Understand more and improve your English pronunciation with the BREAK& GRAB METHOD


I can, can't.

Hi. James from engVid.

This lesson, what I want to do is help you...

Well, I want to help you improve two things at once, your pronunciation and your listening.

Really, I will be focusing on the listening part, but if you do this right, your pronunciation

will also get better.

You ready?

Let's go to the board.

As you can see, Mr. E has a big ear.

Listening is one of those things when people are learning a language they don't really

pay attention to.

It's quite funny because I hear many people say right away: "I listen to English all the time.

I listen to videos at home.


I don't need anyone to tell me about...

Help me with listening."

And usually the same people will say something like: "My pronunciation's not very good.

I really don't understand when people speak to me", and so on and so forth.

And you're trying to explain: Listening is a skill that is natural.

Actually, there's a difference between hearing and listening, and we're going to go to the

board right now and talk about that so that we can get to what I call "active listening".

You ready? Let's go.

So, E, as you can see, has a big ear because he is now listening because he wants to improve

on his listening skills and his pronunciation, and he's come to the right place.

All right, so the first thing I want to look at here is "hear".

When we use the word "hear" in English it's for sound, it really is.

It's just for sound. Like...

[Drops marker] Did you hear that?


You don't say: "Did you listen to that?"

You can't listen to that.

You can hear that. All right?

So that would be music, when people are speaking, because if you can't hear...

And here I wrote this: "If you don't hear it, it doesn't exist", and that's true.


Or hearing is physical. Okay?

The ear actually has to work, or you have to make it work.

There are two things you have to be careful on, that your ear is good, so get a hearing

test if necessary, if you need one; but also we can make it better, if physically everything

works, sometimes people don't pay attention so they miss the sounds.

And when you miss a sound, it changes the word and sometimes the meaning.

And that's when we look over here, to "listen".

"Listening" makes us focus and gives us meaning.

So, when you're listening to someone, you will look at them and you will pay attention,

and that's how you get the meaning.

You need to be able to physically hear the sound, which is true, but if you don't listen,

you won't get the meaning of what they say. Okay?

So we need a combination.

And luckily for us, when the ear works, we can use our listening or our focus skills

to improve how this works so we can get better at learning language and learn faster.

If you remember what I said here: If you don't hear, it doesn't exist.

That's the physical part.

If you cannot hear it, it doesn't exist.


Which will lead to bad pronunciation, because if you cannot hear a T, you won't say the

T. "Huh? Hmm?" Yeah.

For many Spanish people, the "d" sound is a "th".

They cannot actually hear us when we say "duh", so they say: "the", right?

So they go: "I stanthe", "I stanthe" instead of: "I stand".

When they can hear it, because when I make them say the sound "d", they can do it, and

"duh", they can say it, then all of a sudden they're like: "I can stand.

He wanted".

Not: "I wantith".

-"I wanted".

-"Oh, it's a different sound."

By focusing and listening we're able to make them realize there are different sounds being

said and improve on their pronunciation. Okay?

Now, if we use active listening, which is what I will teach you now, it will help us

retrain the ear.

"Retrain" means make the ear go back to the beginning and then start again, and retrain

to make it better.

Now, I have a little game we're going to play, which is a fun game because you can do it

by yourself, -- I will give you an example in a second -- but you can also do it with

a friend.


So you can both help each other improve.

So, I'm going to read something to you. Okay?

And I want you to close your eyes and I want you to listen. Okay?

Now, I want you to look for the words with the letter C. All right?

So you're going to close your eyes, like I'm closing my eyes now.

And I'm going to read this to you, and I want you to count how many C words are in this


Are you ready?

Are your eyes closed?

Okay, do it now.

"The cat quickly came to the couch and caught sight of the kite in the tree and kept quiet."


How many letter Cs?

I'll read it one more time for you, so focus on the words.

How many words with C in them?

"The cat quickly came to the couch and caught sight of the kite in the tree and kept quiet."

Count them up.

All right.

Now, probably the first time you did it, you were like: "What?" and it just went by very


But the second time you probably noticed you were catching, grabbing.

This will help with pronunciation, but it also does another little thing I didn't explain

to you but you would find: You started to make breaks in the words so you can understand

much more clearly what I was saying.

Cool, huh?

When you're actively focused on catching one sound, your brain has to separate things to

make it clearer for you.

Continually practicing this, you're going to start noticing when English speakers put

breaks in the word, so your speech will flow much more naturally, and you'll catch the

actual pronunciation that we say.


Yeah, I thought so.

Let's try another one for you.

Are you ready?

Now I want you to count the number of words with S this time, the number of words with

S. Listen carefully.

"She shopped at many sites in the city that seemed strange.

The cellphone that she used and took pictures of the sites was not hers."


I'll do it again, so pay attention.

"She shopped at many sites in the city that seemed strange.

The cellphone that she used and took pictures of the sites was not hers."

This time you probably noticed you got the letter S or the words with S a little faster

because you were able to go: "S, s, s, s".

If you missed out, there's a second thing.

Remember I told you about the speed of English and the breaks, and proper pronunciation?

You're also probably going: "What is a site?"


We work on vocabulary.

