Think back to a time when you first met someone, and you perhaps wanted to tell them you would like to speak to them again. To communicate this sentiment, you might use the phrase “Looking forward to talking to you.”
It is perfectly acceptable to say “Looking forward to talking to you” to someone when you eagerly anticipate talking to or meeting them again in the future. This phrase would be especially appropriate when you would like to follow up on something that you have discussed briefly, requiring a further conversation at a later stage.
In this article, we will look at how English speakers use this expression. We will also see that the verbs “to talk” and “to speak” could mean the same thing, yet they also have subtly different meanings depending on how we use the words. We can also pair “talk” with many other prepositions to express different ideas.
When to Use “Looking Forward to Talking to You”
We can use the expression “looking forward to talking to you” in many contexts. Just to be clear, “I look forward to” and “(I am) looking forward to” are both correct, and both mean the same thing.
The difference is that “I look forward to” is the simple present tense and tends to be a more formal way of saying this, while “(I’m) looking forward to” is present continuous tense, and we use this more commonly in more informal speech and writing.
Talk vs. Speak
In a previous article, “I Look Forward to Speaking with You,” we briefly discussed the small differences in meaning between the verbs “to talk” and “to speak.”
Both verbs mean much the same thing: to utter words during that all-too-human function of using language to communicate with others.
We understand “talk” and “speak” as synonyms, which means that they are words of similar meaning that we can typically use interchangeably.
However, as you develop an “ear” for the language, in other words, as the sounds and rhythms of speaking English become more familiar to you, you will begin to “hear” that one of these words sounds better in a certain context than the other.
For example, if you are struggling to hear someone on the telephone, you would say, “Can you speak up, please?” A native English speaker would never say, “Can you talk up, please?”
“Looking forward” to something always eagerly anticipates another similar event in the future. So, for example, one might say at the end of the first meeting with a new acquaintance:
I’ve always wanted to hike in the Himalayas myself. I’m looking forward to talking to you again about your trip to Nepal.
And your new friend might reply:
Great. I’m also looking forward to talking to you about my trip. Shall we meet at O’Malley’s on Thursday at seven?
Or, in another context, towards the end of a successful job interview, the job applicant might say to the interviewer:
I’m looking forward to talking to you about my experience working in a retail store during my summer vacations.
To which the interviewer might respond:
I’m looking forward to talking to you, too. I’m sure that there is a lot we can learn from your experience.
Both interactions signal a positive desire to meet and talk again in the future. In fact, your new friend has already suggested a date at O’Malley’s, and the prospects are looking good that the interviewer will call you again about a job offer.
The Difference Between Talking to You and Speaking to You
Many see the interchangeable “speaking to you” instead of “talking to you” as a little more formal in spoken and written English, but, essentially, it says the same thing as “talking to you” (source).
Similarly, many are of the opinion that “talking (or speaking) with you” is a more inclusive way of making the listener feel that this is a dialogue.
This inclusion makes it a two-way conversation in which both people participate equally, rather than a top-down lecture in which one person talks or “tells” another person something while the other person remains a passive listener.
Some note that “talking” or “speaking” with someone is also more common in American English rather than British English (source).
Nevertheless, the Oxford English Dictionary is clear that we may use “talk” (and “speak”) in equal measure with “to” or “with” (source).
Let’s look at the different parts of speech in the sentence “Looking forward to talking to you.” We use parts of speech to refer to the different grammatical functions of various words in sentences.
We can see that the words “to” and “with” both function here as prepositions, linking a noun or pronoun — “you” in our topic sentence — to another word, in this case, to the verb “talk.”
Using “Looking Forward to Talking to You”
Going back to our topic phrase, “Looking forward to talking to you” is one of those throw-away expressions we use towards the end of a conversation.
We might say it in the same way that we part company with the equally vague expression, “We should get together for coffee sometime,” knowing full well that it may not happen.
So, we might better phrase the expression to say exactly what you mean.
In this day and age of “get-up-and-go,” we frequently prefer a call to action in both written and spoken interactions. So, if we really do look forward to talking again, why not plan to do so by saying something like the following:
I’m looking forward to talking to you. Let’s meet for lunch on Saturday at the Green Vine. Does 12:30 suit you?
I’d like to take our discussion further. Call me tomorrow. Looking forward to talking to you.
It’s been good to meet you. Looking forward to talking to you again next week at the seminar.
I have to go now, but we must speak again when I get back from my meeting. Looking forward to talking to you.
We’ve got so much to catch up on. I’ll call you on the weekend. Looking forward to talking to you.
If the feeling of anticipation is mutual, you can expect a positive response from whoever it is that you’re talking to.
