Let’s Speak English (Speak, Talk, and Say)


Differences between say, speak and talk

Speak is used often when one person addresses a group
Talk suggests that two or more people are having a conversation
Say is used with words; structure: say sth to sb

He spoke to the class about the problem.
Can you speak Chinese?
I’d like to speak to Mr. Pitt.
They talked for hours about the problem.
Can I talk to Mr. Pitt?
She said nothing all morning.(-> spoke no words!)
As she entered, she said ‘Hello’ to me.
He said ‘Goodbye’ and went away.

Related words and expressions

Speech: act of speaking or formal talk given to an audience
Speaker: person who speaks
Talk: conversation or informal speech
Saying: well-known phrase
Be on speaking terms with sb: be on friendly or polite terms, be willing to talk
Talk one’s head off: talk to much
Before you could say Jack Robinson: very quickly or suddenly


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