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Language tip of the week: speak a lot

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. In this series of language tips to accompany the Real Vocabulary theme we look at how you can expand your vocabulary in English by using different words and expressions instead of core vocabulary items.

This week’s tip looks at words and phrases you can use to talk about speaking a lot about unimportant things.



chatter to talk continuously in a fast informal way, usually about unimportant subjects:
Stop chattering and open your books. ♦ She chattered on for twenty minutes while I got ready. ♦ What have you two been chattering about?
prattle (on) or witter (on) to talk in a silly way for a long time about unimportant things:
I was prattling on to your dad, about what we are going to do to the garden. ♦ I don’t know what she was wittering on about. 
rabbit on to talk about something unimportant for a long time, so that people feel bored or annoyed:
What’s Elizabeth rabbiting on about? ♦ Stuart does rabbit on, doesn’t he.
drone on to talk about something for a long time in a very boring way:
The lecturer’s voice droned on and on, and eventually I fell asleep. 
go on (and on) to speak repeatedly about something in a way that people find boring and annoying:
He just went on and on about how I had to try to be more punctual. ♦ Ministers are always going on about social responsibility.

Witter and rabbit on are informal and are used in British English.

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more verbs and phrases meaning ‘to speak a lot‘.

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Liz Potter

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