Also, by providing a firm commitment to meet again, you have shown yourself to be an assertive, forward-thinking, organized type of person too.
How Meaning Changes with Different Prepositions
When considering the role of prepositions, the verb “to talk” starts to get interesting or confusing, depending on your level of ability and patience with a new language.
There are a number of other ways in which we may link “talk” to other prepositions and adverbs to give different meanings to the phrase.
Starting with “talk to,” we may also use the phrase to scold, reprimand, or rebuke someone for something they have done wrong. For example, a schoolteacher may report that:
I had a talk to (i.e., reprimand) Tyrone about his absence from school yesterday.
Someone might use the phrase in the same sense of “to scold” or reprimand when they say:
I gave her a good talking to about staying out late on Saturday night.
We might attach quite the opposite meaning to the phrase “to talk over” something, which means to discuss something cooperatively and reasonably, as in this sentence:
We talked over whether we should share an apartment together.
Talk ’round or Talk round
English can be a puzzling language, too, especially when you come across expressions like “talk ‘round” and “talk around,” only to discover that the two expressions have subtly different meanings.
To “talk ‘round” means to persuade someone to change their opinion. Here’s an example:
Ben doesn’t like the idea at all, but I will talk him ‘round to seeing our point of view.
“Talk…into” in this sense has the same meaning as to “talk ‘round”:
I eventually talked her into going to the movie with me, even though she didn’t really want to see a horror film.
On the other hand, to “talk around” is to discuss a subject, perhaps more informally or superficially, without arriving at a clear conclusion or consensus.
Usually, this suggests avoidance of the subject and skirting the main issues due to some sensitivity or embarrassment, as in:
We talked around the subject of moving in together, but neither of us mentioned the word marriage.
“Talk of” also has a couple of different meanings, depending on the context:
There’s talk of a rise in the gold price, but I think it’s only a rumor.
In the sentence above, we should understand that I don’t really believe what I hear about a rise in the gold price in the marketplace.
We can also use the same expression “to talk of” in the same sense of “to talk over” in the above example, which means that one is discussing something. For example:
Beth and I are talking of selling the house and buying a yacht instead.
However, it would be better to say “talking about” in this instance.
Talked down and Talked up
Two other talk-related expressions with interesting idiomatic meanings are to “talk down” and to “talk up.” We might use “talk down” in three different ways. The first meaning is to silence by loud and persistent talking, as in:
Any hecklers in the audience were talked down by the loud-mouthed politician.
A second meaning is to talk to someone in a patronizing way:
It is never a good idea to talk down to young children by using baby-talk.
And yet a third meaning, but a more literal one, is to guide a pilot and his aircraft into a safe landing by radio:
The skilled air traffic controller was able to talk down the disabled aircraft despite the thick fog.
To “talk up” may also have a few different meanings. It can mean to promote favorably, as in:
The enthusiastic salesperson talked up the benefits of buying the washing machine before the expected price increase.
More literally, to “talk up” can also mean to say what’s on your mind. In this sense, however, the more common usage would be to “speak up,” as in this sentence:
If you have any objections to the idea, please feel free to talk up.
“Talking” in Idioms
English is well-known — and probably frowned upon by some non-English speakers — for not saying what it means, at least in a literal sense. We call such non-literal meanings idioms, where the meaning of the expression is not related to the meaning of the words used to make up the expression.
So, if I tell you that you are “talking through your hat,” I don’t mean that your voice is muffled because you’re covering your mouth with your hat. I mean that you’re talking nonsense.
Almost the opposite of talking through your hat is to “talk turkey,” which means to get down to business and talk about practical issues.
We can also “talk of the Devil,” and he is bound to appear, when someone we’ve just mentioned in conversation shows up unexpectedly. And although “money talks,” in other words, has influence, “talk is cheap,” meaning it is easier to say than to do something (source).
This article was written for strategiesforparents.com.
As puzzling as they may appear to be to the English language student, all of these expressions add to the texture and color of the language by painting pictures that add to the richness of the way we can express ourselves.
It is grammatically correct to use the phrase “looking forward to talking to you” as it is an expression of interest in meeting someone again to continue a conversation. Someone usually says this when they’ve already made some arrangement to do so.
Many often use the expression in its literal meaning, “I really do want to continue this conversation.” Still, they could also use it idiomatically to end a conversation on an upbeat but vague note that says, “It’s been nice talking to you, but it’s now time to move along.”
Either way, you’ll probably be happy to see each other again when, and if, you ever meet again.
I Look Forward to Speaking with You: Proper Grammar and Usage
Sunday 14th of March 2021
[…] There are subtle differences between the words “speak” and “talk,” and that is why there is an entirely separate discussion on the grammatical correctness of the phrase “I look forward to talking to you.” […]