The difference between the verbs ‘Speak’ and ‘Talk’

In this lesson, we are going to learn the difference between two verbs, ‘speak’ and ‘talk’. People get confused and do not know when to use them and often make mistakes as both the verbs imply verbal communication.

Speak : is a more formal verb than ‘talk’. It is used when one person addresses a group of people,more of a one way conversation, like at a meeting or a conference. A person who is who is fluent and eloquent, is called a good ‘speaker’ and not a ‘talker’.

Example : John will speak at the conference on Monday.

Example : I’d like to speak to the doctor. ( ‘speak’ is used because the conversation is formal between the patient and doctor)

It is also used to express expertise in a language.

Example : Henry speaks English and French. (do not use ‘talk’)

Talk : is an informal verb. It is used when there is a conversation between many people.

Example : My brother and I talked about our future plans. ( ‘about’ is used to introduce the subject of conversation)

Example : My friends and I talk for long hours daily.

When you want to tell someone that their talk makes no sense, you say ;

Example : Don’t talk nonsense.(do not use ‘speak’)

Both the verbs can be used with the following :

speak/talk about : to introduce the subject of conversation

speak/talk to : to introduce the partner or people involved in the conversation.

1 comment

  • John spoke at the conference yesterday about Love. But he spoke non sense about his affair with Maria OR he told nonsense thing about his affair with Maria.
    Which one correct? As per me, he spoke nonsense about his affair. Kindly guide.

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