Everybody ESL

Episode 218 (mini)

Episode Summary

This mini episode teaches you a few sentence starters, words and phrases we often use when we start speaking.

Episode Notes

Episode 218 of the Everybody ESL podcast is a mini episode that teaches you useful sentence starters, words and phrase we often use when we start speaking. Send your questions about English and your suggestions for future episodes to EverybodyESL@gmail.com! (And let me know if you’d like to record the introduction to a future episode.)

Episode Transcription


“Kia ora*. This is Ria from New Zealand. And you’re listening to Everybody ESL.”

(*Kia ora is a greeting in New Zealand.)

Welcome to episode 218 of Everybody ESL, the podcast for everybody who wants to improve their English, practice their English, or just learn more English. My name is Ben, and I have a mini episode for you today, where I am going to teach you about one English topic. You can subscribe to the Everybody ESL podcast at Apple podcasts, on the Stitcher app, and wherever you find your podcasts. If you like Everybody ESL, leave it a good review so other people can find out about it too. And if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for me, please send an email to everybodyESL@gmail.com. Okay! Let’s get on with this mini episode.

The episode

Today’s topic is something that you are probably aware of, but I will bet you have not thought too much about it. And the topic is the words that we use when we begin talking. The words that we use when we begin giving a response to somebody or an answer to a question. Or the words that we use to begin our sentences when it is our turn to talk.

That might sound very confusing, but I think when I give you an example of one of these words, you will understand what I’m talking about. 

The first one of these words that I want to talk about is the word well. Well. W-e-l-l. Well. Well has many different meanings, but one way that we use well is to introduce a response or to introduce an answer to a question.

I think we also use well just to mean something like “I am talking now,” or “It is my turn to talk now.” Or even “I’m not sure exactly what I think about this, but I am now starting to give my answer.” 

For instance, if you are in a meeting at work, and the boss is asking everybody what they think about something, when it is your turn to give an answer or to give your opinion, you might start by saying, “Well . . .” And that just means “I am now going to give my opinion” or “I am now going to give my reply” or “I am starting to talk now.” You will often hear people start to speak by saying, “Well.”

Here’s another one that you will often hear. It is the word so. So. S-o. So. Just like well, so has many different meanings. But we often use it as a way of introducing our speech, as a way of introducing what we are about to say. I think so has two main uses.

We use it when we are going to summarize something, when we are going to explain all of our thoughts or explain how we came to have certain opinions. We also use so when we are changing the subject.

Here is an example of a situation where you might hear somebody start their sentence with the word so. Again, let’s imagine that you are in a meeting at work. I’m not sure why these examples all take place in meetings in an office, but these are the examples that I thought of today. Okay. You are in a meeting at work, and you have just finished describing some project or something, and somebody asks you, “Why did you do it that way? Why was that your decision?”

And you start by saying, “So . . .” Just like that. “So.” That is a very natural way of starting to say something when you will be summarizing, when you will be summarizing your thoughts. We often use the word so in that case.

And the last one of these sentence starters that I want to tell you about today is a whole phrase. And that phrase is “Here’s the thing.” Here’s the thing. H-e-r-e-apostrophe-s. T-h-e. Thing: t-h-i-n-g. Here’s the thing. We often use “Here’s the thing” to introduce some kind of explanation, or maybe when we are saying something that might be difficult for somebody to hear. 

There are many of these words and phrases that we often use to introduce our sentences, but I think these three are very common. Well and so are extremely common, and “Here’s the thing” is another good one for you to know. If you use words or phrases like this to introduce your sentences, your English will probably sound very natural.


And that’s the end of episode 218 of Everybody ESL. Remember: if you have any questions about English, or if you have comments or suggestions about the podcast, or if you would like to record an introduction that I can use at the beginning of future episodes—the same way Ria recorded the introduction you heard at the beginning of this episode—send an email to everybodyESL@gmail.com. I’ll be back soon with another episode, and until then, keep going, keep practicing, and keep learning. Goodbye! I’ll see you soon.