Posts Tagged ‘spoken english’

How to Pronounce?

After writ­ing a cou­ple of arti­cles on stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion and silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion, I got a lot of requests to write a note on pro­nun­ci­a­tion in gen­eral. To start with please not that it is pro­nun­ci­a­tion not pro­noun­ci­a­tion. Before jump­ing into deep waters, let us look at the basics of speech. Once you learn to strike the key note prop­erly then you would have no prob­lems in pronouncing.

Eng­lish is not Phonetic

Before start­ing the exer­cise we should under­stand that Eng­lish is not pho­netic i.e. the words are not pro­nounced as they are spelt. To make mat­ters worse, there is stressed/silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion also homo­phones (words hav­ing dif­fer­ent mean­ing but same pro­nun­ci­a­tion) are to be taken care of. To start with we should there­fore get a grasp of the syl­la­bles and their pro­nun­ci­a­tion. You can lis­ten to the syl­la­ble pro­nun­ci­a­tion in many of the sites avail­able over the inter­net. Make sure you prac­tice as you lis­ten to them.

Learn­ing Phonemes:

Learning Phonemes

Learn­ing Phonemes

Phonemes help in get­ting the basics for pro­nun­ci­a­tion cor­rectly. You may need to check few of the freely avail­able soft­ware to get you phonemes cor­rectly. Once your phonemes are in place, we can look to explore other things. The below table would help you to infer the phonemes and their usage.

Pronunciation - Sounds

Pro­nun­ci­a­tion — Sounds

After phonemes, we should look at their usage from the per­spec­tive of Eng­lish usage. Remem­ber Eng­lish is not pho­netic? So we need to take care of homo­phones, stressed pro­nun­ci­a­tion, silent pro­nun­ci­a­tion and likes. Remem­ber this list is not exhaus­tive, but one may move to oth­ers once these are mastered.

Symbols sounds and examples

Sym­bols sounds and examples

Phonetics Symbols sounds and examples

Pho­net­ics Sym­bols sounds and examples

I hope this would suf­fi­ciently excite you to unravel the puz­zle of pro­nun­ci­a­tion and set you apart in Eng­lish speak­ing community.

How to make requests in English language?

In our daily life we come across many sit­u­a­tions where we have to make a request or a com­mand. There are dif­fer­ent lev­els of polite­ness in mak­ing a request. You have to know them because they will help oth­ers to under­stand what you want to con­vey. Oth­er­wise, there is a prob­a­bil­ity of tak­ing your request as a com­mand. The fol­low­ing are some of the ways how you can request some­thing in English.

  1. Give me some money.
  2. Will you lend me some money, (please)?
  3. Can you lend me some money, (please)?
  4. Could you lend me some money?
  5. Do you think you could lend me some money?
  6. I won­der if you could lend me some money.
  7. Would you mind lend­ing me some money?
  8. If you could lend me some money, I’d be very grateful/I’d appre­ci­ate it.
lend money

Make requests — Can you please lend me some money?

In the above list, the (1) is the least polite way of mak­ing a request and (8) is the most polite. They are arranged in the ascend­ing order of polite­ness. The last form (8) is mostly used in writ­ing not gen­er­ally not used in speaking.

It is impor­tant to under­stand that using the proper degree of polite­ness is very impor­tant in the Eng­lish lan­guage oth­er­wise it sounds awk­ward. For exam­ple, if you say ‘would you mind fetch­ing me some water?’ to your ser­vant, it looks odd and he/she will be sur­prised. Also, when you want to ask some­thing (pen for exam­ple) from a stranger don’t say ‘Will you lend me your pen?’ as it will sound the rude­ness and he will under­stand it as a com­mand instead of a request. Hence, before you ask some­thing, iden­tify the close­ness of the per­son with you and make the request in cor­rect form.

