Practice Asking Questions

When you practice speaking, both on your own and in your conversations sessions, make sure you practice asking questions

  • If your conversation partner always asks all the questions and you just answer them, then you won’t get enough practice with asking questions.
  • Often the sentence structure for a question is different than the sentence structure for a basic statement, and you need to be comfortable with both forms.

In a social conversation, usually there is a back-and-forth, with both speakers taking turns asking and answering questions:

  • If one person is doing all the asking, the conversation can become more like an interview, and both speakers might feel uncomfortable.
  • Questions can also be useful for steering the conversation toward topics that are more interesting to you or subjects that you can talk about more easily.  (If you want to talk about music, you could ask the other person what kind of music they like.)  Also see the article: Develop Comfortable Discussion Topics.
  • Questions are also essential for practical situations where you need to get certain information.  For example, if you are booking a hotel room you might want to ask about the price, how many beds are in the room, whether any meals are included, etc.

(These suggestions are based in part on Boris Shekhtman’s book How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately:  Foreign Language Communication Tools)