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The Number One Way to Sound More Interesting in English

Image representing a student learning how to sound more interesting in English

Learning the grammar and vocabulary of a new language allows you to communicate in a basic way, but to really have a conversation with someone, you also need to learn to speak in a natural, flowing way.

One mistake that many language learners make is mirroring every question almost exactly in their answer. While there is nothing wrong with this from a technical point of view (what they are saying is correct and grammatically accurate), it sounds boring and repetitive to the native speaker and makes it hard to keep the conversation going.

For example, take this conversation:

Person 1: Did you see Game of Thrones last night?

Person 2: Yes, I saw Game of Thrones last night.

Person 1: I thought it was a bit disappointing.

Person 2: I also thought it was a bit disappointing.

Person 1: Have you read the books?

Person 2: Yes, I have read the books.

Person 1: They’re much better than the TV show.

Person 2: Yes, they are much better than the TV show.

As you can see there, Person 2 isn’t making any errors. There is nothing wrong with the way they are using English. The problem is that they sound like a robot!

Repeating what someone is saying back to them over and over again sounds weird, even if you are agreeing with them.

Here are some ways to avoid this.

1. Summarise

You don’t need to answer every question with a full sentence. The other person already knows what you are talking about, because they asked the question!

For example:

Person 1: Did you watch Game of Thrones last night?

Person 2: Yes, I did.

2. Use Synonyms

Instead of using exactly the same words that the other person uses to describe something, try thinking of other words that express the same idea.

For example, in the conversation above, you could say:

Person 1: I thought Game of Thrones was a bit disappointing.

Person 2: Yes, it was a bit of a let-down.

 

Let’s look at some more examples:

Person 1: The view from the window is lovely.

Person 2: Yes, it’s beautiful.

Person 1: This curry is delicious.

Person 2: Yes, it’s really tasty.

3. Show a Slight Difference in Opinion with Stronger / Weaker Words

One of the best ways to keep the conversation going is to show how your feelings or opinions are a little bit different to the other person, even when you generally agree with them.

This makes it easier for you and for the other person to ask follow-up questions about why you feel this way – and makes the conversation more interesting.

For example, in the conversation above, you might say:

Person 1: I thought it was a bit disappointing.

Person 2: I thought it was awful.

Person 1: Do you like Arcade Fire?

Person 2: I love them!

Person 1: I hated the new Blade Runner film. It was terrible.

Person 2:  I didn’t like it, but I didn’t hate it. Why did you think it was terrible?

4. Ask Questions and Give Extra Information

If you simply answer each question without building on it, you are forcing the other person to do all the work in the conversation.

At best, they will get bored – and at worst, they will think you are being rude and don’t want to talk to them.

Try really hard to add an extra bit of information to your answers and ask follow-up questions whenever you can.

For example, in the conversation above, you might say:

Person 1: Did you see Game of Thrones last night?

Person 2: Yes, I saw it. What did you think of it?

Or:

Person 1: Have you read the books?

Person 2: Yes, I’ve read all of them. I’m a big fan of George R R Martin.

Using these techniques, you’ll be able to make your answers in English sound much more interesting, and keep the conversation flowing more easily!

Looking to improve your conversation English even more? Take a look at our range of courses at www.Eurocentres.com