'Talk To' or 'Talk With': What's the Difference Between the Two?

By
Shanea Patterson,
updated on
January 7, 2023

Are you wondering whether to use ‘talk to’ or ‘talk with’? We can help you make the right usage choice, plus teach you how to use both phrases correctly in a sentence.

The short answer is that ‘talk to’ and ‘talk with’ mean the same thing – to converse with someone. In most cases, you can use the terms interchangeably.

‘Talk To’ vs. ‘Talk With’ – Which Should I Use? 

Using either phrase should be okay in pretty much any context. Therefore, there’s no right choice. It all depends on your personal preference.

‘Talk To’ vs. ‘Talk With’ – What’s the Difference? 

There’s no real difference between these two phrases. They mean the same thing – to converse with someone. That means you can use them interchangeably in almost every case.

In a sense, they can be seen as synonyms.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Talk To’ and ‘Talk With’

Since the phrases in question are more than one word, let’s break them down and define each word separately and then define the phrase as a whole so you have a better idea of how to use it in a sentence.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Talk’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘talk’ is: “to express or exchange ideas by means of spoken words,” “to convey information or communicate in any way (as with signs or sounds),” “to use speech: speak," “gossip,” “to reveal secret or confidential information,” “to give a talk: lecture,” “to deliver or express in speech: utter,” “to make the subject of conversation or discourse: discuss,” “to influence, affect, or cause by talking,” and “to use (a language) for conversing or communicating: speak.”

It also means: “the act or an instance of talking: speech,” “the way of speaking: language,” “a formal discussion, negotiation, or exchange of views > often used in the plural,” “mention, report,” “rumor, gossip,” “the topic of interested comment, conversation, or gossip,” “address, lecture,” and “communicative sounds or signs resembling or functioning as talk.”

Definition and Meaning of ‘To’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘to’ is: “used to indicate movement or an action or condition suggestive of movement toward a place, person, or thing reached,” “used to indicate a direction,” “used to indicate contact or proximity,” “used to indicate the place or point that is the far limit,” “used as a function word to indicate relative position,” “used to indicate purpose, intention, tendency, result, or end,” “used to indicate the result of an action or a process,” “used to indicate position or relation in time: such as a) before, b) until,” and “used to indicate addition, attachment, connection, belonging, possession, accompaniment, or response.”

Definition and Meaning of ‘With’

The Merriam-Webster definition of ‘with’ is: “in opposition to: against,” “so as to be separated or detached from,” “used to indicate a participant in an action, transaction, or arrangement,” “used to indicate the object of attention, behavior, or feeling,” “in respect to: so far as concerns,” “used to indicate the object of an adverbial expression of imperative force,” “over, on,” “in the performance, operation, or use of,” “used to indicate the object of a statement of comparison or equality,” “used as a function word to express agreement or sympathy,” “on the side of: for,” and “as well as.”

As we learned, both phrases mean to converse with someone.

Now, let’s look at pronunciation.

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Talk To’ and ‘Talk With’

Wondering how to pronounce these phrases? Let’s break them both down.

  • The way to pronounce ‘talk’ is ‘taak’ or ‘tawk.’
  • Pronounced 'to' with an ‘oo’ sound.
  • And you should pronounce 'with' with a short ‘I’ sound, similar to words like ‘sit.’

How to Use Both Phrases in a Sentence 

Now that we know what the phrases mean and how to pronounce them let’s take a look at how to use them in a sentence.

  • I want to talk to my fiancé. I haven’t seen him in six weeks.
  • I don’t want to talk to you. We’re in a fight.
  • I want to talk with my mom. She might not recognize me, but I still want to see her.
  • She wants to talk with her son, but she can’t see him right now.
  • I have to talk to you about the mold situation before you see the house.

Final Thoughts on ‘Talk To’ and ‘Talk With’

To recap, we learned that both phrases mean the same thing – to converse with someone. You can use them interchangeably.

If you ever forget this, you can always come back for a quick refresher. We’ve got a ton of other content on other confusing words you might come across in the English language.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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