1 have a conversation

We spoke briefly on the phone.

at length

Ben hardly spoke to me all evening.

want to
refuse to

The president refused to speak to the waiting journalists.

dare (to)

No one had ever dared to speak to him like that before.

about, to

I need to speak to Joseph about this matter.

with (esp. AmE)

Can I speak with you for a minute?

be on speaking terms (with sb)

We are still on speaking terms after the argument.

a/the chance to speak, a/the opportunity to speak

I didn't get a chance to speak to him.

not be speaking (to sb)

Ed and Dave aren't speaking at the moment.

speaking of … 

Speaking of Brett, why isn't he here?

2 use your voice to say sth
quietly, softly

You must speak loudly and clearly on the stage.

at length
eloquently, movingly

She spoke eloquently about the need for action.

lovingly, soothingly, warmly
disparagingly, harshly, sharply, sternly
authoritatively, forcefully
coherently, intelligibly, meaningfully
freely, openly, publicly

The main character speaks directly into the camera.

be able to, be unable to, can (hardly)

She was so moved she could hardly speak.

be allowed to
begin to, open your mouth to

She opened her mouth to speak and found she couldn't.

try to
not trust yourself to

He nodded, not trusting himself to speak.

hear sb

I heard him speak at the debating society.

invite sb to

She was invited to speak at a Harvard conference.

about, on

She speaks on women's issues.


He spoke out against mismanagement.

for, on behalf of

I speak for all my colleagues.

I speak on behalf of many thousands of women.

in favour/favor of

She spoke in favour/favor of the new tax.


He speaks very warmly of you.


He will be speaking to history students about the causes of war.

the ability to speak

He lost his ability to speak.

have the courage to speak

They had the courage to speak the truth.

the right to speak

Everyone should have the right to speak their mind.

speak from experience

I'm speaking from experience, having been there often.

3 know a language
fluently, well

He speaks German fluently.

be able to, can
be unable to, cannot
learn to

the benefits of learning to speak a foreign language

teach sb to

Would you prefer it if we spoke in French?

the ability to speak sth

The ability to speak another language is a valued skill.

Speak is used with these nouns as the subject: ↑immigrant
Speak is used with these nouns as the object: ↑blasphemy, ↑dialect, ↑jargon, ↑language, ↑sentence, ↑tongue, ↑truth, ↑word

Collocations dictionary. 2013.

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  • speak — W1S1 [spi:k] v past tense spoke [spəuk US spouk] past participle spoken [ˈspəukən US ˈspou ] ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(in conversation)¦ 2¦(say words)¦ 3¦(language)¦ 4¦(formal speech)¦ 5¦(express ideas/opinions)¦ 6 so to speak 7 speak your mind …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • speak — [ spik ] (past tense spoke [ spouk ] ; past participle spo|ken [ spoukən ] ) verb *** ▸ 1 talk about something or to someone ▸ 2 use voice to talk ▸ 3 talk particular language ▸ 4 give formal speech ▸ 5 express ideas/thoughts ▸ 6 talk on… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Speak — Ст …   Википедия

  • Speak — Speak, v. i. [imp. {Spoke}({Spake}Archaic); p. p. {Spoken}({Spoke}, Obs. or Colloq.); p. pr. & vb. n. {Speaking}.] [OE. speken, AS. specan, sprecan; akin to OF.ries. spreka, D. spreken, OS. spreken, G. sprechen, OHG. sprehhan, and perhaps to Skr …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • speak — [spēk] vi. spoke, spoken, speaking [ME speken < OE specan, earlier sprecan, akin to Ger sprechen < IE base * sp(h)er(e) g , to strew, sprinkle > SPARK1, L spargere, to sprinkle: basic sense “to scatter (words)”] 1. to utter words with… …   English World dictionary

  • Speak — can mean: * Speech communication * SPEAK (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids), a Maryland based organization for suicide prevention * Speak (artist), the Hungarian rap artist and internet phenomenon famous for his anti war video *… …   Wikipedia

  • speak — ► VERB (past spoke; past part. spoken) 1) say something. 2) (speak to) talk to in order to advise, pass on information, etc. 3) communicate in or be able to communicate in (a specified language). 4) (speak for) express the views or position of …   English terms dictionary

  • Speak — Speak, v. t. 1. To utter with the mouth; to pronounce; to utter articulately, as human beings. [1913 Webster] They sat down with him upn ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him. Job. ii. 13. [1913 Webster] 2. To utter… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • speak of — ˈspeak of [transitive] [present tense I/you/we/they speak of he/she/it speaks of present participle speaking of past tense spoke of …   Useful english dictionary

  • speak — (v.) O.E. specan, variant of sprecan to speak (class V strong verb; past tense spræc, pp. sprecen), from P.Gmc. *sprekanan (Cf. O.S. sprecan, O.Fris. spreka, M.Du. spreken, O.H.G. sprehhan, Ger. sprechen to speak, O.N. spraki rumor …   Etymology dictionary

  • speak — speak, talk, converse can all mean to articulate words so as to express one s thoughts. Speak is, in general, the broad term and may refer to utterances of any kind, however coherent or however broken or disconnected, and with or without… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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