Here are nine phrasal verbs with TALK: talk about, talk around/round, talk at, talk back, talk into, talk out, talk over, talk through, and talk up.


Talk about (doing something)

1.   (inseparable) To talk about or make plans to do something in the future.
  • “We’ve been talking about taking a year off to go travelling.”
  • “He was talking about getting a new car last year, but I guess he changed his mind.”
Preposition: About – Concerning or on the subject of. 

This can be used to refer to subjects or somebody as a topic.

  • “The lecturer talked about how to submit our assignments yesterday.”
  • “My colleagues always like to talk about other people behind their backs.”

Talk around/round

“Talk around” is American English, and “talk round” is British English.

1.   “Talk (somebody) around/round” – (separated) To persuade someone to agree to something.
  • “She’s not convinced but I think I might be able to talk her around.”
  • “I was hoping to talk Wally round to agreeing to the new policies.”
Similar phrasal verbs: “Talk around/round” or “Come around/round”

A similar phrasal verb is “come around/round,” which means to change your opinion of something.

To me, this is more common than “talk around.”

However the structure with “come around” is different because it is an intransitive phrasal verb and is used to describe a person’s change of mind rather than someone persuading another person.

  • “I’ll talk her around to the changes.”
    This means I will persuade her to agree to the changes.
  • “She’ll come around to the changes.”
    This means that she will change her mind regarding the changes.
  • 2.   “Talk around/round (something)” – (inseparable) To avoid speaking directly about something.
    • “In our last meeting, it felt like we were talking around the issues rather than addressing them properly.”
    • “Why does it feel like we’re talking round the problem?”
    Similar phrasal verbs: “Talk around/round” or “Beat around/about the bush”

    “Beat around/about the bush” means to avoid talking about what is important or to avoid giving a definite answer. This is often used in the negative.

    To me, this is more common and also more direct than “talk around” because it is often used as an imperative.

    • “Stop beating around the bush and tell me the truth.”

    Talk at (somebody)

    1. (inseparable) To speak to someone without listening to that person, or to speak to someone in a way that indicates a response is unwanted or not desired.

    This is considered negative because to talk at someone is an indication of poor communication – the conversation is one-sided rather than a two-way conversation. It usually implies the person talking is arrogant, self-centred or narrow-minded.

    • “My date kept rambling on about himself – he just kept talking at me the whole time.”
    • “Our supervisor just talked at us, so I didn’t get to ask any questions.”
    Preposition: AT – A particular place or position or to express the time of an event.
    • “I was given the opportunity to talk at next year’s conference.”
    • “They both began to talk at the same time.”

    Talk back

    1. (intransitive) To answer someone in a rude way.

    This is often used to describe children who are rude to their parents, or other people in authority like a teacher or a principal.

    • “I don’t tolerate children who talk back.”
    • “He got in serious trouble when he talked back to his teacher.”
    Similar expressions: “Talk back” or “Answer back”

    You can also use “answer back” to mean the same thing. However, this can be separated.

    • “I can’t believe he answered me back.”
    • “I can’t believe he answered back.”

    Talk (somebody) into (something)

    1.   (separated) To persuade someone to do something, usually something that they are not willing to.
    • “I hate it when salesman try to talk you into buying something you don’t want.”
    • “I got talked into joining the gym the other day and I already regret it.”
    Similar phrasal verbs: “Talk into” or “Talk around/round”

    “Talk around/round” means to agree with an idea or a point of view, even though it is often used to refer to agreeing to do something. 

    “Talk into” usually refers to doing something.

  • “Wally talked her into buying a new car.”
    This implies that Wally persuaded her to actually buying a new car.
  • “Wally talked her around to buying a new car.”
    This implies that Wally persuaded her to the idea of buying a new car. However this could also be used to mean that she was persuaded to actually buying it.

  • Talk out

    1.   “Talk (somebody) out of (something)” – To persuade someone not to do something.
    • “Their parents talked them out of wanting to get married after only dating for two months.”
    • “Eve was able to talk him out of quitting his job.”
    2.   “Talk (something) out” – (separable) To discuss something with someone to resolve, settle, or find a solution to it.
    • “We were able to talk out our problems and reach an understanding.”
    • “I have to talk things out with my mum before things get worse.”

