Let’s Speak English (‘Talk to’ VS ‘Talk with’)



I talk to you………

I talk with you……..


Which one is the correct answer?

Before we talk about the correct answer, let’s make it right! I’ve googled this topic and I find some explanation about this. So, I wanna share with you all. This material is taken from http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/talk-to-versus-talk-with.aspx and http://www.englishforums.com/English/DifferenceBetweenTalkTalk/lgpzv/post.htm (thanks for these website!)

One expert explains this way: heart talk with = two people speak with each other on an equal basis. For example: May I speak/talk with you about a problem I’m having? (2) talk to = one person does most of the talking. Example: The president will speak to the nation tonight. Example: Oh, you say my son caused some problems? I shall talk to him tonight = I shall give him orders to behave himself. If you said, “I shall speak with him,” it might = he and I shall talk so that I can hear his side of the issue.

and see the other explanation here…

In today’s show, we cover whether you should say you talked to someone or talked with someone.

The podcast edition of this article was sponsored by Smarties: the gluten-free, dairy-free, tamper-evident, low-calorie candies for Halloween. Buy Smarties this year. They’re the smart choice for Halloween.

In an e-mail message, Kevin B. wrote, “I always hear talk show hosts say ‘It was nice talking to you….’ This (to me) sounds wrong, as if the person the host was speaking with was sitting there…. Shouldn’t it be ‘It was nice talking with you…’?. The use of the word ‘to’ instead of ‘with’ sounds directional, but the conversation was bi-directional.”

It’s true that the phrase “talk with someone” clearly refers to a two-way (or many-way) conversation. Still, “talk to someone” doesn’t rule out a two-way conversation. Any number of things could be happening while you’re “talking to” someone that you don’t mention, including that the person might be talking back to you. A Google search turns up many hits for strings like “I talked with them and they said”, but it also does for strings like “I talked to them and they said”, which indicates that many writers don’t interpret “talk to” to exclude a two-way conversation.

The Maxim of Quantity

But are all those writers and talk show hosts simply wrong? Let’s consider the position. Why might “talk to” be a mistake when it refers to an interactive conversation? One could argue that since there is an equally simple expression that is more specific than “talk to,” you should use it if it’s truthful. Linguists call this principle the Maxim of Quantity. A speaker who respects this principle will give as much information as possible. For example, if you had a son and two daughters, and someone asked you if you had children, and you answered, “I have a son,” you would be violating Quantity because you left out something important. You would risk being labeled as sneaky and uncooperative.

The Maxim of Relevance

In response to the Quantity-based argument that you should use “talk with” for two-sided conversations because it gives more information, one could argue in defense of “talk to” based on another principle, called the Maxim of Relevance, which states that a cooperative speaker will not mention irrelevant facts. To illustrate with the son-and-two-daughters example, you could satisfy Quantity and Relevance by saying, “A son and two daughters.” If you went on to give a five-minute biography for each child, you’d still be respecting Quantity, but you might be violating Relevance. In other words, you droned on and on about things that aren’t relevant.

Returning to the issue of “talk with” versus “talk to,” you could argue that most people understand that if you’re talking to someone, he or she will also be talking to you, barring unusual circumstances. Therefore, there’s no reason to avoid “talk to” as a general rule. If the conversation is one-sided, you can say you “lectured” someone instead, or even “talked at” people if the audience wasn’t paying attention. If the conversation is two-sided, but you have some reason to highlight that fact, then you can use “talked with,” or to really drive it home, “had a conversation with.”



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