Word Choice – Talked To Versus Spoke To

A BizWritingTip reader asked me to explain the difference between talked to and spoke to.

Both words are the past tenses of words with similar meanings.

Spoke to means “held a conversation with.” Talked to means “communicated ideas, information, or feelings in spoken words.”

However, talked to is deemed a little more forceful as it implies more of a one-sided conversation. Spoke to conveys the impression of a dialogue.


I talked to him about the poor quality of his work. (conveyed information)

I spoke to them regarding the department’s reorganization and how it would affect them. (sought information)