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Look at these two newspaper article titles(I know you must be thinking that the first one no journalist would write this way):

1: "Klopp talks about what went wrong with his team".
2: "Klopp opens up on what went wrong with his team".

What is the nuance difference between using ''open up'' instead of ''talk about'' or ''comments on'' in this newspaper article? The closest Cambridge Dictionary definition to ''open up'' on this subject is ''talk about yourself and your feelings''. I happened to see other examples with this sentence number 2: ''The guy opens up on what went wrong with a certain person '' and that person didn't even have anything to do with his life, because usually we open up our feelings about something that is part of of our lives, which left me wondering about the nuance of ''open up'' in this specific context.

Is “open up” restricted to feelings or may it also apply to facts?

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    You would probably be less unloved if you included what your research discovered about these terms.
    – tchrist
    Jan 16, 2023 at 1:10
  • @tchrist nicely put. We should be kind to new questioners.
    – Anton
    Jan 16, 2023 at 14:22
  • @Anton And would you be so kind as to answer me if there is any expression that is synonymous with ''open up'' for this headline? I think this will make it easier for me to understand.
    – Southman
    Jan 16, 2023 at 15:40
  • Here's a link to a newspaper article doing this: Jurgen Klopp opens up on Liverpool problem as Roberto de Zerbi's dressing room message revealed.
    – tchrist
    Jan 16, 2023 at 20:46
  • @tchrist I think the biggest thing I learned on this subject would be that this is one of the many lessons of when not to use ''talk''.
    – Southman
    Jan 17, 2023 at 1:23

1 Answer 1

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open up ontalk about

Do these two newspaper article titles have the same meaning?

No, not at all. They use different words: they therefore mean different things. In this case, one is more specific than the other is in its nuance and connotation.

Any good dictionary should tell you what those are. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to the best dictionaries, so I’ll go over this here.

To talk (about) something is much broader than to open up (on, about) something is. To talk about simply means to discuss something during some conversation or presentation.

In contrast, the OED gives this for open up:

2b. transitive. To disclose, to unburden oneself of; to bring to attention, reveal. Also: to raise for discussion (and leave unsettled).

2c. intransitive. To become accessible or available for passage, view, enterprise, etc. (usually with the implication of the removal of an obstruction).

2d. intransitive. To talk; esp. to declare one's thoughts or feelings, to unburden oneself.

When you open up about something, then that something had been closed off and hidden away.

Talking about matters has no such inherent nuance. It derives from the most basic sense of talk, which the OED gives as this, with a note about the colloquial use of talk about:

1a. To convey or exchange ideas, thoughts, information, etc. by means of speech, especially the familiar speech of ordinary intercourse; ‘to speak in conversation’ (Johnson); to converse.

talk about…, often used colloquially to contrast something already mentioned with something still more striking; don’t talk to me about (something), an exclamation against some new topic of conversation of which one has bitter personal experience.

The italic and bold given above are in the original; I have not added them myself to draw attention to those parts.

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  • But, what is the nuance difference between using ''open up'' instead of ''talk about'' in this newspaper article? The closest Cambridge Dictionary definition to ''open up'' on this subject is ''talk about yourself and your feelings''. I happened to see other examples with this sentence number 2: ''The guy opens up on what went wrong with a certain person '' and that person didn't even have anything to do with his life, because usually we open up our feelings about something that is part of of our lives, which left me wondering about the nuance of ''open up'' in this specific context.
    – Southman
    Jan 16, 2023 at 1:40
  • @Southman I don't blame you one bit for wondering, because I have not come across that before either.
    – tchrist
    Jan 16, 2023 at 2:31
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    The implication of (2) is that Klopp talked very openly and honestly about what he felt had gone wrong with his team. We can 'open up' about ourselves or about a situation that closely affects us. Jan 16, 2023 at 9:01
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    It might be unusual for a manager to discuss issues about team performance or to reveal what went on behind the scenes. Hence "opening up" in the sense of revealing normally hidden things.
    – Stuart F
    Jan 16, 2023 at 11:00
  • Is there any expression that is synonymous with ''open up'' for this headline? I think this will make it easier for me to understand.
    – Southman
    Jan 16, 2023 at 13:44

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