Be conscious of English conversations - Savvy

Be conscious of English conversations

And again we are discussing the Savvy approach to English learning

The sense of communication is in reaction to it.

I have been teaching people for 18 years and have noticed an interesting feature. Lots of people learn foreign languages with the understanding that they come with a set of rules and formulas, and despite flexibility in their native language, start thinking within dichotomous categories black/white or correct/incorrect.

Anna, if I want to tell that “потратил много времени” should I say “I’ve spent a lot of time” or “I’ve wasted a lot of time?” 🤷‍♀️

But first of all, the main idea is that language is the tool for communication first of all. Keeping that in mind, lots of factors depend on what reaction we want to get.

Of course, there are several ways to express the same idea, but the main thing to consider is what our partner will hear and understand.

And if we are back to the question about time: both variants will be grammatically correct but “waste” sounds more negative and emotional. If you are talking to your English speaking partner and are discussing the working process you’d better say that you ‘spent a lot of time’ to improve some project, regardless of how long it took, instead of saying ‘I wasted some time’. Otherwise, they might think that there was something wrong with the result! And for instance, if you are complaining about bad service that caused you to spend time in vain and would like to get compensation, the phrase “waste time” will be better to use.

So, relevance and reaction of the partner are the most important factors in communication

And that’s why I recommend you:

  1. To use a definition dictionary but not a bilingual one while educating. Here is a simple example:  
  • quite – довольно, достаточно
  • enough – довольно, достаточно

Let’s see how it works in real life

1)  “The instructions are clear enough,” which means that a person probably understands everything; the instructions are pretty clear.

And if you hear

2)  “The instructions are quite clear,” which means that instruction was not difficult at all. However we don’t know whether this information was enough. And, if you want to make sure that the person understands, you’d better find out whether you should explain anything else.

In dictionaries like Cambridge or Pearson, you may always find a detailed explanation of how each word works with lots of examples.

  1. Do not limit yourself with the frames of correct/incorrect. Feel free to make experiments with the language during the classes and ask for feedback from the teacher. Then you will get a feel whether this or that structure should be used.
  2. Try to understand people’s reactions and listen to your own phrases as they hear them. Again, the main idea of conversation is to get the necessary reaction, not to insert the rules chart.

Have fun and get great results in language learning and most importantly, in your communication skills.


Anna Krasilnik

Savvy Head of Corporate English

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