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Language tip of the week: speak quietly

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 quietly.



speak softly/quietly:
He spoke so softly it was difficult to hear what he said. ♦ Moira spoke quietly to the young woman.
whisper to say something very quietly so that other people cannot hear you, or so that only certain people can hear you:
‘When can I see you again?’ he whispered. ♦ Stop whispering, you two. ♦ She whispered something in my ear.
mumble to speak in a way that is not loud or clear enough, so that people have difficulty understanding you:
I do wish you’d stop mumbling. ♦ He mumbled something about not wanting to go to school.
murmur to speak very quietly:
Frances murmured an apology as she left. ♦ He was murmuring in her ear.
mutter to talk in a quiet voice that is difficult to hear, especially because you are annoyed, embarrassed, or talking to yourself:
He muttered something about an appointment and left. ♦ ‘That’s a matter of opinion,’ she muttered under her breath. ♦ The old man walked off, muttering to himself

Did you know that Macmillan Dictionary includes a full thesaurus? This page lists more synonyms for the verb ‘whisper‘.

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Liz Potter

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