When you’re first learning a language, you learn several stock phrases. I’m talking about the rudimentary basics like:
- How are you?
- My name is~
- The weather is~
For all intents and purposes, these are “correct” uses of English. The big problem is that when you only use these kinds of basics, you’ll continue to sound like a beginner– no matter how advanced you become.
Remember, switch up “How are you?” to “How’s it going?”. In the future, I’ll be sure to show you how to change up the other two phrases as well. But for now, let’s focus on one word that’ll be good to avoid in conversation: “very”.
“Very” is… very easy to understand and use, and I guess that’s why people who learn English use it so often.
- That test was very difficult.
- The school is very far.
Again, not bad to use in either of those situations. However, I’d recommend you get accustomed to using some other (even more natural) expressions:
- That test was really difficult.
- The school is so far.
Then, if we wanted to really emphasize that point, how would we do it? Some people was say: “really, really difficult” or “very, very far”– and in both cases that’s okay. You’ll hear native speakers use that repetition too. But did you know you can also use the word “way”?
- That test was way too difficult.
- The school is way too far.
Be sure to include “way too X” in your speaking, and you’ll sound more natural!
If you’re interested in learning more conversational English like this, connect with Jon to sign up for online private English coaching or face-to-face sessions in Boston. We’ll work on making you sound like a native speaker.