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Which of the following sentences is correct, and what is the difference in their meaning?

I'll talk with Stuart and get back to you.

I'll talk to Stuart and get back to you.

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Talk with theoretically implies a dialogue, talk to implies a monologue.

I talked with my family and we've decided to buy a new car.

-> We had a conversation about whether we need a car.

I found out my son is smoking, so I talked to him. I hope my words will change the way he thinks.

-> I was talking to him and he listened to what I said.

Talk to can result in a dialogue, of course, but marks the initial intention of a serious monologue, like:

I'm going to talk to my boss today and ask for a raise.

-> I will go to his office, give a serious speech and hopefully it will result in a rational dialogue.

We're having a party tonight and my boss will be there, so I'm sure I'll talk with him a lot.

-> We will have a casual conversation, but nothing too serious I'd like to give a speech about.

Another example would be:

My conscience talks to me.

-> Because it usually tells you what to do. You never have a conversation with it, therefore you never hear this:

My conscience talks with me.

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+1: Mostly I agree, but wouldn't say this is an ironclad distinction. There is a lot of overlap between the two. – Robusto Sep 26 '11 at 13:41

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