    Talk over

    1.   “Talk over (someone)” – (separable) To persuade someone to adopt one’s position, opinion or point of view.

    This is considered American English. To me, this use is not that common.

    • “We’re hoping to talk our boss over to our idea.”
    • “I’ve spent the last few months talking him over to our side and he hasn’t budged.”
    2.   “Talk (something) over” – (separated) To discuss something.
    • “We tried to talk over what happened the other day but we started arguing again.”
    • “I’d like to talk this over with my partner first.”
    Similar phrasal verbs: “Talk over” or “Talk out”

    “Talk something out” implies an intention to resolve or settle something, kind of like reaching a conclusion.

    “Talk over” implies a conversation or a discussion, even though this can be used to refer to resolving or settling something.

  • “I’d like to talk this over with my partner.”
    This implies I want to talk about or discuss something with the possibility of resolving or settling something.
  • “I’d like to talk this out with my partner.”
    This implies I want to resolve or settle something with my partner..
  • Preposition: OVER – At a higher volume or pitch. 

    You can use this to refer to talking louder or over something or someone.

    • “They spent their whole date talking over the music.”
    • “It’s common for teachers to have to talk over kids, especially when they get excited or start talking to each other.”

    Talk through

    1.   “Talk (somebody) through (something)” – To explain something in detail to help someone to understand or do something.
    • “The project manager talked us through the entire project – from initiation, planning, execution, monitoring to closing.
    • “Can you talk me through how to set it up again?”
    2.   “Talk (something) through” – (separable) To have a detailed discussion with someone.
    • “Have you talked this through with your partner?”
    • “It’s important to talk through your issues before you make the wrong decision.”
    Similar phrasal verbs: “Talk through” or “Talk over”

    “Talk over” means “to discuss something.”

    Although they can be used interchangeably, “talk through” implies something more detailed.

    • “I’ll talk this through with my husband.”
    • “I’ll talk this over with my husband.”

    Talk up

    1.   (separable) To speak with enthusiasm about something, sometimes to make it seem better than it really is.

    Although this is usually not separated, it is separated when pronouns are used.

    • “It’s part of an actor’s job to talk up any project they’re a part of.”
    • “I know it’s part of his job but he’s constantly talking himself up.”
    2.   (intransitive) To voice one’s opinions freely or to raise one’s voice. 
    • “It’s important to talk up if you have any objections.”
    Similar phrasal verbs: “Talk up” or “Speak up”

    Another phrasal with the same meaning is “speak up.” This is also more common.

    • “It’s important to speak up if you have any objections.”
    3.   (separable) To cause the price or value of a particular investment to increase by publicly discussing it or the factors that affect it.
    • “Economists are talking up the oil prices again by discussing the oil shortage.”
    4.   (separable) To persuade someone to pay more than they originally offered or wanted to.
    • “The vendor tried to talk the price up, but Wally wouldn’t budge.”

    “Talk about (something)” 
    – (informal idiom) Used as a short commentary to emphasise that something is very noticeable or extreme.

    • “I went to see them live once. Talk about wild performances!”

    “Talk up a storm” 
    – (informal American expression) To talk enthusiastically or with a lot of energy.

    The actual phrase is a “verb” followed by “up a storm.” So variations can be things like “cook up a storm” or “write up a storm,” which generally means to do something with a lot of energy.

    • “After they completed the project and had a few drinks, they talked up a storm the whole night.”

    “Talk some sense into (somebody)” 
    – (idiom) To help someone to stop thinking or behaving foolishly, or think about a situation in a reasonable way.

    • “Mum’s been trying to talk some sense into her for months.”
    • “Dad finally talked some sense into Wally and he agreed to stop drinking so much.”

    “Talk your way out of (something)” 
    – (idiom) To avoid doing something or to get out of a difficult situation by charming or persuasive speech.

    • “Don’t try to talk your way out of doing the chores today.”
    • “You could try talking your way out of being the best man.”

    Original posts: 14 April 2021