Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

What do you do when you are talking with a native speaker but you can’t remember a vocabulary word?

Does your mind go blank?

Do you stop the conversation and break the connection?

Don’t let that happen again!

Instead, use some new strategies to work together with the person you are speaking with to figure out the word or keep the conversation momentum going.

Today our guest Peter will show you three things that you can start doing immediately so that you never face a situation like this again.

1- Use basic phrases that could explain anything. If you are looking for the word for a certain kind of person you could say, “Someone who helps someone in trouble…” and the native speaker might say “a police officer”.

  • Someone who _____
  • Somewhere where ____
  • Something which ____
  • The thing you ____
  • The place you _____
  • The place where _____
  • The person you see ____


2- Use similes. If you don’t know the exact words that you want but you know something like it then you can use this tactic.

A: Have you got the thing with the same taste as butter but healthier?

B: Do you mean margarine?

Use these phrases:

  • the same size
  • the same shape
  • the same feel
  • the same taste


3- Use your body language and facial expressions. In English and American or British culture it’s okay to do this. If you explain the word with your body the people around you will be able to figure out what you’re trying to say.



Native English Teachers onlineAre you looking for a professional, native English teacher online?

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Lindsay and Michelle recommend italki as our #1 English-learning solution online. Choose from more than 400 teachers to work on your business English or to pass your next big exam.

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How to book a lesson with Peter:

Step 1: You must register here as a new user to get $10 free

Step 2: Visit Peter’s profile and book your first lesson with him. Go to:



Peter Boon has been teaching, mainly in China, for over ten years and for the past year on italki with students from all over the world. During this time he met many students who lacked confidence in using what they had learnt or who were finding difficulties in English speaking environments due to nervousness about speaking out. He has built fluency courses to build confidence through effective tactics in ‘using what you have got’. He wants to get you speaking today so that you can move towards your desired level with confidence.


What questions do you have from today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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