Speak English / Speak in English

  • Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    They're both correct.
    The second one is more likely to be used in a situation where people have a multiple variety of languages available to comunicate in, and someone is saying to switch to English for a while.

    Generally for the ability to be able to speak English, you don't use the preposition in.
    If you have the option to speak multiple languages I personally think "Speak English" is a bit hostile, and I would (and do) use the "in English" version when I'm speaking in Italian and maybe it's excluding an English speaker that I don't want to be rude to.
     

    rayne117

    New Member
    English
    If you have the option to speak multiple languages I personally think "Speak English" is a bit hostile

    I thought the same thing. I couldn't see someone saying "Speak English" in any context other than a hostile one. The ", please." at the end does differ the hostility a bit.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    That's interesting. It wouldn't bother me at all as long as the speaker used "please" and a pleasant tone of voice. When people ask me to do this, I don't give a hoot whether they use "in" or not. :)
     

    Alxmrphi

    Senior Member
    UK English
    That's interesting. It wouldn't bother me at all as long as the speaker used "please" and a pleasant tone of voice. When people ask me to do this, I don't give a hoot whether they use "in" or not. :)

    If it was a non-native speaker / learner, and was preceded by a "Can you.." then it wouldn't strike me as being hostile either, you don't think these things when they are said by a learner of English. I was talking about it coming from a native English speaker, and I'm pretty sure rayne was as well.

    This just goes to show you can't expect a conclusive answer without giving any context with the question.
     

    Ian_M

    Banned
    Canadian English
    I agree that the phrase speak english is universally considered pejorative & demeaning & should never be uttered.

    Having said that, the use of the preposition in in like phrases has been largely deprecated over the last 30 to 40 years.

    Personally, I don't mind that. I'm a grammar freak but I'm also a forward looking language junkie.

    Ian
     
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