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What’s the Most Important Skill in English?

July 25, 2018 , by Dr Julian Northbrook

Luis Henrique asks:

“Hi Julian! In your personal opinion what’s the most important skill in English?”

Good question.

Here’s my answer:

When you’re speaking or explaining something, people who are REALLY good at English are able to do it concisely, using language appropriate to their audience — even if that means very simple words and expressions.

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

Apparently my good mate Albert Einstein said that.

Well, it’s true.

But it also means the way you sound.

Research has shown time and time again that people have a strong aversion to difficult to understand accents and pronunciation.

When asked to judge an English learners proficiency, native speakers always judge people who clear accents to be the highest level (even if they’re actually not). Other research shows that we naturally distrust people with strong accents.

Now, this doesn’t mean you have to sound like a Brit or like an American. It means you need to be clear and easy to understand.

Clarity also comes into the actual things you say.

When I was first in Japan I’d often try to use very British humour in Japanese. But it didn’t work — people were just confused and didn’t understand why I was saying things like, “lovely weather today!” when in fact it was raining.

Now, hopefully you’ve noticed a common thread through this whole email…

Being able to use clear, simple English, far from being “basic” and “beginner”, is actually very, very advanced.

It’s EASY to sound like shit, say the wrong things and confuse the hell out of people with words that make little sense. But it takes skill to laser focus your English in the most effective, slick way possible.

If you’re not able to do that?

All is revealed in my book, Master English FAST, where I take you by the sweaty hand and lead you step-by-simple-step through the English-improvement process.

If you’ve been trying to improve for years but aren’t seeing progress…

You’d do very well to grab yourself a copy.

And if you don’t think it’s the best book you’ve ever read for transforming your English?

Just send me an email to a full refund any time before (or after) you die.

Click here to claim your copy.


P.S. Oh, the term “laser focused” …

Interesting collocation.

It means something that is very, very focused… but contrary to popular belief lasers are made up of parallel light waves and so technically can’t be focused.

Just saying.

Grab yourself a copy of Master English FAST.



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