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  • Hi I'm Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and welcome to your weekly

  • Confident English lesson where we focus on the skills and the language that you

  • need to say what you want in English. This week we're focused on those

  • situations when hmm those situations when you get stuck. Those moments when

  • you get stuck, when you freeze, when you lose the words that you want to say, when

  • you don't feel confident about what to say next or you can't find the right

  • word the right expression or the right grammar, you're searching in your mind

  • and you just say nothing because you don't know what to say. When it comes to

  • feeling stuck or searching for the right word in English I have bad news and good

  • news. The bad news is these situations will always happen and yes

  • they suck they are awful. The good news is these situations happen to native

  • speakers too and that means that we have several strategies and things that we

  • can say in those moments to help us. When you know the right thing to do and the

  • right thing to say in those moments it can help remove the stress, the

  • frustration, and the fear and more importantly you can continue to

  • communicate with confidence in a conversation. I'm going to share with you

  • three strategies for what to do and common things that you can say to help

  • you in those moments when you feel stuck. We're going to start with situation

  • number one - someone asks you a question in English and you have no idea what to

  • say. Maybe you've never heard the question before, maybe you didn't

  • understand it clearly, maybe you just don't know you just need a little bit of

  • time to think. So here are two strategies to help you.

  • Number one - if you just need a little bit of time to think get your thoughts clear

  • and figure out the right words to say then buy yourself some time. What that

  • means is saying something that will give you some extra moments to think. Here are

  • three things native speakers often say when we need just a moment to think

  • about what we want to say and find the right words. 1. Great question!

  • Let me think about that for a moment. Number two - you know I've never thought

  • about that. Let me think about it. And number three - huh, you know I'm not sure.

  • Give me a second to think about it. Each of those sentences will buy you or get

  • you some time so that you can pause, take a deep breath to calm down, and think

  • about what it is that you want to say in English. The second strategy that you can

  • use when you don't know what to say, you don't know how to answer a question in

  • English is to answer a question with a question and this is my favorite

  • strategy to use in English and in my second language when someone asks me a

  • question and I don't know what to say, I feel a little bit stuck and I need some

  • time. I usually say something like: You know, I'm not sure. What about you? For

  • example, imagine that you're talking to someone and they ask you a question,

  • maybe they ask your opinion on a topic and you freeze you don't know what you

  • want say, you need some time to think about it,

  • to find the right words. Instead of trying to answer or feeling nervous you

  • could simply say: You know, I don't know what I think about it. What about you? Or

  • I'm not sure. Let me think about it but what about you? What did you think?

  • When you do that, when you answer a question with a question,

  • it gets the other person speaking and it gives you time to keep thinking about

  • what you want to say. Now in that example, my answer to the question was I don't

  • know or I'm not sure let me think about it,

  • what about you? That doesn't always work. For example if someone says 'what do you

  • do' they're asking about your job and of course you know what your job is so you

  • can't say I don't know but you could use something like: Give me a moment to think

  • about how to explain it in English and while I think tell me about your job.

  • Again that will get the other person speaking and it gives you time to think

  • about what you want to say and find the words that you need. Now those two

  • strategies that we talked about - buying yourself time with something like 'let me

  • think about that' or answering with a question - those give you the opportunity

  • to think about what you want to say but what should you do if you just don't

  • understand the question, you're not sure what they asked you? I actually have a

  • full lesson just on that topic of what should you do and say when you don't

  • understand and you can get a link to that lesson below this video but now

  • let's move on to situation number 2. You're having a conversation in English

  • or you're speaking at a business meeting and things are going

  • great until you lose it. You lose the word or suddenly you can't think of the

  • expression that you want to use. You've totally lost what you wanted to say and

  • those moments can definitely be embarrassing because other people are

  • waiting for you, they're waiting for you to continue or to say what you want but

  • you're totally stuck. This happens so often to native speakers that we have

  • several things that we say in those moments and these things help us to have

  • time to think, they explain what happened, they make other people laugh, or they

  • help us change the topic. So you can use the same expressions native speakers use

