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When talking to friend and I don't hear him well, what would be the suitable choice of the following?

  1. Please, speak loudly
  2. Please, increase your voice.

The same question is about the situation that I can't hear well the music from the loudspeaker because the volume is low, then I want to ask my friend to help me to hear that. what would be the suitable choice of the following?

  1. Please, amplify the volume of the loudsdpeaker.
  2. Please, increase the volume of the loudspeaker .

2 Answers 2

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Here are some things you can say when your friend is speaking too quietly:

Please speak up!

Please speak more loudly.

You wouldn't say "speak loudly", since that means to speak in a loud voice, not merely to speak more loudly than your friend is currently speaking. You also wouldn't say "increase your voice", since the verb "increase" only makes sense with things that vary quantitatively, and English doesn't normally regard a person's voice as a quantity. (But we do say "Raise your voice" to mean speaking in a way that is both loud and angry.)

Very informally, you can say:

Talk louder!

This is a violation of standard grammar, since it treats "louder" as an adverb. The nonstandardness adds rhetorical effect. "Talk" is also a less formal word than "speak".


Here is how you can ask to change the volume of the loudspeaker:

Please raise the volume.

Please turn up the volume.

Please turn up the music.

Please increase the volume.

You wouldn't say "amplify the volume" because "amplify" means to increase the amplitude of a signal (that is, an oscillation). You can "amplify sound" and "amplify current" and "amplify voltage", but not volume. Amplifying the sound results in increased volume. Also, "amplify" is a somewhat technical term. In English, it doesn't have the meaning of "enlarge" that its cognates have in the Romance languages.

You wouldn't normally mention the loudspeaker explicitly. Usually if you say "the volume", people will know what you mean. "Loudspeaker" is also a somewhat technical term, used only when needed to prevent some unusual ambiguity. Usually people just say "speaker" (even though this also means a person who speaks).

The phrasal verb "turn up" makes your listener think of a knob, which you turn (usually clockwise) in order to increase the volume. People say "turn up the X" to mean "increase X" even if the control doesn't literally turn, like a slider. Informally, "turn up" can be used very loosely and metaphorically, about almost anything.

Here are some informal ways to say the same thing:

Make it louder!

Turn it up!

The pronoun "it" doesn't have an antecedent because you are assuming that your friend will know what you're referring to.

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We don't normally ask our friends or colleagues to speak louder directly. We normally say something like:

  • Sorry, I can't hear you!

For general requests, remember that it's usually best to put please at the end of the sentence not the beginning. If it's an informal situation, then we don't really need the please necessarily. What's more important to be friendly and polite is to use a modal verb such as could:

  • Could you turn the volume up?
  • Could you turn it up, please?

Best not to say:

  • Please can you turn up the volume.

You might come across as a bit bossy!

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  • I wonder if some of this is British–American difference. "Sorry, I can't hear you!" sounds to me like something a drill sergeant would say to a private in basic training (at least with the exclamation point—but at normal volume, it's not clearly a request, at least without something added). To an American, "Please can you turn up the volume?" sounds gentle and not bossy at all (depending on intonation, of course). Using "Could you…?" to soften the request is the same in America, though.
    – Ben Kovitz
    May 20, 2015 at 15:02
  • @BenKovitz Yes, could be :) May 20, 2015 at 18:25

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