you when you learned to speak?
|We say: speak a language
talk a languagetalk nonsense
|He speaks four languages.
Stop talking nonsense!
|Speak to and talk to are used more often than speak with and talk with.||I was talking to Tom yesterday.|
|Speak to is a little more formal than talk to, and is often used in polite requests.||[on the phone] Hello, could I speak to Mr Jones, please?|
For more examples of speak/talk, see Stuart’s article Confusing words: speak, talk
Practise ‘speak’ vs. ‘talk’ in an exercise.