BBC English Masterclass: Words that connect ideas – so to speak,  I mean…  (Discourse Markers 2)

BBC English Masterclass: Words that connect ideas – so to speak, I mean… (Discourse Markers 2)

Sian here for BBC Learning English. In this
Masterclass we’re going to look at more ways you can use discourse markers to help connect
your ideas when you’re having conversations. Ok, so discourse markers will help you sound
more fluent and help you understand native speaker conversations. We’re going to look
at seven different discourse markers today. Listen to this conversation I had with Dan
before Christmas. Can you hear seven different discourse markers? I’ve just found out that nobody wants to go
skydiving for our staff Christmas party! Well, to tell you the truth it was a bit of
a crazy idea… I mean, we normally just go out for dinner! But you see I thought everyone would love
the idea, so I’ve already bought all the tickets and they are non-refundable… Ah! So in other words you’ve lost a lot of
money! Yes! Well at the end of the day, it’s only money
and Christmas is coming… Yeah but I won’t have enough money to buy
any presents for my family. I know. Why don’t you take them all skydiving
as your gift to them? That’s a great idea… they’ll be over the
moon, so to speak! OK, so look at this conversation. Here are
all seven. Let’s have a look at the function of each one: Number 1, we had ‘to tell you the truth’.
We use this when you are about to give your opinion. So often when you are going to say
what you really think or feel, sometimes when you are just about to insult someone. The second one we used was ‘I mean’. We use
‘I mean’ when you’re about to explain or correct a statement, or often just to give yourself
time. It’s like a filler. Next we had ‘you see’. This means I’m about
to give an explanation or I’m going to give you some new information. Number 4 was ‘in other words’. This is used
when you are going to explain something in a different way, either something you’ve already
said or something the person you are having a conversation with has said. Then we had ‘at the end of the day’. This
is used very commonly and it doesn’t mean at the end of the day literally. We use this
when you’re about to say the most important thing after you’ve considered everything else…kind
of like a summary. Next we had ‘I know’. This is used when you
have a sudden idea at the time of speaking. And finally we used ‘so to speak’ this is
quite tricky. We use it when you’ve used an expression, but you want to emphasise that
what you said is not meant literally, you’re using it metaphorically. So even though Dan’s
family are going skydiving, they won’t literally be going over the moon… it just means they’re
going to be happy. So you see discourse markers can be tricky
but at the end of the day all you need is practice. So go to our website
See you soon. Goodbye!


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