How to get unstuck in English

Posted On Feb 21, 2022 |

Has this ever happened to you?

You're speaking English and, all of a sudden, you get stuck because you forget a word, so you get nervous and go blank. You have no idea how to continue the conversation...

If it has happened to you, do NOT worry. It's something very common, even amongst native speakers. And I bet it's happened to you in your native language, too, right?

But I get it. When you aren't exactly confident about your spoken English, it can be problematic and you might not want to go through this experience again.

So what can you do about it? I have 3 tips for you as well as a list of 6 useful phrases you can use to get out of this uncomfortable situation we all have experienced at least once in our life.

Ask for help

Communication is a two-way street. If you don't know a word, just ask whoever is listening to you to help you out. People are interested in what you have to say, so they're willing to lend you a hand. 

Start again

Yes, start again. If you forget a word or phrase, or if you lose your train of thought, that's totally normal. Take a deep breath and start over. You can even use a useful phrase like "let me say that again" and, trust me, the world won't end!

Acknowledge the process

Just accept the fact that you forgot a word or phrase. IT HAPPENS! Our brain is a very effective machine, but it isn't perfect. And speaking is a challenging cognitive process, so be kind to yourself and give yourself permission to make mistakes.

Ok, but what can you actually do when this happens? Here are 6 useful phrases you can use to take control and come out on top the next time you get stuck while speaking English.

Asking for help

Wait, what was I saying?

Mmm, what was that word again?

Starting again

Let me say that again.

Just a second. I need to phrase this better.

Acknowledging the process

Give me a second, I lost my train of thought.

Wait, I forgot the point I was trying to make.

Use these phrases to buy yourself some extra time to think about what you want to say next. 

I hope this post has been useful, and remember that every struggle is an opportunity to learn, and that every mistake is really feedback.  

If you're interested in working with me and getting professional help, structured lessons and constant feedback, then click here to learn more about my services for working professionals who speak English as a second language and live in the US, and speakers of English with an upper-intermediate level.

See you in the next post!

Ben

Accent & Pronunciation Coach