161 Why Aren't Native Speakers Perfect

Michael's English Isn't Perfect?

Why doesn’t Michael speak perfectly, even though he’s a native speaker and professional teacher?

Why do native speakers make mistakes? 

What are some of the common mistakes that native speakers make?

Does this mean it’s okay for me to make mistakes too?

These are some of the questions I look at in today’s episode – don’t miss it!

English Mistakes that I Make

There is a lot of reasons…

This is one I hear all the time. We should say “There are reasons”, but we say “is”. There may be a few reasons for this, but one is simply because it’s easier to say.


THE Largest Building

Someone pointed out to me on Instagram that I should say “the largest” and not pronounce it as “thee largest”. We should generally use the shorter pronunciation before a consonant. While this is often true, we like to use the longer “ee” for emphasis.

TH Pronunciation 

I’m really bad at pronouncing the TH sound. I never learnt properly as a child. Is this really a mistake? It’s hard to say. Some accents in the UK use Fs instead of THs. It’s not so uncommon.

Final Thoughts

Teachers do have a responsibility to provide natural language for their students. That’s what I try to do. My philosophy is to provide this in a (mostly) standard way, but also not to give up my own accent.

Being fluent is not about being perfect.

If you notice any native mistakes, that just means you improving! It’s a great sign! Well done.

If we all speak perfectly as a textbook says we should, we’ll sound like robots.

This is why I’m not an advocate of teaching the British accent to everyone and everyone ending up sounding like the queen. Let’s learn to accept and embrace our own accents, which will surely sound more natural over time anyway.

“You must learn the rules before you can break them.”

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2 thoughts on “#161 Why Aren’t Native Speakers Perfect?”

  1. I heard this episode last night, It’s really good!I love British accent very much and I followed you a few months ago, It’s really helpful!Thank you very much!By the way, your Chinese accent is also great, but in the sentence “为什么我听不了这个”, “了” pronounces “liao”, not ” le”. Sometimes we have two different pronunciations in a same word.

    1. Hi Yiyuan, thanks for listening! And thanks for the tip about Chinese pronunciation. I’ve come across a few examples where the pronunciation is different, but I’m still learning. I’ll get it eventually!

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