Speak for yourself

Speak for yourself is an idiom that has been in use for several hundred years. An idiom is a word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words, or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as in a blue moon, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, chin up, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom speak for yourself, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

The idiom speak for yourself is an idiom that is often used as a retort to someone else’s statement and means that you are not in agreement. For instance, your neighbor may say that he thinks dogs smell bad. You believe dogs smell good, so you say, “Speak for yourself.” Speak for yourself means that the person you are speaking to may have his own opinion, but you have a diverging opinion. Speak for yourself is also used to encourage someone to state his opinion. The idiom speak for yourself has been in use since at least the 1700s to mean that the speaker has a diverging opinion. The idiom has been in use since the 1800s as an encouragement to speak up.


I confessed that sometimes I did harbor some prejudices and that I thought most people did. “Speak for yourself!” He said. (The Muni Diaries)

“Speak for yourself, Taylor. I like movies about people, by people,” retorted Poehler. (USA Today)

One of the hardest is telling your loved ones what your wishes are when it comes to future medical care, should you be unable to speak for yourself. (The Grand River Sachem)

“This is your opportunity to maintain control over your health care, to ensure that you get what you want if you can’t speak for yourself,” said Weddle, a passionate advocate of advance directives. (The Union Leader)

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