Speak vs Talk – What’s the difference between these two verbs.

Complete Lesson Transcript –

Hi friends, this is Tash and I welcome you to a new lesson. So what do we have today? Yes speak versus talk. How often do we use speak and talk in our daily conversation? Yes I spoke to my friend; can I talk to you for a minute? Yes but very little do we realize that there is a difference between the two words speak and talk. I’m gonna help you understand that difference with the help of some phrases.

Let’s look at the first one, it says, speak to someone. Okay you would say that talk to someone is also right. However we don’t realize that speaking with someone is actually the appropriate way of saying it and not talking to someone. I’ll help you with a sentence there. Okay let’s say Emily spoke to Mr. Banks about his account. Both speak and talk are verbs. However here I am going to use the word spoke because Emily spoke to Mr. Banks about his account. it is a past tense and do you think if I would say, Emily talked to Mr. Banks about his account sounds right? No, it doesn’t and that is why in the places where we need to use a past tense, talk will not work as good as speak works. Like speak to someone, Emily spoke to Mr. Banks about his account, okay?

Next one says, speak a language. You don’t talk a language, you speak a language. Yes sometimes we do say, I talk English, Smith can talk English but yes it’s usually speaking a language. A language is always spoken and not talked. Okay I speak English, I speak English and I am learning Spanish. Two languages I’m talking to you about and both the languages are spoken. You cannot talk a language. You can speak a language.

Okay the next one says, speak for someone. Okay this is usually when you are talking on behalf of someone or you are talking for someone, right? We say I can talk for you but no it’s actually I can speak for you. Speaking for someone. Let’s take an example of somebody has to talk about somebody or for somebody in the court, so that person will say; I will definitely speak for you in the court. If I wanna tell you this sentence, do you think I can say, I will definitely talk for you in the court. No, yes there are many words in English, which sound appropriate but the usage is not correct. We don’t realize that if we use this in , in this way or that way, for us everything sounds just the same. So that’s my point, you know I will definitely speak for you in the court.

Okay, speak up, okay, do you say talk up? No, definitely not, right? So you will say, can you speak up? Can you not keep quiet and can you speak up? Yes, so speak up, that is of course you’re telling the person to start talking, to start speak but yu do not say, can you talk up? You say can you speak up? So can you speak up? Can you speak up?

The next one says, speak your mind. Yes this is a hypothetical situation where in your mind is talking. No, it’s you who are talking what’s in your mind, right? So you cannot tell a person, talk your mind, can you say that? No you usually say, speak your mind. What is speaking your mind? Speaking your mind is, to talk about whatever is there, whatever your thoughts are. If you’re thinking about a certain thing, that is when you talk about it, okay. So I could give you a sentence here which says, she spoke her mind about yesterday’s, yesterday’s meeting, right? So, here she spoke her mind about yesterday’s meeting. She cannot talk her mind up, right? Whatever is there in her mind, she can definitely talk about it but when you put it in a phrase like this, speak your mind, you have to use the word, spoke, which is the past tense. So she spoke her mind about yesterday’s meeting.

The last one here says, speak volumes. Okay I cannot say talk volumes, does not sound right at all. I will say, speak volumes. Now what is speaking volumes? Volumes like we all know is something in numbers, it talks volumes is a lot. Large, okay. If a person, as a person if you want to describe me, you will talk volumes about me, whether good or bad but volumes is, a lot, large, okay. Here, I’ll give you a sentence which says, her messy house and her kids talk volumes about what kind of mother she is. Okay which means, it’s talking about what kind of a woman she is or what kind of a wife she is or a mother she is. But you cannot say, talk volumes, speak volumes. It’s speaking about the person, okay. Her messy house, I’ll cut the sentence short here, her messy house speaks volumes, speak volumes about what or you could say about what or about who she is, okay, who she is. so, in short, if you see all the sentences you could actually conclude that when you use the word talk, it is very direct okay and when you use the word speak, it usually speaks your mind, speaks about your body, everything. So speaking is also used in a hypothetical situation or even directly when you talk to people. Okay so that was about speak, now let’s have a look at talk.

So friends now let’s have a look at talk, the verb talk. Yes there are very few, there are not in every sentence like I told you, we can use talk. So now we have studied or now we have learnt how to use speak and now I’m gonna talk to you about how to use talk. The first one says, talk back. So what is talking back? Talking back is when you actually back answer people. Okay when you have your answers ready and somebody is telling you something and immediately back answer that is called talk back. So here I could say or use a sentence which says, my sister is always talking back to my mom, so talking back to my mom. So here you can’t speak back okay, the difference the main difference here is you cannot speak back but you talk back, so my sister is always talking back to my mom.

The next one says, talk down to someone. When I say talk down to someone, talking down to someone simply means that you think of yourself and always try to put the other person down, okay. You’re trying to put down the other person, talk down to someone. The manager at the restaurant always talks down to the kitchen staff. The manager always talks down to, to the kitchen staff. Here can you say speak down to someone. No you cannot it’s usually talk down to someone. The manager always talks down to the kitchen staff.

The next one says, talk things over. I’m sure you have heard about this many times. We all use this with people that we talk. You cannot say, can we speak things over. No you have to say, talk things over. Can I have a minute, can we talk things over, yeah? I have to talk, I have to talk things over, I have to talk things over with my husband. Of course when you need to talk to somebody, you say this usually. I want to talk things over with you. I wanna talk with you. Can we talk things over? Okay so this is just a phrase that we use. However what is important is, you need to know whether to use speak or to use talk.

The next says, talk big. He talks big. Yes there are many people we come across who love to talk big. You know they exaggerate things, they are very hyper and they want to exaggerate things over again and again. So, if they have, you know they wanna show off, you can say the word show off. So talk big. Mr. Adams always talked big. Okay talk big, a phrase which you can use in a sentence by saying, Mr. Adams always talked big. Somebody who is always boasting.

The next one says, sorry talk tough. Okay what is talking tough? We usually say he is tough or she is tough but do we say, talking tough? Yes when you say, talking tough, it’s somebody who is very strict, whose tone is very stern, very firm but however the person might not be that stern at heart, okay. My teacher, my teacher always talked tough. My teacher always talked tough but she is a sweetheart. But she is a sweetheart. So what do I mean when I say this? I mean that my teacher is very tough when she talks she could really upset someone when she talks but she is definitely a sweetheart. Okay and now again can you say speak tough? No you cannot say, so it’s talk tough.

The last one here is, talk nonsense. How many times you tell your friends, can you stop talking nonsense. You are talking nonsense. Yes but we cannot say, you were speaking nonsense or can you stop speaking nonsense? No it does not sound, correct. So that’s where the difference between talk and speak comes. My little brother always talks nonsense. Okay I cannot say my little brother speaks nonsense. My little brother talks nonsense. So friends definitely there’s a very slight difference between speak and talk. However you will realize that when you are using it in your daily conversations, when you wrote your sentences or when you speak. Yes there are times when we often speak, however, we do not realize whether we have used the right words in the right context, okay.

So we have seen the difference between speak versus talk and I hope you will use it appropriately the next time you use these two verbs. Okay so thanks for watching, keep watching, keep learning. I will again next time with a new lesson, till then bye and take care.

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