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Speak and talk

Hi friends!

What is the difference among "speak" and "talk"?

When I must use "speak"?

When I must use "talk"?

thanks a lot!

Jul 31, 2016 8:28 AM
Comments · 6

In response to Susan's comment:

 The one instance where we always use 'speak' rather than 'talk' is with reference to language ability. 'Do you speak English?' 'He learnt to speak French' 'He couldn't speak Arabic.' We cannot use 'talk' in these cases.

'Speak' can be used to mean simply 'address',  while 'talk' suggests chatting, with meaningful content of some kind. For example, if somebody says that they were at a party where there was a famous person present, you might ask 'Did he speak to you?'. This might just mean 'Hello' or 'Thanks' or 'Where's the bathroom?'. But if you say 'Did he talk to you?', this would mean an actual conversation on a more personal level, with some kind of exchange of information or ideas.

 There are also set phrases in which we use one rather than the other, for example  'Speak up' or 'talk it over' and so on.

 Otherwise, as Chirag says, the difference is a subtle level of formality. 'Speak' is more formal, and can sometimes mean 'give a speech'. For example, 'He spoke at the annual ceremony', suggests giving a formal address. 'The President came out onto the the balcony and spoke to the crowd of people.' This suggests a public speech. 'Talk' would suggest a level of personal intimacy that wouldn't be appropriate. 

In most cases, though, they are virtually interchangeable.



August 1, 2016
I hope one the professional English teachers will comment here.  Even though Anthony appears to be a native English speaker and Chirag does not, I tend to see it more like Chirag.  I think speak and talk can be used almost interchangeabley, but speak is a little more formal (like giving a speech) and talk is a little more conversational.  I honestly couldn´t think of any situation where you MUST use one over the other.  I do not think Anthony´s examples are grammatically wrong.  However, personally  I would have been more likely to say ¨Jhonane talked to Anthony yesterday¨ and ¨Jhoane will speak about the issue of Global Warming in the next session.¨  I think either ¨speak¨ or ¨talk¨ can be used in either situation. 
July 31, 2016

The word speak is used when you are related to a person.

Jhoane spoke to Anthony yesterday.

The word talk is used to describe nouns or discussing events.

Jhoane will talk on the issue of Global Warming in the next session.

July 31, 2016
Talk is generally used in informal communication. And Speak is slightly formal so used according to situation.
July 31, 2016
Susan , if you are judging the Antony's statements grammatically then i must say one thing that Grammar follows the speech habits of the majority of educated people not the other way around . As Grammar is not an exact science there is no hard and fast rules and no unchanging principles so all it depends upon the current trends. Correct me if i m wrong .
August 1, 2016
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