How to Speak English Tips

Many of our clients at Accent Pros, who are interested in learning how to speak English with an American accent, have advanced degrees and have excellent command of the English language.

Given the evolving state of the English language; however, they may not understand informal slang and phrases that are regularly used in the workplace, and on various popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Occasionally our clients will understand the meaning of an idiom, but use it in an improper context, which could potentially have embarrassing consequences when learning how to speak English. In our continuing efforts to feature only the most relevant and practical terms when helping you on your accent reduction goals, here are three commonly used American name phrases that have become standard shorthand in the workplace

How to Speak English Phrase 1 – John Q. Publichow to speak English

Definitions: 1. The public or the whole community personified.

      2. A particular yet unidentified person being referred to.

Example: 1. John Q. Public is worried—as gas prices continue to rise and jobs get more difficult to come   by, making ends meet becomes more difficult.

  2. I thought he was just another John Q. Public when I saw him on the street yesterday, I didn’t know he was the town mayor!

Origin: This first appeared in 1934-1940 and originated in America. It may have been a reference to former president John Quincy Adams–his surname had been changed to “Public” so that the idiom can be used to refer to more members of the society without receiving any kind of unwanted attention. John is a common enough name and to this day this phrase is still used to refer to an average citizen or the public in general.

How to Speak English Phrase 2 – Tomboy

how to speak English

Definition: A girl who enjoys masculine activities, usually the ones which are loud and mostly enjoyed by men or boys; a girl who is boyish.

Example: She grew up with 6 brothers, that’s why she has this tomboy vibe going on with her.

Origin: In the 1500s, this term was used to refer to a loud and boisterous boy. In 1579 it was used to refer to an immodest or bold woman. Its use to refer to a boyish girl was first recorded in the 1590s.

How to Speak English Phrase 3 – Tomfoolery

Definition: Foolish behavior; utter nonsense or rubbish. how to speak English

Example: Get back inside your rooms and stop this tomfoolery of jumping all over the piled leaves!

Origin: This phrase was from the 1650s. “Tom” was a nickname used for common men, and “fool” once meant being mad or insane. “Tomfool” was used to refer to clowns in the 17th century and was later on used to refer to someone who acts foolish.

How to Speak English name phrases series

Accent Pros has a continuing series on how to speak English , including common English phrases and American idioms.  Be sure to check out other blog posts to find your favorites.  Ready for a complimentary accent reduction tutorial or a free accent screening?  Check out our on-line accent reduction courses  available to students with accent reduction goals all over the world. For consistent access to our idioms series and other how to speak English tips Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter