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Language Refresher 81: Speak vs Talk

Cambridge Dictionary gave the following rules that will help us learn how to use “speak” and “talk”

 

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The verbs speak and talk both generally mean ‘say words’, but there are some small differences in how they are used. Speak is more formal than talk.

 

Compare

 

 

(a.) Speak- We usually use speak for more formal presentations and lectures, and talk for more informal ones.

Ex: Dr Graham Foster will speak about the history of the region. 

-When we refer to languages, we use speak. 

Ex: How many languages do you speak?

Speak usually only focuses on the person who is producing the words:

Ex. He spoke about the importance of taking exercise and having a good diet.

 


 

(b) Talk focuses on a speaker and at least one listener, and can mean ‘have a conversation’.

Ex. I hope I can meet you to talk about my plans for the company.

-We use talk to focus on conversation.

Ex. They can talk and get to know each other over dinner.

 

 


 

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