1. What language do you prefer to speak in?

  2. In what language do you prefer to speak?

  3. What language do you prefer to speak?

I want to ask someone what language they prefer to speak at the moment.


4 Answers 4


If you're asking such a question informally, I'd prefer the last one:

  • What language do you prefer to speak?

There's no need for complication. The informal English is quite different from the uttermost formal one.

  • There is no rule about requiring a preposition in that sentence—it doesn't need one, even in strictly formal English. It can have one, but it's not required in any way. Do you think there is a missing preposition in What animal do you prefer to draw? Dec 18, 2018 at 2:27

It is not clear why you are asking them. If you are about to communicate directly with them then there is no point them saying Russian if you yourself do not speak Russian so I would ask

Would you prefer to talk in English or in Spanish?

as a general question I would ask

Which language are you most comfortable speaking in?


In my opinion, it depends on the relationship and the way in which you will be asking the question. If you are asking the question in person with a peer, then any of the options you listed would be fine.

Optionally, you could rephrase the question as, "What language do you prefer to speak in?" If I was writing the question and it needed to be more formal, I may instead opt to structure the sentence like this: "Do you have a language preference in which you would like to speak?" But truly, any of the options you listed convey your intended meaning.


Because we are drawing possible languages from a limited pool, I would use the word "which" rather than "what." So the question would be

"Which language do you prefer to speak."


"Which language do you prefer?"

might be a way in which native speakers would ask the question. However, this form does not communicate the source of preference and might be taken as an inquiry into which language the person preferred in sound or any number of other ways.

  • I prefer to omit speak here, because if I'm asking the question I really mean “what language do you prefer that I speak to you?” May 2, 2020 at 6:33

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