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Fluency and communication

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Some students worry about making grammatical errors in their speech; they don't want to express their ideas unless they are confident that they can do so without making mistakes.

Remember, nobody's English is perfect – not even your lecturer's (true!). The more interesting the content of what you have to say, the less people will worry about the way you say it.

Expressing confusion – asking for a repetition

Contrary to what you might think, asking for something to be repeated can have a positive effect. It shows the lecturer or tutor that you have been listening to the discussion, and are interested. It also provides important feedback to other speakers on how effectively they are communicating their ideas.

Expect to feel nervous!

It is perfectly normal to feel nervous when asking a question or engaging in discussion for the first time – particularly if you are expressing yourself in a foreign language. Be prepared to 'have a go' – both the academic staff and your fellow students will respect you for this.

Asking for something to be repeated

  • "I didn't understand that last point. Would you mind repeating it?"
  • "I'm still not clear. Could you repeat that?"
  • "Sorry, I didn't catch that clearly. Did you say______________?"
  • "You've lost me. Do you mean that _____________?"
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