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30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK

Published by My Lingua Academy on

30 ways to use the verb speak

Hi, dear English students. You all know how important it is to know the vocabulary. In that regard, we will look at some useful phrases using the verb speak, such as collocations, idioms and phrasal verbs. 

Collocations and other useful expressions

Here are some adjectives that collocate with the verb speak. We can speak loudly, clearly, calmly, fluently, briefly, meaningfully, softly, intelligently, freely, boldly, hesitantly, warmly, etc.

For example:

  • Speak softly, don’t be so loud.
  • The girl spoke hesitantly, so the teacher encouraged her to speak up.
  • Although she spoke English fluently, she was afraid to speak freely.
  • Mary advises speaking clearly but not loudly at a job interview.

Let’s look at some commonly used collocations and phrases.

Generally speaking

Use this introductory phrase to say that something is usually true but not always.

  • Generally speaking, boys are more likely to be interested in team sports than girls.
  • Generally speaking, this exercise is very useful for your heart.
 30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK
30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK

In a manner of speaking

Use the phrase to say that what you said is true but perhaps not in all cases or all ways.

For example:

  • All Europe usually watches Eurosong contest, in a manner of speaking.
  • British Olympic swimming team is one of the best in the world, in a manner of speaking.

Strictly speaking

Use this idiomatic expression when you want to be totally correct and exact.

For example:

  • Strictly speaking, the Republic of Ireland consists of 26 counties.
  • Strictly speaking, tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable.

Speak out of turn

If you speak out of turn, you speak about something you shouldn’t because you don’t have the right/authority or enough information about it.

For example:

  • I hope I’m not speaking out of turn, but I don’t think you should drive in this weather.
  • They were discussing some serious money matters so Mary didn’t want to speak out of turn because she didn’t know the details.

Speak the same language

When we say that two or more people speak the same language, we mean that they share a similar opinion or an attitude about something so that their communication is fluent.

For example:

  • Both Dan and Tom are into football so we can say they speak the same language.
  • The Taylors are divorcing. I’d say they don’t speak the same language anymore.
 30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK
30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK

Speak volumes

This expression refers to something that shows someone’s feelings.

For example:

  • The look on her face spoke volumes about her feelings.
  • Your body language speaks volumes about you to an expert.

Speak highly of/about someone/something

If you speak highly of someone or something, you say good things about them or recommend them.

For example:

  • Mark spoke highly about this smartphone. I hope it won’t let me down.
  • I’ve heard many people speak highly about this film but to be honest,  I didn’t like it.

Speak in favour of  

If you speak in favour of someone or something, then you support them. 

For example:

  • The students who are in favour of the new programme, please raise your hands.
  • I am all in favour of that political party because they are really doing something to save the planet.

Speak your mind

When someone speaks their mind, they say directly what they think about someone or something.

For example:

  • Hay has never been afraid to speak her mind. She always tells directly what she thinks.
  • Can I speak my mind, although you may not like it? 
 30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK
30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK

Speak for yourself

Use this expression when you disagree with someone’s opinion.

For example:

  • ‘I like strawberry ice cream.’ ‘Speak for yourself. I don’t like fruit ice cream. Chocolate ice cream is my cup of tea.’
  • ‘We don’t think it’s your fault’, the mother said to her child. ‘Speak for yourself’, father replied.

Speak for itself

If something speaks for itself, then it is obvious.

For example:

  • Their son’s business success spoke for itself. He was a wealthy man.
  • We don’t need to comment on the recent riots. They speak for themselves.

Actions speak louder than words

The saying says that your deeds are more important than what you say.

For example:

  • They made so many promises in their campaign before the election but now we can see that they’ve made hardly any of it true. Actions speak louder than words!
  • It is not important what you say, your deeds are what counts. Don’t you know that actions speak louder than words?

Speak of the devil

Use this expression when someone you’re talking about turns up unexpectedly.

  • ‘Hi everyone!’ ‘Well, speak of the devil! We’ve just talked about you.’
  • We were sitting in a cafe talking about Michael when he showed up. Speak of the devil!
 30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK
30 Ways to Use the Verb SPEAK
Phrasal verbs with SPEAK

Speak for

Use this phrasal verb to state an opinion of a person/group or when someone represents someone or a group of people.

For example:

  • John, speaking for all members of the family, expressed deep condolences about the deceased.
  • Member of the Parliament is to speak for all the people who voted for him.

Speak out

If you speak out, then you express your views publicly, especially if you want to speak against something.

  • Jason was the only person at the meeting who dared to speak out against mobbing.
  • We should continue to speak out against people who cut rainforests no matter what.

Speak of

The phrasal verb is used to say that something exists.

For example:

  • The meal you’ve made speaks of your cooking skills.
  • Everything about that man spoke of his dedication to succeed.

Speak up

Use the phrasal verb to tell someone to talk more loudly.

  • I can’t hear you. Could you please speak up?
  • Our grandma doesn’t hear very well. You have to speak up when you talk to her.

Speak to

Speak to is an informal phrasal verb when you want to talk to someone about something serious they’d done.

  • His wife tried to speak to him a few times about his drinking problem, but there were no results.
  • A teacher spoke to the boys who had broken the window and they promised not to do it ever again.

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