Difference Between Talk and Speak Meanings

03 June 2022 0

People talk and people speak. You might be thinking that they mean the same thing, but they don't. Even if you're not sure what the difference is, you'll know when you hear it. Let's examine the differences between talk and speak.

What Is Talk?


  • A conversation or chat between people
  • A casual or friendly conversation
  • A monologue or soliloquy
  • A speech
  • A lengthy discussion


As far as you know, talk is simply talking, right? However, there's more than one type of talk, and a lot of jargon that you might not know or understand. For example, let's say you're at dinner with a friend and you notice that they're having a bad hair day. You can either talk to them about their hair or you can ask if they're feeling okay. However, if you ask them if they're feeling okay, that's not really talking—that's more of a conversation.

What Is Speak?


  • A formal speech or proclamation
  • A speech or proclamation that you make deliberately (like a lawyer)
  • A declaration
  • A statement (such as I feel, think, or believe)
  • A verbalization (like in voices or songs)


You probably know what speak is. When you speak, you're expressing something through your words. Even if you don't say anything, you're still speaking because your body is making a lot of movements (such as breathing, tapping on a table, and so on). However, there are several types of speak, and people often use the wrong one. For example, a lot of people say that they have oral presentations, but that's not what they mean. An oral presentation is a presentation that you give orally (that is, you speak rather than write). For example, if you're reading a report, that's an oral presentation. If you're giving a speech, it's an oral presentation. If you're debating with another person, that's an oral presentation. Think of all the times that you've heard people say things like, "I gave my speech last year at this exact place and it went over very well," or, "You should give your speech to the main event—it'll be lots of fun!" These people mean that they're going to give an oral presentation. However, they usually use the phrase "I gave a speech" when they mean "I spoke."

The Differences

These are pretty self-explanatory, and you might feel like you know what they mean. However, just to be safe, here are the exact definitions:


  • Talk: A casual conversation between friends or acquaintances
  • Speak: A formal or deliberative speech or proclamation
  • Debate: A discussion between two or more people where each participant presents their case and attempts to persuade the audience
  • Rhetoric: The art of effective speaking; persuasive communication
  • Orthography: The study of writing style


If you're wondering why you need to know this, be sure to check out our blog post on grammar mistakes that cost you points – it's a never-ending source of information on how to improve your English. Knowing these nuances will help you sound smarter and confident when you speak – and that will make all the difference in the world!

Hopefully, you had some fun learning about the differences between talk and speak. You might recognize that there are times that you need to use one and times that you need to use the other. Knowing the correct terminology will help you sound more fluent and natural when speaking. Of course, if you want to get really fancy, you can look up the words in a thesaurus or dictionary and come up with your own definition.

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