Is your opinion “never” taken seriously? Do people “always” question what you say? This lesson is for you! I will teach you how to eliminate the five words that stop you from being an effective speaker. Learn what to say instead, so that you can be just as confident as a native English speaker.
How to be an effective speaker: BE SPECIFIC! video
Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for the worm. I’m changing a very, very famous quote by a very good speaker, and his name was John F. Kennedy. Great American president — or a good American president. There’s another one by a British man named Winston Churchill from World War II, “Never, never, never, never give up.” All right? So why am I bringing these up to you? Because to become an effective speaker, you need to know what to do. But sometimes, you need to know what not to do. And in this particular lesson, I’m going to help you become a much more effective speaker in English. To not make the mistakes that many native speakers make because it’s their language, and they don’t think about it, I don’t want you to make these mistakes to start with. So let’s go to the board shall we?
Mr. E is talking to a cat, Mr. Kitty. Meow. Okay. Why is there a cat? And if you look clearly or carefully, you’ll notice there’s one, two, three, four, five legs. Well, when I went to school years ago, I was in a philosophy class. And one of the professors said, “When writing a good essay or writing a paper or speaking, you should beware of the five-legged cat.” “Beware” means “watch out for”. Now, in your own language, you might do this, and many people in English do this a lot. Notice I said “many”, not “all”. And that’s one of the key things. They use words like “every, all, none, never, and always.” I’m sure you’ve heard English people use them, and you’re thinking, “What’s wrong? There’s nothing wrong with them.” Well, there isn’t, as long as they have a reference. So if you say, for instance, “All of the people in this room”, that’s okay. But if you say, “All people think”, we have a problem because you’re generalizing. And that’s what we’re talking about. How to avoid generalization, all right? Or exaggeration. There’s a fancy English word for this, and it’s called “hyperbole”, and it means to use words in a way to evoke, which means to get a strong emotional reaction. So a lot of people use these words because they want to get something from you. They want to prove a point strongly. Or they want you to get really energetic about it. Good point, “you always leave the toilet up.” “Always? Always? Every single time in my whole life you’ve seen the toilet up? Always?” Clearly, it’s not true. But when you say “always”, you don’t have to look at specific, you can just generalize. Generalization can be helpful. But when you really want people to understand, it actually takes away from what you’re trying to do. So let’s go to the board and take a look at it.
How can we get around this generalization problem that happens many times when people speak? Well, there are better words to use. Now, if you don’t know what these words are, that’s part of the problem. Okay. So let’s take a look at the first two words, one and two, “always” and “never”.
What people don’t realize because where I’m from, most of us aren’t taught grammar; we learn it. And we use it. And we’re pretty good at using it, but we don’t actually understand exactly where they come from. So if you’ve got English friends, this is a good lesson for you to turn on for them, too.
“Always” and “never”. There’s a term for this. “Always” and “never” belong to what I call, “The Seven Sisters.” These are called “adverbs of frequency”, okay? Adverbs of frequency tell us how often something happens or how much you repeat something in a period of time. I can actually put another word for this one, “often”, here, see? “Often”. Okay. So adverbs of frequency tell you once a week, five times a day, six times a year. That’s how many times I repeat something in a period of time.
“Always” and “never”, if you notice, are part of the adverbs of frequency. There’s nothing wrong with them except they give you nothing — they say these are absolutes, always, forever, now, and in the future. And this isn’t how the world works. If it was, we’d all be perfect. And I don’t know about you, but I’m not very perfect. Okay.
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