Difference Between Talk, Speak and Say

Speak vs Say vs Talk

Speak, say, tell, talk etc. are some really confusing English words, especially for students learning English. This is because of the fact that all these convey more or less similar meaning. If you too are confused between these words, read on as this article attempts to make clear, not just the meaning, but also the usage of speak, say, and talk.


Speak is a word that means an act of conveying a feeling or opinion in words. It is also used to refer to a conversation as when you speak to your teacher about your project. It is an act of uttering words to share ones feelings or thoughts with others. It is also used to refer to the fact of knowledge of a particular language as when you say that you speak English well. Take a look at the following examples to understand the meaning and usage of this word in different contexts.

• He can speak English and French very well

• He did not speak a word during the entire meeting

• She is not afraid to speak her mind


If one looks up dictionary, he finds that say means to utter words to convey a feeling or thoughts. Say means to state something clearly in words. Said is the most common form of say that is used in English language. Said is the past tense of say. Say is used both in direct as well as indirect speech. We say something to a person and we use said when another person says something. Take a look at the following examples to understand the meaning and usage of say.

• Say something now that you have been given a chance

• What did she say to you in the class?

• “Good morning,” Helen said.

• My doctor says it is harmful to drink beer for me

• The weather forecast does not say a thing about thunderstorm


Once again dictionary tells us that talk means to say or utter something to express his feelings. It is mostly used as a verb though it can be a noun as in secretary level talk. Talk is used to refer to communication and conversation. Talk is a word that tells about a conversation between two or more people.

• The talks between the builder and the farmers continued for 3 hours

• Do you want to talk to the Principal?

• The baby has started to talk in sentences

• He talks too much

What is the difference between Talk, Speak, and Say?

• Speak is mostly used in terms of knowledge of languages though it is also used to refer to the actual act of uttering something in words.

• We say something to someone. Say is mostly used with words. Said is the more common form (the past tense) of say.

• Talk refers to formal communication or conversation between two people or groups.