The appropriate choice of language, intonation, gesture and body language is vital in everyday communication. It's important to think about who, when and where you are talking to someone. Watch this video to see our four top tips to help you use context and register when speaking English - then afterwards visit our website and test your understanding in our quiz.
The appropriate choice of language, intonation, gesture and body language is vital in everyday communication. It's important to think about who, when and where you are talking to someone. So that you can make sure the style of how you are speaking – or register – is appropriate. Here are some things for you to consider.
Start by thinking about context – or the situation you're in. Are you at the bank, at work or at home? This will help you decide the appropriate language to use – will it be formal or informal? It's something this student had to think about…
When I first came to England, to practise my English, I would go and work in a builders' cafe. I would invite customers 'please take a seat', that's how I would say it. My co-workers they were locals, and they found it funny because they thought this is too formal, be more direct because our customers, the builders, most of them, they speak more directly. It made me think about the proper way of saying things in different situations
Next, think about how many people you are talking to. Are you talking to a group or to one person? And when you're speaking to someone, who are they – a friend who you know well, your teacher or your boss, or maybe a stranger? The words you use and how you use them will be different.
Now think about the topic of the conversation. Are you discussing football results, shopping, or something more serious in the news? The way you talk about the discussion will affect this. And consider your register when you react to something being discussed – choose an appropriate style depending on the subject.
Thinking about context and register when you're speaking will help you sound more like a native English speaker and help you in any speaking exam. Good luck!