In listening, when you're able to catch the words, because you probably caught the word

"site" from me, you learned a new vocabulary word.

English people cannot explain these words to you when you say: "I heard the word 'sia',


It's nothing.

But when you say: "I heard this word 'site', what is it?"

I go: -"Oh, that's one of two things.

'Sight', the ability to see, and 'site' is an area that we look at things, like a city

can be a site, a place, an area."

-"Oh, nobody told me that."

-"And they're spelt two different ways."


So, in learning to listen you can pick up new vocabulary that you've probably missed

because you weren't able to hear it.


What you don't hear, it doesn't exist.

But by focusing on one sound or one letter-we talked about one letter-you're able to pick it up.

All right?

Take it out, and then it makes the other things clearer that you were probably missing.

Pretty cool, huh?

Now I'm going to teach you something else in a second, I'm going to teach you a little

bit more advanced because right now I'm asking you to look for the words, or sorry, the letters

that you know: A, B, C, D, or E, what have you.


We haven't worked on sounds, just the letter name.

So, C, the letter C you're looking for, but now we're going to work on sounds to improve

your listening ability.

Are you ready?

It gets to be fun now.

Okay, so I gave you a little exercise to try and we practiced it.

I'm going to make that exercise a little bit more difficult now because we worked on the

name, I call it the...

You could say the capital letter, and I say it's the name of the letter.

So, an example would be: This is a capital letter, the big...

The big size.

But this is the sound.

I would say this is the name of the letter and this is the sound.

So, the sound might be here.

Name is B, the letter B, but the sound-right?-would be "b", "b".

Now, we worked on letter name, right?

Like, how many words have the letter in it.

We didn't care about the sound that it makes, we just cared that the letter exists in the word.

That's the first step.

Then I'm going to have to work on sounds because you need to be able to tell the difference

between sounds.

But before we do that, let me give you a little bit of help with working with consonants.

Now, I'm just assuming everybody knows a consonant, but in case you don't: A, E, I, O, U, U are

sometimes strong...

Oops, sorry.

That's an old song.

Those are vowels.

Okay, so I'm not talking about vowels, to be honest with you.

Vowels are really hard to do because we mix vowels, we put E and I together to make an

"a" sound or an "e" sound, so I don't want to start with that, and nor should you.

Best to start with the consonants because they're hard sounds.

Also, many Latin languages, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish don't end in hard sounds, the

hard consonants, so it's a good idea to bring your mind to it so you can practice.

Also, Japanese people have a little difficulty with this.

So, working with the consonants will almost instantly improve your pronunciation by 5

to 10% just by listening and knowing how to listen.


So, for a bonus little lesson: Do only the consonants first, I just explained why. Okay?

And I'm going to give you a specific consonant to work on because it will help you improve

faster and immediately.

The most used consonant in the English language is the letter T. Kind of strange, huh?

Some people would say the...

When I used to teach it I would say it's "s", "d", "t", and "th", not that these are...

TH is a consonant, but most people would have difficulty saying these sounds, especially

at the end of words, so I would make students use this exercise and practice with this again

and again while watching movies, so they got really good at hearing and they also found

they could understand more of what the people were saying.


So it's best to know that T is the most used consonant in English, so it's best to start

with that.

Now, practice first before you even do the listening exercise of putting on...

I wouldn't start with music.

Go for a movie or TV program to start with first.


First practicing saying T, and you could do it like this: "t, t, t, t", it's to get the

brain to become aware of it.

If you have difficulty with T, T is done by this: Your throat back here, you kind of close

it a little bit, like swallow, swallow, and then at the tip of your tongue... See?

Tip tongue, two Ts.

Your tongue...

Tip of the tongue goes to the front of the teeth, so: "t, t, t, t, t, t, t, t".

That's how you make the T. All right?

So T: "t". Got it? Cool.

Now we're ready to start.

I'm going to give you, by the way, the same two sentences I gave you before.

"Huh, so what's the challenge, man? I just did it.

You told me, right?"

Now, remember I told you how many...

Oh, did I tell you how many words or did I leave you hanging?

So, before I do it again: How many words did you find with the letter C?

Remember the first sentence with the cat?

If you said five, congratulations, you're correct.

There were five words with the letter C. "Cat", "quickly", "came", "couch", and "caught".

Good on you.

How about the second sentence?

How many words with the letter S?

This was a little bit tougher, so I hope you were paying attention.

Remember I did it twice and you had to focus on just that "s", right?

That "s" sound, S-word.

So, what do we have?

"She", "shopped", "sites", "seemed", "strange", "she", I said "she" again, "used", "pictures",

"site" again, but I said "sites", "was", and "hers".

Pretty cool. Right?

That was 11 words with an S in it, if you were paying attention.

All right?

Now, remember I'm going to repeat the same sentences this time, but we're going to do

a different job.

This time, instead of concentrating on the name of the letter, I want to concentrate

on the sound.

So, the first thing we have to look at is: The letter C can make two sounds.

It can make a "s" sound or a "k" sound.

I'm going to concentrate on this, and we're not going to concentrate on the letter C,

we're going to concentrate on one thing it can do.

