English teacher shares the two common mistakes people make that makes you sound unintelligent

Publish Date
Friday, 13 September 2019, 12:36PM

Do you often make a statement that sounds like a question? Many of us employ habits when we speak that we aren't aware of and according to one online English teacher, they make you sound less intelligent.

Lucy Bella Earl, 25, from Hertfordshire in southern England, runs the YouTube channel "English with Lucy". Since creating the account in January 2016, her videos have attracted 2.5 million subscribers.

In a recent video, Earl shared two regular mistakes people make in everyday speech.

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"They make people sound dumb and unintelligent when they speak, without them even realising it," Earl explains in the video.

She goes on to warn that these habits could impact a person's chances in prospective employment situations: "If you do one of these things in a job interview, it has actually been proven that it decreases your chances of getting hired."

Mistake number one

Upward inflection is a common habit where a statement is made to sound like a question.

Rising pitch at the end of a sentence, as you employ when asking a question, suggests you're uncertain about what you are saying.

Earl says though it is more common in American English, it's becoming increasingly common among Brits too.

In 2014, Sharyn Collins, a voice coach and elocution expert told BBC News that: "It's perfectly fine in Australia, New Zealand and America.

"But not here [in the UK], I believe."

Upward inflection is when a sentence ends with a person raising their pitch. Photo / YouTube

She says Brits could blame the effect of US films and TV shows, as they don't fully realise they are mirroring what they hear.

And she highlights that using an inflection is often employed for characters as a way to portray them as unintelligent.

The speech pattern is also common for those who speak English as a second language and can signal a lack of confidence in grammar, explains Earl.

She advises it should be tackled in conjunction with learning a new language: "It shows your insecurities about your language skills".

Mistake number two

Another way people instantly make themselves sound less intelligent is by repeatedly using the word "like".

Earl identifies that people misuse the word as a way to fill a void when they aren't sure of another word to use, or while thinking of what to say next.

She says this makes a person sound "disinterested" or "nonchalant".

"I would highly suggest avoiding using 'like' as a filler because it ends up sounding really, really juvenile," says Earl.


This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission.

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