3 Steps to Avoid Mistakes when Speaking


Making mistakes is part of learning a language but you don’t want to make mistakes all the time, you want to be as accurate as possible as often as possible. Here are three steps to help you improve your accuracy.

  1. Take a little time

  2. When you’re speaking take a little time to think about what you want to say. About two seconds is enough. You can combine this with using fillers by starting your sentence with a long “Well,…” and then saying what you want to say.

  3. Think about your usual mistakes

  4. What are your usual mistakes? When do you find yourself misunderstood? When you write, what are the mistakes you usually find? Try to avoid these. For a lot of people their major errors are tenses, articles and prepositions.

  5. Practice speaking correct English

  6. The best way to practice is to have a teacher listen to you, correct you and have you repeat the correct sentence a few times so that you can remember it. However, if you can’t find the time or can’t afford this two other options are:

    • Listen and repeat

    • Whether you are watching a video or listening to a podcast or a radio show, repeating along to a native speaker will help you practise the patterns native speakers use. You probably can’t repeat everything straight away so make sure you pause and rewind. Repeat this as many times as is necessary.

    • Read aloud

    • Everybody seems to hate reading aloud because it reminds us of primary school. However, the reason primary school teachers make kids read aloud is so they can repeat correct grammar and then mimic this in their output. You don’t have to read aloud so that everybody can hear you; reading loud enough so you can hear is enough. If you want to check your pronunciation is correct, you can use your smart device.

None of this works after the first time you do it. Please try following this advice for at least a week. Let me know how you get on in the comments.