I want to hear how many words have the letter "k"...

Or, sorry, the "k" sound. All right?

How many of them?

So I'm going to read the same sentences as before.

Now, don't rewind the video to go check it out, I'm going to read it to you anyway, but

this time look for a "k" sound that could be the letter C. Are you ready?

Let's do it.

"The cat quickly came to the couch and caught sight of the kite in the tree and kept quiet."

Okay, how many "k" sounds did you hear?

Let's try again.

"The cat quickly came to the couch and caught sight of the kite in the tree and kept quiet."


Now, you remember before I said there were five words with the letter C, but the "k"

sound, there are actually seven words with the "k" sound.

Whoa, yeah, extra.

Because remember "k-kite"-right?-and "kept" or "keep" have a "k" sound.

And sometimes the C sounds like a K, and that's what I mean by you have to start being able to...

The first thing is: How many words are there?

We work on vocabulary and listening.

The second time we're listening to grabbing sounds, taking sounds out of sentences.

And in order to do that we can actually start noticing there are breaks between words, and

when you start noticing the breaks, you can start catching the words afterwards and understanding

even better.

All right?

Okay, now we've done with the C, I want to work on the letter S. If you remember the

sentence I did earlier with S, I told you there were 11 words with S. The words were:

"she", "shot", "sites"-right?-"seemed", "strange", "she", because I said "she" twice, "used",

"pictures", "sites" again, "was", and "hers".

There're 11 words, that's a lot of words.

That might have been difficult because I did read it at, you know, a decent speed.

Now we're going to redo that sentence again, but this time I don't care about the S. What

I want to work on is the sound, because S can have two sounds, it can have a "z" sound

or a "s, S" sound.

All right?

So your job now is to catch how many words have the "s" sound, not the letter S. Are

you ready? Let's do it.

"She shopped at many sites in the city that seemed strange.

The cellphone that she used to take the pictures of the sites was not hers."

You ready? One more time.

"She shopped at many sites in the city that seemed strange.

The cellphone that she used to take the pictures of the sites was not hers."

Okay, I'm smiling because I can see you go: "I got it.

I know how many words."

Some of you will say 11, right?


Remember I said there's a difference between the name of the letter and the sound of the

letter, and the example I gave was the name of the letter B is B, the letter B, but the

sound it makes is "b".

In the case of S, S can be "s" as in "silent" or "z" as in "hers".

Now, some of you are going: "Oy vey!

He said 'hers'."

I'm like: Yeah, it's a "z" sound and you have to be careful.

All right?

So, in this case, how many sounds of S?

You'll be surprised, because it's not all the words you think.

"She" and "shopped" are a "sh" sound, not a "s" sound.


Some of you who have trouble saying "ch" and "sh" are now noticing: "Oh, there's a difference."

So those don't count.

"Sites" count and "city", but some of you will go: "James, 'city' starts with a C."

Remember over here?

We said C sometimes can sound like "S, s".

And for proper pronunciation we need to be able to tell the difference.

So, we have: "sites", "city", "seemed", "strange", and the word "cellphone".

Starts with a C, but it sounds like an "s".


We can't say: "she", because it's a "sh" again, right?

And we can't say "used" because that is a "z" sound.

We can't say "pictures" because that's a "z" sound.

But we can say "sites" again.

So the number that we used dropped down dramatically.

I hope you were paying attention to that and I hope you got a lot out of the lesson, because

if you use this properly, you will find that you can improve greatly and quickly in your

pronunciation, but also your listening skills and understanding when you speak to other


Now, of course I have homework for you, and this is very specific homework.

So for those of you who like The Matrix, I'm about to make you happy and it's only 18 seconds


I need you to...

Well, you're probably on YouTube.

If you're not on engVid, you're on YouTube.

You can go to YouTube and you can look under: "Blue Pill or Red Pill?

The Matrix."

And I only want you to listen to 18 seconds.

In the first 18 seconds, Morpheus-we'll call him by his movie name-uses many words with

the letter W. I want you to count up how many times or how many words he uses with the letter

W, like: "which", "when", "window".

He uses many, many, many of them.

Your job is to do homework, go there.

It's 18 seconds.

You've watched me for about 15 minutes.

18 seconds to improve is great.


Great that it's just a short amount of time to improve.

Count how many times Morpheus uses a W word when he's talking to Neo.

And when you're done, go pop at the website and see who got it right.

Was it 10?

Was it 15?

Was it 5?

Challenge yourself and challenge others.

Anyway, I've got to wrap this up, and that means I have to go.

I'm going to make this quick.

Please subscribe to our website, and if you want to get my latest video, you want to be

informed right away, be the first person to get it, what you have to do is hit the "Subscribe"

button which is usually...

It could be a red box, but it says: "Subscribe".

But don't forget you have to also hit the bell.

You have to hit the bell because then that will come to your email or on your cellphone,

you'll get instantly let aware when I have a new video.


I'm looking forward to seeing you again.

Don't forget to go to the website.

Don't forget to subscribe.

Hit the bell, and have a great day.

See you soon.

And I want to know how many Ws happened with Neo and Morpheus.

Maybe I'll be the first one.

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