Jeremy’s English Tips Episode #3: Making mistakes

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Hello everyone. This is Jeremy and you’re listening to Jeremy’s English Tips. A series by the Culips English Podcast where I teach you interesting expressions or share language learning tips.

OK, let’s get started with another episode of Jeremy’s English Tips. Thank you for listening today. In this episode, we are going to talk about mistakes. I’m sure most of us are a bit afraid of making mistakes especially in front of other people because you know, sometimes it can be embarrassing and most of us don’t like being embarrassed. However, mistakes are actually a very, very important part of the learning process.

I would like to start by sharing a story from my Korean learning journey about a mistake that I made. Relatively early on in my Korean learning I decided to go shoe shopping. So, I went to a shoe store and I walked in and asked how much this pair of shoes cost. However, I made a mistake in pronunciation and the woman at the shoe store immediately starting laughing hysterically when I said this sentence.

At first I didn’t understand what happened, my face turned red, I was embarrassed and I looked over at my Korean friend and asked him what went wrong? At that moment he explained to me that I missed pronounced the word shoe in Korean, which is shin bal, and instead I say a very, very, very bad word, a curse word. The woman at the shoe store understood that I was still learning Korean and so thankfully she laughed and didn’t take offence, however I was mortified. I left that shoe store that day red faced, tail between my legs, and I vowed to make sure that my pronunciation was perfect before I started speaking again. However, I went on to make many, many, many more mistakes and now I realize that each of those mistakes was a very valuable opportunity to learn.

So, as I mentioned in a previous episode, I have a son who is almost 2 years old at this point. I remember when he was learning to walk, he made many, many mistakes in the process of learning to walk. In fact, everyone knows that probably every baby on the planet earth must fall many times before learning to walk. This is common knowledge, we can say and yet, for some reason when we adults try to learn a foreign language, we try to avoid making mistakes from the very beginning. So, my advice to you today in this episode is don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are your friends, each mistake is an opportunity for you to learn something new.

If you use the wrong pronoun in a sentence and you confuse someone, all you have to do is recognize your mistake and move on. If you make a pronunciation mistake and other people can’t understand you, once you become aware of it then you can fix it. In order to gain experience speaking English and making friends with English speakers, you must let go of the fear of making mistakes otherwise, you may never gain enough experience speaking English in order to get good at it.

So, take your time, try not to be afraid of mistakes and find some good friends who can help you notice your mistakes and help you correct them. In the next episode of Jeremy’s English Tips, we will talk about language exchange and how to find a friend who can help you correct your mistakes and enjoy the learning process even more.

Thank you for listening to this episode. If you found it helpful, please let us know. You can email us at or find us on social media to let us know. That’s it for this episode, until next time, take care. Bye.

Take home messages

  • Making mistakes is a natural part of learning English
  • Each mistake you make is a learning opportunity
  • Letting go of the fear of making mistakes will allow you to connect with English speakers and get good at English

Writing and Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever made an embarrassing mistake while speaking English?
  2. In your opinion, why are English learners afraid of making mistakes?
  3. Do you agree with Jermey that making mistakes presents learning opportunities?
  4. What are some of the ways that English learners can get feedback about the mistakes they make?

Study Challenges

  1. Ask your friend, teacher, or language exchange partner to give you feedback on your English
  2. Upload a journal entry to an online language learning community to get feedback from English speakers
  3. Record an English audio diary and listen back to it. Can you find any mistakes in your own speaking?

Credit: Music: Miei by Broke for Free, Feel Good (Instrumental) by Broke for free
Episode preparation/research: Jeremy Brinkerhoff
Audio editor: Andrew Bates
Transcriptionist: Heather Bates
Study guide writer: Andrew Bates
Audio editor: Andrew Bates
Business manager: Tsuyoshi Kaneshima

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