How to tell a story like a native English speaker


Hi, everyone. I'm Jade. What I'm telling you today is how to make your storytelling in

English a little bit more like a native speaker, more colloquial, more relaxed in your storytelling,

because storytelling is a conversation skill that you really need to learn if you're speaking

English, because when we tell stories, we share part of our character and our personality

with other people, so it's just something we do in conversation.

So, I broke it down into the different kinds of stories people tell, and some of the phrases

you can use for storytelling in English, stories about your life, so you can get to know people

a bit better, basically. So, what I want to start with is: When you learn in your books,

it says something like... Or to say what somebody says, you use the verb "said": "he said",

"she said", "they said", blah, blah. Well, actually, in colloquial storytelling in England,

we use different verbs. We don't really use "said", necessarily. We can say: "I was like:

'Blah, blah, blah.'" So you're telling your story, and you want to say somebody said something,

it's: "I was like", saying something now. Not saying "said".

We've got this one:

"I turned to him and said: 'What are you talking about? I'm not having

it. Get away.'

So he turned to me, and he was like: 'No. Shut up. Go away.'"

We use "turned to", even if someone's not turning, we use "turned to". It's just what we use

in our storytelling.

It means then one person said, then another... And then another person said.

We also use the verb "go" to mean speak. "He goes to me". I don't know why all the people

in my stories have got a problem, but anyway.

"He goes to me: 'You're an idiot. Get away.'"

That means he said to me I'm an idiot. So you could bring in these different verbs to

make your storytelling more colloquial.

But let's have a look at some different kinds of story...

People often try to tell funny stories, and if you're consciously trying to tell a funny

story, like I'm going to do now, it might not work. But I'll tell you a little... Little

something about when I was at... When I was at school. I'll tell you about my poor physics

teacher, Mr. Cat. And if I ever met Mr. Cat again, I would apologize deeply for the torment

that we gave this poor physics teacher. His... His name was Mr. Cat, so that didn't really

help him that whenever he came into the room in my girls' school, there were lots of girls,

someone would go: "Meow." And quite quietly at first, but then somebody else would be

like: "Meow!" and it would get a little bit out of hand. And before we knew it, someone...

Someone was cracking up, couldn't start laugh... Couldn't stop laughing. Someone would burst

out laughing, and poor Mr. Cat, he didn't know what to do.

And then the other thing we used to do with him, because it was a science lab, we had...

We had sinks on the tables with these taps, and somebody discovered that you can turn

the taps around, so we all decided that when he was... We had this experiment, and we all

decided that when... For this experiment, we'd all turn the taps around at the same

time, but he didn't know about it.

So when he was like: "And now I want you to start with your experiment",

we all turned the taps on at the same time and water was going all

over the... All over the classroom. So, of course, by then, we're crying with laughter,

and poor Mr. Cat's probably crying real tears.

So if you're watching this, Mr. Cat, I am really sorry.

But teenagers are cruel, what can I say?

So in my funny story, I used this kind of vocabulary to say something was funny. Because

when you tell a story, you need to tell that person what to think: "Oh, it's funny. I was

laughing... I was laughing, yeah? It was funny, so you should be laughing." And these are

colloquial ways to say I was laughing: "I was cracking up", phrasal verb "to crack up".

It's kind of that... That kind of laugh. "Crying with laughter", again, it's quite visual,

you're laughing so much you're crying. "Rolling up", it's that kind of laugh, you know? When

you're... You're... You're doubled over because something is funny.

And when you "burst out laughing",

you can't control it. You probably shouldn't be laughing at that time.

Oh, there's a mistake, here. That's not how you spell "accident". So, an accident story,

then. Sometimes people tell an accident story for, like, it can be a dramatic story. Sometimes

people tell it because they want pity, so it's in between. My accident story that I'll

tell you features my Grandma. It wasn't me. I remember when I was a kid, I went ice skating.

I do... I do still like ice skating, but I had a long break in between, and you'll probably

know why when you hear this story. And my Grandma was quite young at the time. So I

remember I was skating around in the ice rink, I'm loving it. And I see this big collection

of people, like all huddled around. So I skate up to the huddle and I look in, and there's

my Grandma lying on the floor. She was in agony.

I felt so sorry for her. My poor Grandma on the floor.

And then these kids next to me are, like... Just like:

"Haha, look at her on the floor. Stupid old woman."

So I felt even worse because my Grandma was being

teased by these people, plus she was on the... On the floor. And after she told me she couldn't

believe she was such an idiot, because she wasn't that good at skating, and she tried

to go really fast even though she wasn't very good.

So, again, when you're telling your accident story, try to make it more dramatic. You know,

to say you were in agony... "Agony" is an intense pain. If you say: "I was in pain",

it's not so... It's not so dramatic. Sometimes if there's an accident, it's your fault, you

do something stupid, therefore,

you show what you've learnt through your story. "I can't believe I was so stupid."

Here's another colloquial thing we say, if you're in a lot of pain, something is "killing you".

"Ah, my arm is killing me. It really hurts." So you could use any of those phrases

in your accident story. I hope you don't have any accidents, but if you ever need to tell

one, there are some phrases for you.

Looking at the sad story next. I would say this word "devastated" is really overused

here in the U.K. Everything is devastating. When actually, to be devastated is a very,

very extreme word in its original meaning. It means like everything destroyed, ruined.

But through overuse, you can now be devastated when your pet hamster dies, so it's kind of

lost its original meaning. And the same thing, really, when you're telling a story that was

sad, you just need to say: "Oh, it was really sad. We felt so awful. Yeah, it was really hard."

You need to make your story more colourful by using these adjectives.

And that brings us to this. When you're telling a story, help your listener understand what

you want them to think and feel about your story by describing to them the emotions that

you felt at the time. So, were you pissed off? Were you angry? I was pissed off at those

kids who were laughing at my Grandma. Were you baffled? This means really confused. If

you're in a situation where you're thinking: "Why did that happen? What was that about?

I really don't understand." That means that you're baffled.

And another... Well, we'll just look finally now at the kind of story some people tell

when something happens, it really surprises you. You don't know why that happened. How

did that come about? So, anyway, a surprise and shock story. What can you say?

"I couldn't believe it.",

"I was like, what the fuck?",

"I was in complete and utter shock.",

"We were speechless."

Didn't know what to say.

"I couldn't believe what was right before my eyes."

So shocking.

So, yeah, the main kind of stories people tell: ones that make you laugh, ones that

make you go: "Oh my god, that's awful", ones that make you sad, ones that are like:

"Yeah, what was that about? What happened there?"

So what I'd like you to do now is go to the engVid website

and do the quiz, do the quiz on the website.

And before you go there, please subscribe here to my engVid channel,

plus my personal channel because I've got two YouTube channels.

And if you haven't already done it, it's now time to go and subscribe to that second one.

So, yeah, good luck with your English storytelling, and please come and

watch me again soon.

And see you later.

Big bye this time.