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Bad English

Bad English English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Apr 13 2007


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

When you are learning another language, it is difficult to blend what you learn in books with how people actually talk.

In every language, people stutter, insert extra words and use expressions that are not in the dictionary.

English, baby! members sometimes comment on the “bad English” of our cast members. For example, they say we shouldn’t be saying “like” so much. But “like” is very common in the spoken language. Of course, you would never use the expression in writing unless you were quoting someone.

Listen to Amanda and Kevin talk about bad English.

3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Amanda:  So what’s interesting is I have a four year-old son…

Kevin:  OK.

Amanda:  ... and so we’re trying to teach him the language. The English language. But it’s very difficult to realize that, how we speak with all the slang and the poor construction using “like,” “um,” the pausing…

Kevin:  The colloquialisms.

Amanda:  Yes. Pausing, “um,” “Like, well”... It’s so difficult to curb that while you’re teaching a child because you don’t want to teach that or pass it on. It’s near impossible.

Kevin:  Well, it is but his English will eventually get good. But it does take sort of coaching, right?

Amanda:  Absolutely.

Kevin:  And, and good teaching, both from the parents as well as in school.

Amanda:  You don’t realize how much you do it yourself.

Kevin:  Mm hm.

Amanda:  You know which mistakes are mistakes and you just, that’s how you’ve taught yourself.

Kevin:  Yeah.

Amanda:  You’ve trained yourself incorrectly.

Kevin:  It’s very interesting.

Amanda:  And it’s so hard to rewind and go the right way even though you know what’s right.

Kevin:  I used to be an ESL teacher and a lot of students would write in essays the word gonna... g-o-n-n-a.

Amanda:  Oh no.

Kevin:  Which they didn’t realize was OK verbally but written, is, is not appropriate.

Amanda:  Right.

Kevin:  So it takes a lot of practice.

Amanda:  It does. I’m working on it…

Kevin:  It will come.

Amanda:  ... still!



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Amanda is teaching her four-year-old how to talk. It is making her realize her own poor speaking habits.

Kevin has a lot of teaching experience. He assures Amanda that her son will learn how to speak properly despite her own mistakes.

Kevin also points out that his ESL students would use colloquialisms (like “gonna”) as written language.

Do you have bad habits in your native language?

Would it be hard for someone to learn the difference between the spoken and the written in your language?



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meiravm221280Super Member!


Today unfortunately there is not a big difference between how people talk and how they write, because people use chats on many social media’s and it’s possible to write it on chats but it is wrong to use you use it when you write a letter.
The habit to use “bad language “ is making the teaching difficult because there is an unclear difference between how you talk and how you chat and it’s natural to write like you speak .

12:14 PM Feb 17 2021 |




Who has good english level, i have an idea why not create a group on skype for communication, by this way we communicate at least 30 minutes everyday. What do you think guys?

01:36 PM Aug 29 2016 |

1 person likes this




if all of us trying to talk fluently without any type of clloquialism then all will go well .

nice topic 

10:02 AM Apr 30 2016 |



Hong Kong

I think English is a good language, but my English do not well. In this reason, I should practice more to improve my English language.

01:46 PM Apr 21 2016 |



I have been practising learing english since my childhood, still i require lot of regular practice for speaking fluently…One thing i oberserved we should not learn for getting impression from others if so, we dont get it properly….when we put our complete focus towards learning for our carrer ponit of view…that will put ours in best place in future…any language if we wanna learn we should speak as much as we can then only we will acquire…im bit apprehensive while giving presentations…how to overcome this im still finding solution.

11:27 AM Apr 15 2016 |

1 person likes this



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

It’s need ,practice and practice

04:33 PM Mar 30 2016 |



Saudi Arabia

we have bad habits in our language, all grammars we used are colloqualisms, but the words still original.

I think that when someone will try to learn arabic it just like any other language, you first neet to learn the formal, then by speak with natives you’ll learn the informal by yourself, but there something important to know, it’s that the arabic world is wide, it from morroco to middle east with the neighbor countries, and each counry have their colloqualism, maybe it is sound difficult but actually we understand each other, if i can’t understand him I ask him to speak formally first and slowly used to their informal.  thanx for the lesson.

01:05 PM Dec 02 2015 |



this problem remember me cultural differences.Yes,we are a lot of vocabulary in own our language whose usage change depend on situation.Thus,for a new learner the most logical way to use the true language in true place learn primarily the differences between the spoken and written lsnguage.Also,we shoulg avoid using the expressions which we have learned yet and not sure what they actually mean.

01:04 PM Aug 10 2015 |



In spanish (or at least in mexico) the colloquiallism, are very common; but I think that the problem is that the same native speakers don’t know this; until someone with a good knowledge of grammar points the error, and maybe he or she can help one person; but at the end is cultural problem that you can see in all the country.

04:55 PM Jul 29 2014 |



I came to come

04:57 PM Jun 17 2014 |



The way you speak often depends on the situation you’re in. For example, in a professional setting, I won’t use “um, er, uh, gonna, wanna, y’know,etc.” You want to seem knowledgable and meet that type of professional standard that’s expected of you. 

However, I think it’s okay to use colloquialisms or slang in conversational English. If it’s a casual conversation, it’s more natural and comfortable. I don’t really think people learning English should feel like they should NEVER use it. A lot of people speak this way because they’re either comfortable with whoever they’re talking to or they want to make that person comfortable. For example, if I can tell someone is really nervous, I’ll speak to them in a more casual (but always polite) way to get them to relax and feel more comfortable. 

Again, most of this depends on the situation you’re in, but I think most people are able to gauge what manner of speaking is suitable.

11:20 AM Mar 30 2014 |



thank you very much. I am trying to learn english through this site recently.I don’t get much time to practice and also friends who speak good english.

03:19 PM Dec 26 2013 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

hi dear friends

i think the reason that make problems when we talk to a native are those things that they used in spoken and they never be in grammer or any books!

its true about every language . . . for example we have sth in persian that they never can be in books and it make our language a little hard for a foriegner!

good luck


04:50 AM Oct 04 2013 |




Great topic ! I have recently thought that some native speaker speak their language badly because of their habit or popular culture, This stuiation is same in my mother tangue and I think in every languaage has same problem. 

04:05 AM Aug 21 2013 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I really like English language and I try learn it by myself … any way … I don’nt know really choose which accent… american or british ???

10:14 AM Aug 20 2013 |



Viet Nam

English is my favourite.So i’m learning everyday to improve it.Love it so much.

04:00 PM Aug 15 2013 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i used to think nothing is worse than english!but once i decided to learn it,and i found it too interesting,so i suggest you guys,dont be afraid.you will handle it!just tell yourself”it is not important how difficult it really is,but i have decided to learn it,so i am gonna do it”believe it.you will learn it easily…:-)


12:41 PM Jul 29 2013 |




i  want  to study english .who can teach me?

03:13 PM Jul 10 2013 |




Fillers (am..,er.. you know …) are a good indication of expressive weakness in speaking. This habit is always acquired from influencial people in one’s life: a father, a mother, an actor, a politician…etc.

Non-native speakers are always misled by native speakers, for the formers acquire the language skills from the latters.

01:08 PM Jul 10 2013 |

1 person likes this


Sri Lanka

hi               hw are u.

07:28 PM Jun 04 2013 |

1 person likes this

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