Thursday, 9 July 2015

Lesson 8 – ‘SPEAK’ AND ‘TALK’

We use ‘speak’ and ‘talk’ to express the action of saying words. They are really similar verbs, but speak is more formal than talk.


We usually say:
1.       Speak to.  E.g.: I want to speak to you.
2.       Talk to.  E.g. I need to talk to you.
3.       Speak to someone about something.  E.g.  I would like to speak to you about the next class.
4.       Talk to someone about something.  E.g.  Can I talk to you about my idea?.

But in more formal situation we can use:
1.       Speak with.  E.g. May I speak with you Sir?.
2.       Talk with.  E.g. I need to talk with my boss.


Speak is always used to refer to:
 Foreign language. E.g. How many languages do you speak?.

o   Speak up: It means ‘speaking more loudly’. E.g. You have to speak up if you want everybody to understand what you are saying.

o   Speak in public: conference, lectures… E.g. The president is going to speak about the annual results.

o   Idioms:
Speak your mind (it means ‘speaking sincerely’). E.g. I need you to speak your mind.
- The facts speak for themselves (it means 'the facts prove something'). E.g. He committed the crime, the facts spoke for themselves.

Talk is used to:
Talk sense or nonsense (it means ‘speak with coherence or without it’). E.g.
My grandma is really clever, she always talks a lot of sense.
You should think before speaking, if not you just talk nonsense.

o Talk business (it means ‘speaking about deals and business’). E.g. Let’s meet, we need to talk business.

o Idioms:
Talk back (it means ‘answering impolitely’ to someone). E.g. The student talked back to his teacher.
Talk behind my back (it means ‘talk secretly from someone’, without their knowledge). E.g. I only realised he was talking about me behind my back when his brother told me.

Now try to do the following exercise. You can find the correct answers at the bottom of this page.

Exercise 1.
1.       Talk / Speak is more formal than talk/speak
2.       We usually use talk and speak with the preposition to/for/by
3.       We always use talk/speak to refer to foreign languages
4.       We use the expression talk/speak business.

Exercise 2. Find the mistake in the following sentences
1.       Please talk up I cannot hear you.
2.       If you want me to believe in you, you must speak your head.
3.       I can talk fluency three languages, English, German and Portuguese.
4.       I will talk about economic issues in my speech tomorrow.
5.       Don’t try to confuse me, the facts talk for themselves.
6.       I don’t believe that you can speak me back like this.
7.       Speaking behind someone back is an example of bad manners.

Correct answers.
Exercise 1.
1.       Talk, speak  /  2. To  /  3. Speak  /  4. Talk

Exercise 2.
1. Please speak up (no talk up)  /  2. you must speak your mind  /  3. I can speak fluency  /  4. speak about economic…  /  5. The facts speak for themselves / 6. you can talk me back like this. / 7. Talking behind someone back