For these two sentences:
- He spoke at the microphone.
- He spoke into the microphone.
, are they the same, or is one more poetic than the other?
English Language Learners Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of other languages learning English. It only takes a minute to sign up.Sign up to join this community
The ordinary idiom is 'speak into the microphone'. Occasionally you will find a voice professional or sound engineer talk about 'speaking across the mic' (which is a technique for avoiding 'pop' or for dealing with an unusual mic setup) or encouraging an amateur to 'speak to the mic', meaning to speak as if the mic were a human listener. 'Speak at the mic' addresses the position at which the speaker stands.
In contemporary English 'poetic' is not usually a desirable stylistic quality. When ordinary people today speak of 'poetic' language what they usually have in mind is language marked by a high degree of sonic patterning, by conventional metaphor, and by a highly emotional tone. But English poetry itself abandoned the use of a distinctly 'poetic' diction more than a century ago, and this sort of language is now generally regarded as self-indulgent or meretricious. When sophisticated critics speak approvingly of 'poetic' qualities they are more likely to mean that a passage is intellectually and emotionally complex and suggests far more than it explicitly says.
1. This is NOT common. It sounds like it could mean either:
a) He spoke towards the microphone
b) He spoke being in the location of the microphone.
2. This IS common. This means:
He spoke projecting his voice towards the inside of the microphone(which is where sound is processed in the microphone).