Better Speaking – Part 3

Hi, this is Scott.

In the last (two) videos, I’ve spoken about four areas to focus on if you want to speak better English: improving your pronunciation and intonation, increasing your vocabulary, improving your listening comprehension, and improving your fluency.

Point five is reducing your mistakes. Now, notice I did not say “eliminate your mistakes”, which is impossible, but it is possible to reduce your mistakes. So the question is, “How?”

Many students believe they can reduce their mistakes naturally by speaking, by practicing free conversation. Unfortunately, after years and years of teaching, I have never found this to be true! Students do not improve their mistakes naturally.

In fact, I’ve found an additional problem: students who only practice free conversation tend to have mistakes that are almost permanent, very difficult to correct later on.

Other students believe they can correct their mistakes by traditional grammar, and sometimes this is true. Not always! When it is true, sometimes it’s painful for the student. Fortunately there are alternative ways of teaching some grammar points, and that’s helpful.

But there also needs to be a time where a student can see and/or hear the mistakes that they’re making, look at them, observe them, look for patterns, practice the correct way, and also observe words that go together with other words. Many times there are groups of words that always must be together, and sometimes it helps to observe these types of patterns.

Point 6 is to increase the variety of structures you use when you speak English. Now many people forget this, and this is critically important. If you want to take your spoken English to a higher level, you have to increase the variety of ways that you can express yourself verbally.

Let me give you one very simple example: I need to (verb). Now, this is correct.
I need to go.
I need to study.
I need to work.

But after a while, if you do not increase other typical varieties, you are limiting yourself! For example,
I need to work.
I have to work.
I should work.
I’ve got to work.
I’ve got to go.
I should go.
I have to go.

These are three other ways of saying something that’s very similar.

This was just one example, but like this, there are many examples, where I just gave you one way, and I turned it into four ways.

This is how to take your spoken English to a higher level, and it is critical to include this in your speaking practice.

Now one of the best ways I can recommend to do this is my course called “Conversation Patterns”.

OK, in my next video, I’m going to talk about typical pronunciation mistakes – that I referred to point one – and give you ways to correct these mistakes.

I’ll look forward to seeing you then. Thank you very much.