In this post I would like to review the topic of speech and in particular English expressions with speak and speech.
I was raised to believe that freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones (something of great importance) of society. However, as I get older my belief is challenged time and time again. Now I understand that in reality I have the right to freedom of speech provided that I generally agree with what the general population now accepts. Unfortunately, this is not my view of freedom.
The following are English words and phrases connected with speech and hopefully you will find something useful for you.
English Expressions with Speak and Speech
Going back to my earlier point we all have the right to SPEAK OUR MIND (to say what we feel) provided we do so with respect to other people’s feelings and beliefs. When we were young we were advised by teachers, trainers and parents to learn to SPEAK UP FOR YOURSELF ( not to be afraid to put your hand up and give an opinion or view or simply get involved). Alternatively, if you were not able to speak up for yourself you tried to get someone to SPEAK ON YOUR BEHALF (someone to say what you want to say but cannot).
There are many phrases and expressions connected with speech. The following are the key and important expressions with examples.
Everyone can speak but not many speak clearly, pronounce words in a way that makes it clear to the listener exactly what you are saying. Some mumble (speak very quietly under their breath) and we have to ask them to PLEASE, SPEAK UP (to raise their voice a little so that we can hear what they have said) some SPEAK TOO QUICKLY (so quick that we have to ask the person to slow down or repeat what they have said). Some even speak so slow that we are tempted to finish the sentence for them!
Parents, grandparents and teachers are often heard to correct the tone and language of young people by chastising them (complaining and correcting them) when they speak perhaps rudely to them. DON’T SPEAK TO ANYONE LIKE THAT!! (speak more mannerly)
English Expressions with Speak - Infographic
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Collocations with Speak
SPEAK THE TRUTH
How many times did you hear this as a kid. Don’t lie always tell the truth. (Of course, when we grow older it is not always the best policy.)
Example: I believe if you want to be heard, you need to speak the truth.
We consider someone to be well spoken when the speak clearly, concisely and in an assured fashion. They do not have to raise their voice (shout or scream), they do not use too many words but speak with authority and knowledge in an understandable way.
Example: He is a very well spoken man he has a lot of life experience.
If we feel strongly about a topic we are often encouraged to speak out about it. This means to make ourselves heard.
Example: Recently the “Me too” movement has raised the issue of women and sexual exploitation particularly in the movie and entertainment industries. Women have spoken out about their experiences and feelings.
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
Everyone can talk and tell you what they will or will not do but doing something is often seen as more productive. What somebody does is more important than what they say.
Example: Don’t tell Auntie Paula that you miss her, just go and visit her. Actions speak louder than words!
Collocations with Speak
SPEAK OF THE DEVIL
When someone we are thinking of or talking about suddenly and unexpectedly appears then we can say ‘ah speak of the devil!’
Example: You are discussing your friend David with another friend Susan. You are talking about something funny or interesting he did recently when you suddenly see him approaching you in the coffee shop. ‘Ah David, speak of the devil, we were just talking about you.’
THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK
A great piece of advice at any age. We often speak our minds but occasionally it might not sound the way we intended and someone might get offended (be upset or hurt) so it is always a good idea to think before you speak.
SPEAK WHEN YOU ARE SPOKEN TO
Another reminder of my childhood. How often did your mother or father say this? It means that someone is only allowed to say something when they are asked for an opinion.
Example: Speak when you are spoken to and not until!!
SPEAK FOR YOURSELF
This is a way of reminding people that they are only expressing their own opinion and that other people might think differently.
Example: ‘This year’s test was really easy.’ ‘Speak for yourself! I thought it was really difficult.’
I have a much more relaxed attitude to communication these days and always encourage my younger students to express themselves in a calm and clear manner. Words can be easily misinterpreted so speaking clearly but never be afraid to speak.
For more information on English collcoations, English idioms, English phrasal verbs and English grammar rules, check out the following links:
As always, plenty of material is available on BBC Learning English website.