I wonder whether using each choice can change the meaning of the sentence significantly.

1: Hello,
2: Hello,
1: Excuse me, could I ........ Josh please?
2: He's not available right now—can I take a message?

a. speak to
b. speak with
c. talk to

I think they all can be used interchangeably here, however 'a' and 'b' are more polite / formal.

  • 1
    Americans are more likely to say 'speak with', and British English speakers more likely to say 'speak to'. 'Talk to' is OK in either zone. Commented Jun 21, 2020 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


All three look good to me. I tend to agree that "speak with/to" is marginally more formal than "talk to", but it's not a big difference.

Michael suggests in a comment that "speak with" may be slightly more common in American English, and "speak to" in British English, perhaps that's the case. To my mind "speak with" suggests engaging in two way conversation, but "speak to" if you mostly want to inform, tell or ask something.

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