- Would you use your perfect English to get a better job?
- Would you use your perfect English to study for an MBA at Harvard or Oxford?
- Would you use your perfect English to travel to the UK or another English-speaking country?
- Would you use it to become a world-famous pop star or actor?
- Would you read classic literature in the original language? Shakespeare? Dickens? Harry Potter?
- Would you sit down and watch your favourite TV shows in the original language? Game of Thrones perhaps?
- Would you set up your own business and deal with international clients?
Let me tell you a secret.
Nobody speaks perfect English. We all make mistakes with grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation.
Sometimes we use the wrong word to express our thoughts or feelings.
Sometimes we use a British word when we are speaking to somebody who understands American English.
Sometimes we change our mind while we’re speaking and have to correct what we have just said.
Sometimes we say the right word to the wrong person. Or the wrong word to the right person. Or the right word at the wrong time.
Do you think perfect English really exists?
Languages are incredibly complex and are constantly changing and evolving. Grammar rules were created after people had been speaking languages for hundreds of years. Do native speakers always follow these rules when they speak? New words are appearing everyday. Do we use the same words when we speak to our boss or our friends? Do we use the same words in a bar as we do in a classroom?
Let’s look at the question I asked at the beginning of this post:
What would you do if you spoke perfect English?
You could express this question in many different ways and you would still be understood.
What would you do if you could speak perfect English?
What would you do if you could speak English perfectly?
What could you do if you spoke perfect English?
What would you do if your English was perfect?
What would you do with perfect English?
So, my advice is the following:
Don’t try to speak perfect English
Try to speak better English.
Have your say and make your voice heard.
I’ve been speaking English all my life and I try to find new words every day. I try to use my words to express myself as clearly as possible. But, I often make mistakes and I try to learn from my mistakes.
Language is about sharing ideas and feelings. When words leave my mouth, you (the listener) interpret them in your own way and create your own response and your response may surprise me!
So, I’m going to change the question:
What would you do if you spoke better English?