When we speak, we are able to express ourselves better as compared to writing. Whether it’s talking in a group, giving class presentations, debates, etc., speech is an important form of communication. Every person feels more comfortable in speaking native language as compared to foreign language. Same is the case with English; if it is your first language, you find it easy while conversing with others, but if you are an ESL (English as a second language) student, then it’s inevitable to make mistakes while talking and writing. Sometimes, it might get very embarrassing when you make errors, especially while talking in English publically. It may be anything from incorrect adjective or verb to wrong vocabulary. Don’t worry, it’s all right because what matters is learning from these mistakes.
So, we are listing some of the mistakes often made by students while talking and ways to correct them. Let’s take a look:
1. Incorrect tone
Your tone matters a lot as it can completely change the meaning of your sentence. So always keep in mind to use the correct pitch while you convey your message. If you have to express your opinion, use polite and suggestive tone instead of being edgy and loud. This way, people will listen to you and will consider your point. But, in the latter case, you will be considered rude, and they will avoid talking to you. The first lesson is to work on your tone and pitch because everything else will depend on it.
2. Using wrong word order while questioning
Word order is of primary importance in any sentence, and when you ask a question, any mistake becomes more prominent. Many a time, students ask questions in a statement form which further confuses the listener. Always remember to start your question with interrogatives like what, how, which, that are followed by an auxiliary verb and the subject. ESL students mostly use verb after the subject or start questions without any interrogatives.
E.g., You play football or cricket? (incorrect)
Do you play football or cricket? (correct)
* What I can do for you? (incorrect)
What can I do for you? (correct)
3. Incorrect Prepositions
Another blunder that students make is using the wrong preposition as they don’t understand the correct usage. They are often confused between words such as, on and in, below and under, from and of, etc., and it might be difficult to correct every single one of them. Try to read more books and magazines so as to notice how and when the prepositions are used. The more you will go through the examples the more concepts will be clear to you.
E.g., The ball is below the table. (incorrect)
The Ball is under the table. (correct)
* I was born on 1992. (incorrect)
I was born in 1992. (correct)
4. Stress on the wrong word
Your word order, grammar, tone, everything may be correct, but it can be perceived wrongly if you put stress on the wrong word. In fact, you must have also noticed this mistake while talking to others, when they emphasize on the unimportant word instead of the more significant term. The lesson here is to always highlight the intention that you want to convey. If you still haven’t understood then let us make it more clear through examples:
* she can be there on Saturday. (incorrect)
She can be there on Saturday. (correct)
* Sorry!She can’t be there on Saturday. (incorrect)
Sorry!She can’t be there on Saturday. (correct)
5. Respond inappropriately
Here are two points to be noticed- firstly, respond and not react. Always use polite and soft tone to answer the person you are talking to. In case, he is talking to you rudely, then also try to use calm speech and avoid getting involved in an argument. Take a deep breathe and think before you reply.
Secondly, use appropriate language. If you are in class or any other formal environment, then select your words carefully and greet accordingly and not casually. E.g., you can’t ask ‘What’s up?’ to your professors. It might get some time for ESL students to understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate, so practice by being part of group discussions.
Hope this blog helps you to improve your communication skill and gives you the confidence to speak in public. It might be difficult to become flawless initially but keep trying till you succeed and become a pro.
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