In today’s post, I would like to talk about phrases that you should stop using as soon as possible if you want to sound more like native speakers.
Now native speakers are those people whose mother language is English and they are either from the Unites States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia and perhaps Canada.
So let’s go!
Expression # 1: How to say?
Every time when I ask students a question they get stuck in the middle of their conversation by saying “How to say?” which shows they are translating their thoughts from their mother language into English. It is not the best thing to do because it takes a lot of time for you to translate everything. And please remember that because you have been using your mother language since your childhood it is at least Upper-Intermediate level while the level of your English can be quite low comparatively. Native speakers usually use phrases such as “Mmm… let me think”, “Well, it all depends on …”, “As far as I remember …”, “Believe it or not but …”, “Take my tip …”, “On the one hand …”, “On the other hand …”, “To the best of my belief …” and so on.
Bottom line: be more creative with your language.
Expression # 2: I don’t know
This is perhaps quickest reaction when someone asks someone a question. Well, maybe it better to take some time and think twice before jumping up to say “I don’t know” because most of the time when you say that you do not know you actually know. But it is reflexive to say “I don’t know” in order to get rid of the question or the person who asks a question. So do not say you do not know that quickly except the situations when you really do not know. It sounds really and really not intelligent. And on the top of everything keep it in mind that when you speak to your teacher, he/she does not ask you the questions to which you do not know the answer. All you have to do is to listen carefully, digest, analyze and formulate your answer as soon as possible.
Bottom line: think, think and think before you say you don’t know.
Expression # 3: If I am correct
Ou… Gosh no… what if you are not correct?! It is not normal for native speakers to say “If I am correct” and this phrase usually circulates among the students who are learning English in an environment where English is not spoken every day. This shows that you are not confident enough. If I were you I would say “As far as I know …”, “As far as I remember…”, “To the best of my knowledge …” and etc. So now you know it and please make sure that you do not use it in your speech starting from today and I am sure you will soon start speaking English more like native speakers would.
Bottom line: open your speech with more confident intonation.
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See you later alligator! :)