Difference Between Speak and Talk

Speak vs Talk
 

Knowing the difference between speak and talk becomes important due to the fact that speak and talk are two verbs that are easily confused in usage. They are, in fact, characterized by different usages though. Speak is only used a verb. Speakable is a derivative of speech. The noun form of speak is speech. Then, talk is used as a verb as well as a noun. The origin of talk lies in the Middle English. On the other hand, the origin of speak lies in the Old English word sprecan. There are phrases that use the verb speak as not to speak of, so to speak, speak for oneself, etc.

What does Speak mean?

British English stresses the use of ‘to’ together with the verb speak or talk as in the following sentences.

He speaks to his grandmother about the carnival.

She talks to her sister, who is abroad, one a week.

One of the main differences between speak and talk is that speak is more formal in usage and talk is more informal in usage. Thus, the word speech is also understood in a formal sense. Observe the two sentences given below:

I would like to speak to the student on the issue.

I want to speak with your mother about your grades.

In the first sentence, you will find that the verb speak is used in a formal way. If you look at the second sentence, it too uses the verb speak in a formal way. Moreover, the verb speak gives the idea of individual use of language.

He was unable to speak due to a throat infection.

He gave a public speech last week.

In both of the examples given above, you get the idea of individual use of language by the usage of the verb speak.

Sometimes the verb speak is used to imply one’s expertise of languages as in the sentence given below.

He speaks ten languages fluently.

Difference Between Speak and Talk

What does Talk mean?

On the other hand, American English prefers the use of the preposition ‘with’ in the case of the verb speak. However, American English uses preposition ‘to’ with the verb speak as well.

I wish to speak with you about this matter very soon.

Can I speak with Robert?

I will speak to him if he comes to visit me.

The verb talk is more informal in usage. Observe the following examples.

Can I talk to you for a few minutes before you leave?

Can we talk about the fight now?

In both of the sentenced mentioned above the verb talk is used in an informal way.

Moreover, the verb talk gives the idea of conversation.

When the lecture was over, people talked to one another.

In the above mentioned sentence, you get the idea of conversation by the usage of the verb talk.

What is the difference between Speak and Talk?

• In British English use of ‘to’ together with the verb speak or talk is stressed.

• On the other hand, American English prefers the use of the preposition ‘with’ in the case of the verb speak. ‘To’ is also used in some occasions.

• One of the main differences between speak and talk is that speak is more formal in usage and talk is more informal in usage.

• Another important difference between speak and talk is that the verb talk gives the idea of conversation. On the other hand, the verb speak gives the idea of individual use of language.

• Sometimes the verb speak is used to imply one’s expertise of languages.

It is important to know the difference between the two verbs speak and talk.