The point of English conversation

G’day, how are you going? Today, I am going to talk about the point of English conversation. Just having a conversation with a native speaker isn’t really effective when it comes to improving your speaking skills. Couple of things have to be taken into account. Let’s get underway!

First and foremost, if you don’t understand what your conversation partner is talking about, you should stop him/her talking and clarify something you didn’t get it.

Of course, sometimes stopping a talk annoys your speaking partner, but it’s still better than not understanding what she/he is talking about, and you will be misled, or you convey a different message and reaction to her/him. This is not a good conversation. Clarifying each other is crucially important to be done before it’s too late to rectify. For instance, you could say, ‘sorry may I interrupt you a bit? I didn’t quite get it what you meant by…’ or ‘Sorry what do you really mean by…? So, there are many expressions that you can use to clarify. Don’t be afraid to ask questions at anytime, which makes your conversation much easier and smoother.

Second, you should listen carefully to what your speaking partner is saying in terms of tense, in particular

Using a correct tense during conversation is just so important not to mislead your speaking partner about what you wanted to say. Tense is the most important grammar rule compared to anything else. If your speaking partner is talking about a past story, you should use the past tense as well. Otherwise, your partner suspects you don’t really understand what she or he is trying to say. As long as you use a correct tense, you should be alright even if you make some other grammatical mistakes, in which case your partner can definitely understand you.

Third, you should start saying S+V (Subject and verb) first without thinking of them in your language

You might think too much about grammar rules, vocabularies, sentence structures before saying anything. English conversation is not like that. It’s dead simple. You can begin by saying subject and verb, and then you add something. So, as long as you know simple English structures such as SVO, SVOC, SVOO, etc., you just put appropriate words into any of them to make a piece of sentence. Thus, you don’t need to think about in your language. Relax! For example, if you guys are talking about today’s Nikkei stock market, you could say like, ‘Hey, I read today’s Nikkei Shimbun (Nikkei newspaper) in the morning, and I was surprised by the fact that all stocks crashed on the Tokyo Stock Market.’ I haven’t used any difficult word, phrase, nor complex sentence. You don’t really need to think too much about the complexity of English grammar. Just try to speak up whatever you come up with.

Fourth, after having started saying S+V, you just add something, something and something blah blah blah like a story-telling style to make a full sentence

As I said previously, making a sentence is dead simple. You start off by saying S+V and then you add O(bject) such as your opinion, example, evidence and mini-conclusion. It’s like story-telling or essay style. Once you’ve said S+V, you are nearly getting there. Making a full sentence is not a big deal. The most important part of English sentence is obviously S+V. So, don’t worry about an object part, partly because the object is just the substantiation of your S+V. Conversely speaking, if no S+V, then no one can understand you, nor is it a proper conversation. For instance, when I listen to someone’s talk, I intently catch S+V, but not so much details about O(bject). Object is ok unless you’ve caught some keywords or phrases to understand the gist of what someone is talking about. When I do repeat a sentence, I try to remember S and V, and then I use my memory and understanding of a big picture of it to reproduce the full sentence.

Last but not least, you should try to use simple words as effectively as you possible can unless a very abstract topic is going on

It’s true that you don’t need to have big words for daily conversations, but nevertheless it depends upon the situation or topic. If you guys are talking about TV, or movie stuff, then I reckon no difficult words are needed. But, if the topic is something to do with a very specific programming or language stuff, then you guys should use specific words, which might often be esoteric for other people. So, what do I mean by this here is that it’s always better if you have a wide range of vocabularies as many as possible, in order not to strain to understand. Even if you haven’t got enough vocabularies to be able to fully understand, you still can ask your speaking partner and clarify the words you don’t know. Sometimes, it’s important for you to sagaciously paraphrase a specific word into a simpler expression.

That’s all for today. Thanks for reading!

Have a good one!

Published by Masato Kawaguchi

I am an English entrepreneur here in Australia. I've been teaching the PTE exam for the last 2 years or so, now mainly general English online.

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