Speak English.
Speak in English.

Which one is correct?

Please tell me. I don't know how to define them. I don't know which sentence is correct.


3 Answers 3


Both are okay. ELU link for the same question is here (thanks v kumar)

However, the nuance I see is someone speaks English represents a statement as in...

He speaks English

And, someone, speak in English looks more like an advice, suggestion or the like. As in...

Hey, speak in English.

But again, as ELU site states, both are practically fine.

Note: Indian English is fine with 'Speak in [any language]'.


It's "Speak English". E.g "Will I be ok with the language when I go to The Netherlands. Yes, they all speak English.".

"Speak in English" is grammatically correct, but you'll stand out as not being a native speaker. However, "Write in English" is preferred over "Write English"

  • @MaulikV - I will bow to your superior English skills and concede you must be right. From now on I will say 'Speak in (language)'. I only have 48 years as a native English speaker so thanks for correcting me and marking down my post.
    – Steve Ives
    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:37
  • not at all... I stand nowhere to the natives. It's just that I have heard it, read it, and practiced it too commonly. My downvote is solely as the answer says 'it's this' which means the other thing is incorrect. No bitter note at all!
    – Maulik V
    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:38
  • Ok - I didn't mean that the other answer is wrong and you will be understood if you say 'Speak in English', but you'll sound much more natural if you say 'Speak English', whether as a request "Can you speak English, please?" or a statement "He speaks English", "They speak English", "They are speaking English" etc.
    – Steve Ives
    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:43
  • You might use "in" with a language as follows : "The book is written in English", "The instructions are in English", "The interview will be in English".
    – Steve Ives
    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:46
  • True that, kindly mention the same in this answer. And, I retract the vote.... :)
    – Maulik V
    Jul 6, 2015 at 10:46

I speak English and German. But, at home I usually speak "in English" with my kids as they don't know German very well. I think I should get my kids more books written "in English".

The first sentence indicates my "competency", and the second one my "preference".

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