Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

3 ways to deal with confusion with native English speakers

Do you take ketchup on your hot dogs?

Today we answer a question about what to do when you’re in a conversation with a native and they make a grammar mistake.

This could make their message confusing.

Find out how to figure out what they are saying and how to connect with them to continue the conversation.

Here is the phrase from a native speaker that students asked about. They wanted to know what this means. Are we supposed to ketchup on it? Are we not supposed to put ketchup on it?

“You can’t do it poorly other than don’t put ketchup on them.”


Keep this in mind:

1- Don’t just focus on the grammar. Natives make mistakes in grammar all of the time. Even educated native speakers make mistakes. Don’t rely too much on perfect grammar to be able to understand. You need other strategies instead of obsessing about grammar to keep the conversation going.

2- Context matters! You can’t take this sentence in isolation. You need to be in the whole conversation. The only way you’ll know what the phrase actually means is by looking back earlier in the conversation. If you do that, it will be clear what she means.

3- Use a phrase to confirm what the person means! Here is what you can say: “Sorry, wait, hold on, do you mean….”


If you are ready to dive into our Bridge to Connection Method course to get more real English lessons like this one go here now.


Do you have any questions from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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