On a package of tea I found a sentence as follows:

If you have any questions, feedback or are not satisfied with this product, please contact us at our details below and we can talk tea.

This makes me confused since, as far as I know, talk is basically an intransitive verb and so it isn't followed directly by an object. If an object follows the verb, it should be followed by a preposition like over or through, as in we talked our problems over; but there is no such preposition in my example above.

Oxford Dictionary of English also provides an usage of the verb with no object: used to emphasise the seriousness, importance, or extent of the thing one is discussing. Considering the context of my example that is related to a product to be discussed, this explanation seems to be the one, though the dictionary only lists up examples where the progressive form is used, like We're talking big money.

  • I can talk sense. I can talk nonsense. I can talk rubbish. I can talk a load of rubbish. I can talk the hind legs off a donkey, if I am in the mood. And I can definitely talk tea. – Nigel J Mar 15 '18 at 3:56

The appropriate definition here, according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), is:

To discourse about, speak of, discuss. Now colloq[uial].

I have no clue why it's not in your dictionary, as it's by no means a new use of the word. In my experience, it's also pretty common. There are several idiomatic expressions that use talk this way:


“We can talk tea” basically means they can talk about tea with anyone who wants to. The different and more formal way of using it would be to place an “about” between talk and tea. Dictionary.com gives a definition for this kind of talk, and it is “to discuss.” In this sentence, talk and discuss are synonymous.


The implied preposition is about, as in:

  • Can we talk about tea?
  • We can talk about tea.

Now it is plain that such verbs, and they form a large proportion of our verbs, are not transitive, and upon their introduction into this language must be followed by prepositions either expressed or implied, as this is the way we compensate for terminations of cases. But the preposition does not appear in Eng.; the conclusion cannot be resisted; it must be suppressed.

I might mention that the Hebrews say, to shake with the head, for shake the head; to open with the mouth, for open the mouth.

Further: prepositions have no power to govern; in Hebrew, they are nouns in derivation; so are they mostly in our language; they cannot govern. The object must have been the subject of an implied preposition; its office is now only that of an adjective.

Rough Notes on the Errors of Grammar, and the Nature of Language, by J. Wilson, c.1858


A humorous take-off on "talk turkey"--speak frankly.

talk turkey phrase of turkey

1. North American informal discuss something frankly and straightforwardly.


  • You should cite your source. – Laurel Mar 15 '18 at 4:33
  • Done. See also "talk turkey" on this website. – Xanne Mar 15 '18 at 5:10

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