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Grammatical usage of "Speak with" and "speak to"

In contemporary English usage, speakers of English language tend to interchangeably use these two phrases. They tend to perceive these phrases to mean the same idea; meanwhile, it quite differs. It is noteworthy that both phrases depict the actual sense of "an act of speaking" but the difference lies in the logic and context. Let's check things out from this angle:

"Speak with" should be employed when you are indeed engaging in a conversation in which there is a respondent. You can employ "speak with" when you are interrogating, debating, or getting involved in a conversation that demands the exchange of ideas. For example: I need to speak with you. The president want to speak with the senators on national issues. Both sentences denote that the speaker demands to exchange words with the interlocutor and not just a mere talk.

On the other hand, the concept of "speak to" is built on the basis of addressing someone on certain issue without demanding an actual response. Nevertheless, the interlocutor could in a way ask a question if he/she seems obfuscated about the intended idea of the speaker. When you "speak to" someone, you are not getting involved in a bid to exchange ideas with the interlocutor(receiver). For example: The president want to speak to the public on national issues. Here, the president's act of speaking does not involve the response of the "public" (who tend to be the receivers).


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