# Talk about [discuss, talk over] vs. refer [make reference]:

#### hhtt

##### Senior Member
Refer: mention, make reference to [from wordweb]
Talk about: Discuss or mention, talk of [from wordweb]
Talk over:to discuss or chat about (a topic) [from wordreference.com, English definition]

The notion of limit is rather complicated. In fact, mathematicians talked about limits for centuries before they were able to define the concept clearly. Even the ancient Greeks had some feeling for limits; for example, Archimedes found an approximation of the value of 2pi as the "limit" of the perimeters of regular polygons inscribed in a circle of radius 1 by letting the number of sides grow without bound.

Hi, In the above context can we use refer instead "talk about" i.e " In fact, mathematicians referred to limits for centuries before they were able to define the concept clearly."
Source of context:Calculus with analytic geometry by Robert Ellis and Denny Gulick.

Thank you.

• #### Rachelespanol+francais

##### Member
I'm a bit confused here, what would you like help on?

Do you want to know the meaning or the differences?

Thanks

#### hhtt

##### Senior Member
I'm a bit confused here, what would you like help on?

Do you want to know the meaning or the differences?

Thanks
Can we say "In fact, mathematicians referred to limits for centuries before they were able to define the concept clearly." instead of "In fact, mathematicians talked about limits for centuries before they were able to define the concept clearly." which is the original.

Mean while would you like to correct my first post if I formed the question and explanation in a confusing way?

Thank you.

#### Rachelespanol+francais

##### Member
Hi,

It depends - "referred to" in this context implies that they used these "limits" instead of just talking about them.

(Unless we know for certain, I wouldn't change it)

For the question I would just write "Are referred to and talked about interchangeable....?" OR "Can I use either....?"
Then go into a bit more detail in your question.

TIP: you do not normally have to include definitions because people can look them up if they do not know
& If you are quoting a source use speech marks or say - "source:"

#### Andygc

##### Senior Member
No, you can't. "Refer" does not mean "discuss", which is what "talk about" means in your sentence. Indeed, "talk about" doesn't mean "mention". When you talk about something it is the topic of your conversation. During the conversation you may mention something else and that mention might involve referring to another piece of information.

"They were talking about cars. Then John mentioned that his wife hated driving and, talking about her problems, Mike referred to something he had read in a newspaper about car phobias."

PS Don't stop posting the definitions you are using, hhtt. As you know, we like you to do that.

#### hhtt

##### Senior Member
(Unless we know for certain, I wouldn't change it) .
What do you mean by "unless we know for certain, I would'nt change it"? Would you like to expand your this sentence by clearly explaining "for certain" and "it" in "I wouldn't change it

Thank you.

#### Rachelespanol+francais

##### Member
Hi hhtt

It would take the advice of Andygc.
It's better to form your own answer from lots of people's answers but in this case Andygc seems to understand your case more than myself.

Sorry for any confusion caused, I try my best.

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