Is it necessary to get English correct every time?
The short answer is NO! Speaking English correctly every time is a great goal, but it can give students a problem – especially when speaking English.
The problem is that too many students are scared of getting something wrong and this shuts them up. Bad move. Don’t be scared of making mistakes when you speak. You don’t have to be right all the time – you only need to communicate.
Here are three tips that will help you speak with confidence, even if your English skills are not 100%.
Tip #1: Be Polite
Imagine you meet a tourist on the street, and he asks you the following question:
“Bank is where, please?”
Is the grammar correct? No, it is not. Do you understand what the man wants? Of course you do! Anybody listening to this man will be happy to tell him where the bank is – especially because the question was polite!
Tip Number One is BE POLITE. “Bank is where?” = not so good – “please” makes it fine. Don’t forget to smile!
Tip #2: Listen While You Speak
Let’s go back to our tourist for a minute. He meets a woman on the street, and asks her, “Bank is where, please?” The woman answers like this:
“Where’s the bank? Oh, it’s just over there, next to the post office.”
Note TWO things about the woman’s response.
- She tells the man where the bank is
- She corrects the man’s question by saying, “Where’s the bank…?”
This is a simple, free, on-the-street English class! But you have to listen to the woman so that you can learn. So Tip Number Two is LISTEN. When you are worried about speaking, you forget to listen. Listening is how we learn to get it right.
Tip #3: Laugh At Yourself
Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes our mistakes are funny. For example, I have a friend who has been learning Vietnamese. One time, his teacher asked him if there was a market near his house. He meant to say,
“Có chợ trên đường.” (There is a market on the street.)
but instead, he said,
“Có chợ trên giường.” (There is a market on my bed.)
This is funny! Of course, his teacher laughed. But my friend has a good sense of humour, and once he understood his mistake, he was able to laugh as well.
So, Tip Number Three is LAUGH AT YOURSELF.
Does it really matter is you make one or two little mistakes? Most of the time, no. Just don’t let mistakes get in the way of your communication.
What About You?
How do you handle speaking mistakes? Do you have any funny stories about speaking English that can give us a laugh? Share them in the comments section below!