How to write and talk better?

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  • #1
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Well I am not a native English speaker but I feel I can convey my message properly and without any hindrances. But how do you talk using big words and clever use of phrases?
 

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  • #2
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You just have to get used to using those words and phrases so they come out naturally. Try using them online on forums for practice.
 
  • #3
HayleySarg
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It's not about big words. In fact, it's about using the most appropriate word. Professors call this "word choice". They used to write it all over my papers, and sometimes still do!

Whenever you hear a word you don't know, inquire about it. Either write it down or ask the person using it. Then try to use it in your own language.

Try doing some non-technical reading. Find some books of any sort that interest you, and just read. Read and find words or phrases that seem unfamiliar, and repeat the above process: use it in your everyday speech and writing properly.

Just memorizing a list of vocabulary won't help, you have to use it.

It will come, no worries.

Cheers
 
  • #4
turbo
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Well I am not a native English speaker but I feel I can convey my message properly and without any hindrances. But how do you talk using big words and clever use of phrases?
You do not have to learn how "talk better". It would be best if you use can simple concepts and phrases to express yourself. Many English-speakers in the US are not impressed by big words and flowery phrases, but are impressed by people who can speak plainly and express themselves in easily-understandable words We get enough of the flowery speech from politicians and the pundits that back-stop them.

BTW, when I hear flowery phrases from such sources, I immediately think "obfuscation", which is a fancy way to describe lying by misdirection and omission. You are already well-spoken, IMO, but I think in terms of learning effective English, you might be well-served to study how to speak in simple declarative sentences and queries, using simple words. Good luck with your studies.

BTW, you might want to read "Innocents Abroad" by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) to understand what he felt about simple speech. He sometimes drifted into flowery speech, but only to make a point, IMO. For more examples of honest writing with simple words, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (Life on the Mississippi) are other good examples. Hemingway wrote some pretty powerful stuff using simple words, and shouldn't be ignored.
 
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  • #5
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I think it's all about reading. Lots and lots of reading. And by that, I mean books, not forum posts and web pages.
 
  • #6
Danger
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It would be best if you can simple concepts and phrases to express yourself.
Shouldn't there be a verb in there somewhere? :confused:

I mean, as long as we're discussing writing well...
 
  • #7
turbo
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If you visit post 4, I think that you will encounter actual verbs that may have dropped during the editing process. I try.
 
  • #8
Evo
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Bad advice turbo, I wouldn't read Mark Twain to learn proper English, those books use slang, improper grammar, misspelled words, and hick dialect, on purpose of course, he's mimicking uneducated, poor, deep south hicks. I could not stand reading them because of how aggravating the backwoods language was.

The Widow Douglas she took me for her son, and allowed she would sivilize me; but it was rough living in the house all the time, considering how dismal regular and decent the widow was in all her ways; and so when I couldn’t stand it no longer I lit out. I got into my old rags and my sugar-hogshead again, and was free and satisfied. But Tom Sawyer he hunted me up and said he was going to start a band of robbers, and I might join if I would go back to the widow and be respectable. So I went back.
AAAARRRGH
 
  • #9
Danger
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If you visit post 4, I think that you will encounter actual verbs that may have dropped during the editing process. I try.
I did revisit post 4 and notice that you edited the verb into the wrong place. :tongue: :biggrin:
 
  • #10
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Bad advice turbo, I wouldn't read Mark Twain to learn proper English, those books use slang, improper grammar, misspelled words, and hick dialect, on purpose of course, he's mimicking uneducated, poor, deep south hicks. I could not stand reading them because of how aggravating the backwoods language was.

AAAARRRGH
I agree. In Huckleberry Finn, I could barely even understand what some of the characters were saying. Like Jim:

"Doan' you 'member de house dat was float'n down
de river, en dey wuz a man in dah, kivered up, en I
went in en unkivered him and didn' let you come in?
Well, den, you kin git yo' money when you wants it,
kase dat wuz him."

It's a great story though. Mark Twain was a great writer.
 
  • #11
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Bad advice turbo, I wouldn't read Mark Twain to learn proper English,
Totally agree, at least initially. In later stages of reading (very much later) it might be enlightening to learn about different dialects.

Of course you can read a lot of his essays and other works. Though they might not make a lot of sense.

Reading lots of fluff is fine. Try all 7 harry potter novels for a start. :)

-Dave K
 
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  • #12
Danger
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Jeez... I've always regretted having not read Twain, but no longer. Those quotes remind be of an SF novella/short story/whatever entitled "With the Bentfin Boomer Boys Down On Little Old New Alabam" (spelling subject to correction) about a society of racist rednecks who recreated the southern USA on another planet. The speech pattern is very similar, which I think reflects well upon the author of the latter. (It's a hell of a great story, by the bye. Read it if you can find it.)
 