Tips for Spoken English

tips for spoken english 125x125 pixelsWe have writ­ten a lot of arti­cles about the Eng­lish Gram­mar and its usage. We have got a few requests ask­ing to tell more about spo­ken Eng­lish. So, in this arti­cle, I would like to talk about two com­mon mis­takes made by even the native Eng­lish speak­ers. Eng­lish lan­guage is very tricky and it is tough to mas­ter it because most of the Eng­lish words which appear to be cor­rect while speak­ing but are incor­rect when put on the paper. The Eng­lish spo­ken by non-native Eng­lish peo­ple over­laps with their local lan­guage and thus results in the improper usage of Eng­lish. While speak­ing, mak­ing oth­ers o under­stand what you want to con­vey is impor­tant while writ­ing the same should also take care of gram­mar, punc­tu­a­tions, proper usage of terms.

Today and Yesterday:

We com­monly use the terms today evening and today night etc. Though one can under­stand what you are say­ing but it is sug­gested to use cor­rect form of language.

“Today” means “This Day” where the Day stands for Day­time. There­fore “Today Night” is confusing.

The cor­rect usage: “This Evening”, “Tonight”.

This also applies to “Yes­ter­day Night” and “Yes­ter­day Evening”.

The cor­rect usage: “Last Night” and “Last Evening”.

Spoken English Tips

Spo­ken Eng­lish Tips


There is no word called ‘upda­tion’ in Eng­lish lan­guage. The cor­rect usage is shown in below examples.

  • You update some­body on the lat­est news.
  • You wait for an update on the sta­tus of the report.

The shower smiles in a politician.

Vocabulary — Common mistakes in English Language

We have dis­cussed about some con­fus­ing words pre­vi­ously. It had been a long time since then we talked about them Below are some of the com­monly mis­taken words, we tried to pro­vide mean­ing, usage, dif­fer­ence and also some tips which will help you to remem­ber them easily.

Sta­tion­ary vs Stationery

Parts of speech: Adjec­tive
Mean­ing: immov­able; an object that stays in its orig­i­nal place with­out any change in its posi­tion
Usage 1: All sta­tion­ary objects will remain sta­tion­ary unless and until some force is applied. (Newton’s I law).
Usage 2: As eco­nomic devel­op­ment ceased, the rate of infla­tion is stationary

Parts of speech: Noun
Mean­ing: Any item that is used for writ­ing like pen, paper, envelopes etc
Usage 1: To save the time, keep your sta­tionery ready before start­ing any work
Usage 2: One needs patience to main­tain a sta­tionery shop
Note: Sta­tionery can also be used as an adjec­tive.
Tip: Avoid con­fu­sion between the two words with help of this trick. Paper ends with “er” and sta­tionery also ends with “er”.

difference between advice and advise

dif­fer­ence between advice and advise

Advice vs Advise:

Parts of speech: Noun
Mean­ing: Any Information/opinion that helps you to be safe or happy etc
Usage 1: Your advice on plan­ning my finance was very use­ful
Usage 2: His advice is use­less as he him­self don’t under­stand it.

Parts of speech: Verb
Mean­ing: To Give an advice.
Usage 1: His is well known for his timely advises.
Usage 2: In order to avoid acci­dents, peo­ple are con­stantly being advised about traf­fic safety.
Tip: These two terms are very tricky and con­fus­ing because both of them have same mean­ing and spelling (almost). Advice is used more often than ‘advise’. Check the gram­mar and con­text to know the cor­rect usage of the two terms.

Prin­ci­ple vs Principal:

Parts of speech: Noun
Mean­ing: It has a wide range of mean­ings, how­ever, the sim­ple mean­ing is rules or laws, code of con­duct, accepted rule, firm belief
Usage 1: All the suc­cess­ful peo­ple have fol­lowed the tough­est prin­ci­ples in their life.
Usage 2: Argu­ments can be made more appeal­ing by using gen­eral principles.

Parts of speech: Noun or Adjec­tive
Mean­ing: When used as noun, its mean­ings are head and money; when used as adjec­tive, it takes the mean­ing main or chief.
Usage 1: The prin­ci­pal parts of human body are brain and heart (prin­ci­pal = main, adjec­tive)
Usage 2: For any prin­ci­pal amount, try to keep less inter­est rate to attract new clients (prin­ci­pal = money, noun)

Tip 1: Prin­ci­ple is always used to tell the “rules”
Tip 2: Prin­ci­pal can be adjec­tive or noun. “a” for adjec­tive in prin­ci­pal. This removes con­fu­sion in usage.

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