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What's better for you as a native English speakers? If for example you see someone who knows 2 languages, but you understand English only. Then you want to talk the language that's considered understandable for you. Here are the options:

"It's better for me to talk by / on / in English"

or to say simply

"It's better for me to talk English" (without any prepositions)

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    One speaks (or writes) English. One does not talk English.
    – SrJoven
    Nov 23, 2014 at 23:47
  • 5
    'Talk in English' is ok. 'By' or 'on', no.
    – A E
    Nov 23, 2014 at 23:52

1 Answer 1

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In this context - the correct sentence is: "It's better to talk in English".

You can talk on English - but that means you are talking about the English language

You can also talk by English - but that would indicate you are talking next to a person called English.

The reason why you can't say "talk by English" to mean talk using English is because English is not a physical tool you use to do the physical action of talking, unlike a pickaxe for mining (mine by pickaxe) or an telephone for talking over long distances (talk by telephone).

However, you can "Communicate by English" - because communication is not a physical action, and English is a tool for Communication.

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  • +1 Personally, I'd delete the second paragraph and tidy up a touch, but still an excellent answer.
    – Carl Smith
    Nov 24, 2014 at 0:33

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