  • #13
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You should still regret not having read Twain.
 
  • #14
Danger
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You should still regret not having read Twain.
I suppose that I still do, to some extent. What I regret even more is owning hundreds of stories that I can't read. My father passed on to me "The Five Foot Bookshelf", also known as "The Harvard Classics", which he accumulated while in university back in the 20's (he graduated in 1927). I have spent a large part of my life wanting to read them. When my wife buggered off 5 years ago and I moved back into my ancestral home, I gleefully anticipated reading "The Iliad" as my first incursion. As soon as I started to open the book, I heard the spine crack. I immediately closed it and have not touched one of them since.
 
  • #15
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I suppose that I still do, to some extent. What I regret even more is owning hundreds of stories that I can't read. My father passed on to me "The Five Foot Bookshelf", also known as "The Harvard Classics", which he accumulated while in university back in the 20's (he graduated in 1927). I have spent a large part of my life wanting to read them. When my wife buggered off 5 years ago and I moved back into my ancestral home, I gleefully anticipated reading "The Iliad" as my first incursion. As soon as I started to open the book, I heard the spine crack. I immediately closed it and have not touched one of them since.
I have some books like that. I end up buying paperback versions of them to actually read.

A good thing of Twain's to read is any good collection of his essays and short stories. I had a fat one that I took almost 2 years to read. Just picked it up here and there, never having to commit to anything more than maybe 20 pages.
 
  • #16
Astronuc
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Well I am not a native English speaker but I feel I can convey my message properly and without any hindrances. But how do you talk using big words and clever use of phrases?
Many native English speakers struggle to articulate thoughts with clarity.

Many would benefit from formal elocution and rhetoric studies.

Aside from knowledge of the subject, one requires training in writing, for example essays, and speaking.
 
  • #17
Danger
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Good idea, Dk. I'll look into it.
 
  • #18
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Good idea, Dk. I'll look into it.
For the Illiad, if you really wanted to read it, you can find it online. It's public domain, so it's free. That is if you don't mind reading something like that off a computer screen. I actually have an application for Firefox that allows me to double click words that I don't know, and it gives me the definition. It's called "dictionary tooltip". It helps when reading stuff like that.
 
  • #19
Danger
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Cool. Thanks for the tip.
I have Firefox, Chrome, Explorer, Opera, and a couple of other things, but I use only Safari. I can always just pull my dictionary out of the dock to look something up if I need to.
 
  • #20
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Oh boy...PF is too active nowadays! I return after a day to find 18 more posts.
Anyways I always admired people who wrote beautiful essays, stories and poems. The combination of words they use is magical and really appealing.
I have no problem with articulation and grammar but I am never able to write long essays and stories. I always seem to shorten whatever I am going to say, can't really make it appealing.
 
  • #21
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Oh boy...PF is too active nowadays! I return after a day to find 18 more posts.
Anyways I always admired people who wrote beautiful essays, stories and poems. The combination of words they use is magical and really appealing.
I have no problem with articulation and grammar but I am never able to write long essays and stories. I always seem to shorten whatever I am going to say, can't really make it appealing.
You seem to be saying that longer is better and that bigger words are better. This isn't the case, really. (I have the opposite problem as you! I talk/write too much...)

What you really want is to express profound things in a profound way. Sometimes this requires specialized vocabulary to catch the subtleties. Sometimes it is about a short, well-crafted sentence.

Check out examples of one sentence stories.. (Not all of them great, but some very profound).

There's a famous one sometimes attributed to Hemingway: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."

You can of course, take classes in writing. But even if you do that, there's one thing everybody HAS to do, and I repeat it here - READ. And if you want to write beautifully, read great writers.

Who those people are, of course, is largely objective. But if you search for lists of "greatest books" then you'll find a lot that stand the test of time and which you can generally regard as good reading material.

You also have to write, of course. But it's hard to get better at writing without some correction. Here's a great (free) site I've used when trying to learn other languages:
http://lang-8.com/

Here's how it works:
You sign up, and you indicate your native language, and the language(s) you are learning.

You start writing. It can be anything. Translations, journals, essays, etc.

People - perhaps more than one - will make corrections, offer suggestions, etc.

The understanding is that you will do the same (whenever you can) for people trying to learn your language. It's a great social networking kind of way to learn a language.

What's great is that you and the other person might not have any other language in common - so you are forced to communicate in the language you are trying to learn.

-Dave K
 
  • #22
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Read Moby Dick.
 
  • #23
reenmachine
Gold Member
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I learned english by watching TV and being a member of a couple of english messageboards.

My english is far from perfect , but I think the way to get better is to communicate with people that write/speaks almost flawless english.

One thing I wouldn't do is to take english courses.I will always be convinced that this is a really bad way to learn a language but to each his own I guess.
 

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