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  • 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.

  • So "always" and "never", there are other choices we can make. So one way we can get rid of

  • generalization is to change it. I'll give you an example. Instead of saying, "The bus

  • is always late", you can say, "It is often late or regularly late." This is true because

  • I'm sure there's at least once or twice it comes on time or comes early or arrives early

  • at your stop. So you want to keep that in mind, right? You can say, "You are never on

  • time." How do we get around "never on time"? Remember. We can go here. There are other

  • adverbs of frequency. "You are seldom on time." This is more accurate. So what we're looking

  • for is being accurate in our language about when people repeat things. This is much more

  • true or truer, we could say, right? Versus just using the two absolutes which take away

  • from truth, and it stops the listener from listening to you. Why? Well, you're generalizing.

  • They will fight with you to prove that you're wrong. And your point gets lost, and that's

  • what this is about. How to keep your point so people listen and understand you instead

  • of stopping listening to you because you generalize too much. All right?

  • So we've done the first two, The Seven Sisters, and the adverbs of frequency, right? And we've

  • got "always, regularly, usually, sometimes, seldom, rarely, and never." And you notice

  • they go up and down from 100 percent true to 100 percent never happening, negative,

  • and in between. Use these instead of saying "always" and "never". All right?

  • Now, what about the other three legs of the cat? Remember, we have four-legged cats on

  • Earth. Five-legged cats make me think. So if you're seeing someone who uses these words

  • regularly, that's the problem. Now, what's the problem here? Well, here we go. What these

  • people are using are indefinite adjectives. An adjective describes, yes? Well, an indefinite

  • adjective, what it does is it describes, but it isn't attached to a noun. So when you say,

  • "You always do this" -- no. Sorry. Not "always", but let's give an example for "some" -- or

  • no. "Every". "Everyone knows this." "Everyone" is who? Everyone on earth? Everyone in the

  • universe? "Everyone in this room knows this." Okay. That makes a bit of a difference, okay?

  • We're being more specific. Or "all". "All books" -- no. I'll give you a good one. "All

  • personnel must report to the office" instead of "all must report." "All personnel or all

  • the people must go to the office." People who work in a specific place. We have "personnel".

  • How about this one, "Some. Give him some." Give him some what? If I say, "Give him some

  • money", that's specific.

  • Once again, we have gone from very general to specific. And in doing so, you're bringing

  • the person to understand what you really want them to know instead of generalizing over

  • everything. Okay? And this is a little bit of a complex lesson. Why? Because usually

  • I like to have fun in our videos. And we barely talked to Mr. E. He's petting the kitty, right?

  • Keeping it calm. But what we want to do is overall -- let's go back over it.

  • We want to go from generalization in our speech because we want to be effective speakers,

  • and we want to be more specific. One of the mistakes that people do is they either take

  • adverbs of frequency, and they use the absolutes to say this is the way things are in the world.

  • Or they take indefinite adjectives, and they don't actually use a noun to describe exactly

  • what we're speaking about.

  • So to fix that, what we do is we take the other adverbs of frequency, which are more

  • specific, or we change our indefinite adjectives to indefinite pronouns. In both cases, we

  • become very specific, and we let the person we're speaking to understand what we really

  • mean versus generalizing over everything.

  • Now, I hope you liked the lesson today. I always try to produce a good one for you.

  • I never want to let you down. So I don't want to exaggerate about this and say every time

  • I come out you're happy, right? But Mr. E and I are going to take a little step out.

  • But I wanted to say something before I go, which is, like I always say: I want you to

  • go to www.engvid.com, "eng" as in "English", "vid" as in "video", where you can do the

  • quiz, find other wonderful teachers, and visit Mr. E and I for other lessons that we hope

  • you'll enjoy. Okay? Cool. You have a good one. And that's no exaggeration.

Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for the worm. I'm changing

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A2 frequency indefinite specific people legged personnel

How to be an effective speaker: BE SPECIFIC!

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    Jeng-Lan Lee posted on 2014/05/19
Video vocabulary