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speak verb

1 have a conversation

ADV. briefly We spoke briefly on the phone. | at length | hardly Ben hardly spoke to me all evening.

VERB + SPEAK want to | refuse to The president refused to speak to the waiting journalists. | dare (to) No one had ever dared speak to him like that before.

PREP. about, to I need to speak to Joseph about this matter. | with Can I speak with you for a minute?

PHRASES be on speaking terms (with sb) We are still on speaking terms after the argument. | not be speaking (to sb) Ed and Dave aren't speaking at the moment.

2 use your voice to say sth

ADV. loudly | quietly, softly | clearly You must speak loudly and clearly on the stage. | slowly | calmly | brusquely, sharply | briefly | at length | suddenly | hardly | eloquently, movingly She spoke eloquently about the need for action. | lovingly, warmly | disparagingly, harshly | encouragingly, soothingly | authoritatively, forcefully | earnestly | coherently, intelligibly, meaningfully | absently | freely, openly | boldly | hesitantly | out

VERB + SPEAK be able/unable to, can/could (hardly) She was so moved she could hardly speak. | begin to, open your mouth to She opened her mouth to speak and found she couldn't. | try to | dare not, not trust yourself to He nodded, not trusting himself to speak. | hear sb I heard him speak at the debating society.

PREP. about, against He spoke out against mismanagement. | for I speak for all my colleagues. | in favour of She spoke in favour of the new tax. | on She speaks on women's issues. | on behalf of I speak on behalf of many thousands of women. | of He speaks very warmly of you. | to He will be speaking to history students about the causes of war.

3 know a language

ADV. fluently, well He speaks German fluently.

VERB + SPEAK be able/unable to, can/could | learn to learning to speak a foreign language | teach sb to

PREP. in Would you prefer it if we spoke in French?