Wondering why people often use “looking forward to speaking with you” in business correspondence?
Or, are you simply aiming to confirm whether the expression is grammatically sound?
Come aboard! Today, we’ll take you on a cruise that will let you discover the nitty-gritty behind “looking forward to speaking with you.”
Let’s sail away now.
Is “looking forward to speaking with you” correct?
Although many non-native English language users get confused at the sentence structure of “looking forward to speaking with you,” this is actually grammatically correct, not to mention native-like. This expression is used to convey one’s anticipation or excitement towards an upcoming event.
A grammatical background on “looking forward to speaking with you”
“Looking forward to speaking with you” is the trimmed or shortened version of “I am looking forward to speaking with you.”
This means that the subject “I” and the linking verb “am” can be removed for communicative convenience.
Bearing this in mind, we can deduce that “looking forward to” is part of the verb phrase in the complete sentence structure.
Whereas, “speaking with you” acts as the object in the statement.
That said, let us dissect the entire expression to understand how it is formed.
“To look forward to” is a fixed phrasal verb
“Looking forward to” is the progressive form of the phrasal verb “to look forward to,” which means to anticipate or be excited about something.
Phrasal verbs are verbs made up of two or more words but are interpreted with a single holistic meaning.
The entire meaning of a phrasal verb is often indirectly related to the individual words it is made up of.
And therefore, it can also be regarded as idiomatic because of the alteration in its literal meaning.
The isolated and literal meaning of the infinitive verb “to look” is to use one’s eyes to stare or gaze in a particular direction.
While the polysemic word “forward” makes us think of the future, the direction towards the relative frontal space, or even a person playing an offensive position in sports.
And, the function word “to” is mainly used as a preposition to express a movement towards a direction or location.
“To look forward to” is an example of a phrasal verb more particularly called a phrasal-prepositional verb type which is made up of a neutrally formal verb, a particle, and a preposition.
This expression’s holistic unit of meaning refers to having a sense of expectation, excitement, or anticipation towards an event or an act that will happen in the future.
That said, it is technically impossible to “look forward” to anything that already happened in the past, not unless you’re getting into a time machine.
“Speaking with you” as a noun phrase
The second part of the expression is “speaking with you,” which acts as the object in the truncated sentence that we are discussing.
“Speaking” is used as a gerund, which is a verb masquerading as a noun that is useful in “naming” rather than “expressing” actions.
Hence, the noun phrase “speaking with you” is the state of having a conversation with a person or a group of people.
Using “speaking” as a verb means expressing the act of talking continuously with someone.
However, using “speaking” as a noun would look like this.
An easy hack to understanding the grammaticality of “looking forward to speaking with you” is to simply think of the second example above.
Speaking “with” vs. Speaking “to” you
Another typical concern about the expression “looking forward to speaking with you” is the difference between the prepositions “to” and “with.”
First, it is essential to note that using either “to” or “with” is grammatically correct, as both are found to be used in both British and American Englishes. However, the British people lean more toward using “to,” whereas “with” is more prevalent in American English.
That said, the existing context can be considered when deciding when to use which.
Another notable distinction, and only if we try to distinguish the mentioned prepositions strictly, is that “to” suggests a unidirectional act, and “with” suggests a bidirectional one.
In light of this, we can say that using “with” suggests a more personal tonality than “to” because of the sense of “accompaniment” that it denotes.
But, also note that using “to” instead of “with” does not, in any way, mean that the addressee is prohibited to talk back.
The reason behind the grammatical confusion on “looking forward to speaking with you”
Apparently enough, the confusion is coming from the combination of the rather advanced linguistic characteristics of the verbiage at hand.
The combined effects of sentence truncation, figurative meaning and structure of the phrasal verb, as well as the usage of gerund, often make non-native English users cringe.
Most, if not all the time, the perplexity is experienced rather by non-native speakers of English, which is incredibly natural, too.
As language structures normally differ from one language to another, as well as every language user’s sense of universal grammar, the grammatical uncertainty is but normal.
“Looking forward to speaking with you” and its formality level
Removing sentence parts is a characteristic of informal language register, which means doing so renders a casual tonality to any statement, including the one being discussed.
So, using the complete sentence format increases the formality of the statement.
Using phrasal verbs is also regarded as a feature of the informal language register, but “to look forward to” is quite an exception.
Although “to look forward to” is a phrasal verb, it is generally treated as neutrally formal in English, which is even more like a default expression in conveying anticipation.
One reason for this is that the advent of technology is making communication a lot easier, and hence, business correspondence is meanwhile becoming less and less rigid than ever.
Alternative expressions to “looking forward to speaking with you”
Sometimes, using mundane, formulaic expressions like “looking forward to speaking with you” gets boring.
Other than that, repetitive and excessive use of the same verbiage may also suggest emotional coldness, or put simply, it sounds artificial.
So, here are some handy alternatives to “looking forward to speaking with you” to get you going.
Looking forward to talking to you
“Looking forward to talking to you” is a more frequently used expression than “looking forward to speaking with you.”
“Talking” is a more casual alternative than “speaking,” so using this alternative thereby means decreasing the formality level as well.
Again, “to” may suggest a unidirectional interaction, so we could make use of this expression in future discussions entailing more speaking time on the messenger’s end.
Looking forward to meeting you
If you’re a bit hesitant about using “talking,” you can simply change it into “meeting,” especially if you’re not expecting to really talk with the person.
We can do this when messaging someone who may or may not be available at the indicated period, just like in the next example.
Excited to speak with you
One last alternative is “I am excited to speak with you,” in which “excited” contains a more personal connotation than “to look forward to,” yet the use of “speak” rather than “talk” is formal.
We may use this if we want to deliberately strike a balance between a formal and personal tone, especially when the relationship with the receiver is neither too close nor too distant.
Note that we must not use “speaking with you,” as we are not dealing with a phrasal verb in this expression anymore.
Frequently Asked Questions on “Looking Forward to Speaking With You”
How do I say I look forward to an interview?
First, you can thank the person inviting you to the interview, and then express your anticipation together with the interviewer’s name. “Thank you for this opportunity, (recruiter’s name). I look forward to meeting (interviewer’s name) soon.”
What does “looking forward to connecting with you” mean?
“Looking forward to connecting with you” is a common message found in connection notes on online social media platforms. This message is often used upon or before trying to send a connection request to another person, especially someone whom you do not personally know.
What is a more formal synonym of “looking forward to talking to you”?
“I am looking forward to speaking with you” is a more formal expression than “looking forward to talking to you.” Filling in “I am” and changing “talking” into “speaking” makes it more formal, yet still neutrally sounding.
Convenience comes with a price, and that price is the confusion about the expression “looking forward to speaking with you.”
Of course, this doesn’t mean that native speakers are to be blamed for wanting and trying to make communication less taxing.
Don’t worry, practice makes it permanent; the more you get to know the language by actually using it, the more you get better at it.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.