  • to help you in those moments when you lose the word, you feel stuck, and you

  • need time to think or you want to change the topic or you simply want to explain

  • what just happened and everyone will understand because again it happens to

  • all of us. So here are several things native speakers say. These are things

  • that I say when I forget what I want to say or I lose a word. Number one - oh my

  • gosh! I totally lost what I wanted to say. I'm

  • so sorry. Give me a moment to think about it. Number two - oh my brain just froze! I

  • lost what I wanted to say. Number three - mmm I can't find the word that I want to

  • use. Maybe you can help me if I explain it. And then you would try to find

  • another way to explain the word or the expression you're looking for and get

  • other people to help you find it. Number four - oh I lost my train of

  • thought. One moment. And then use that extra moment to try to

  • get your thoughts back together to get those connections in your mind going.

  • Number 5 is with an idiom that we use often - oh I lost the word! It's on

  • the tip of my tongue. We use that idiom to say we almost remember it, it's so

  • close in our mind but we can't find the word or we can't find the expression and

  • again if you really can't find it then you could ask someone to help you or

  • change the topic. Number six - oh sorry, I forgot what I wanted to say. Um, hopefully

  • it'll come back to me in a moment. Hopefully it will come back to me in a

  • moment. That's another great expression to use to buy yourself some time to show

  • that you've lost what you wanted to say, you can't find it and maybe those words

  • will come back to you if you have a little bit of time to think. And finally,

  • another common way that native speakers talk about this is - hmm I think my brain

  • just went dead. Sorry. Now all of those sentences that we just talked about

  • explain what happened if somebody's listening to you speak and you suddenly

  • get stuck. Those sentences will explain what happened and of course it gives you

  • a little bit of time to think but if you cannot find the word, if you're thinking

  • about it and it doesn't come back to you you have three options. Number one: just

  • forget about what you were trying to say and go forward. So for example, if you're

  • at a business meeting and you're sharing an idea, suddenly you get stuck, you're

  • trying to find the word and you explain 'oh I'm sorry. I just lost what I'm trying

  • to say. lLet me think about it.' And if it doesn't come back to you you can say

  • something like: You know it's not coming back to me

  • but let me continue. And then you just go on to your next topic. The second

  • thing you can do is give someone else the opportunity to speak. If you're

  • in a conversation, you get stuck and it's not coming back to you, you could say: You

  • know, I just can't remember what I wanted to say. Maybe it will come back to me and

  • I can talk about it later but does anyone else want to answer the question?

  • Or does anyone else have something to say? And it's an invitation to others in

  • the conversation to speak instead. Your third option is to simply change the

  • subject, to move on to a new topic. If you get stuck and you cannot find the

  • words that you wanted to say, you lose your thoughts and they don't come back

  • to you, you can simply change the subject by saying: You know, it's not coming back

  • to me. Let's move on, let's change the topic. In all of those situations you

  • continue the conversation successfully and maybe in a few minutes

  • what you wanted to say, the words you were looking for, will come back to your

  • mind and later in the conversation or while you're speaking at the business

  • meeting you could say: Oh I just remembered what I wanted to say earlier!

  • And then you can continue to say what you want. So the next time this happens

  • to you, when someone asks you a question in English and you freeze for a moment

  • or you're speaking and suddenly you lose what you wanted to say, try using one of

  • these strategies to help you continue in that conversation. And here is another

  • thing that is great about those strategies that you can use: they work in

  • every situation. If you're talking to a friend in English, you're talking to your

  • neighbor about a vacation that you went on, if you're at a business meeting

  • sharing your idea, or getting to know a new client. In all of those

  • situations these strategies are perfectly appropriate and polite to use.

  • And if you found today's lesson useful to you, please let me know. You can do

  • that by giving this video a thumbs up on YouTube and sharing it on Facebook. With

  • that have a fantastic week and I look forward to seeing you in our next

  • Confident English lesson.

Hi I'm Anne Marie with Speak Confident English and welcome to your weekly

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A2 US stuck question topic conversation find explain

What to Say When You Feel Stuck in English and How to Continue the Conversation ?

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    Emily posted on 2018/09/26
Video vocabulary