Saturday Listening Lesson: Nilofer Merchant 2



(1) To point out: To show a specific thing

I should point out that you need to file this with the other CVs.

(2) Timing: The speed we use when we say something. Also how long we wait between sounds.

Careful timing can make your listeners notice some words more.

(3) Stress: Emphasizing a word by making it louder and longer.

You should stress the important words and say the unimportant words quickly.



1. In the first example, why does she have three big pauses?

a. To add melody to her speech

b. She’s nervous

c. To make you listen carefully

2. What’s the difference between “I had some rice.” and “I did have some rice”?

a. In the first, we don’t know anything for sure

b. The first strengthens the idea because there’s no did

c. The second strengthens the idea because of did

3. Why does she say some words slowly and some words quickly?

a. To stress some words (the important words)

b. She’s nervous

c. To add melody to her speech


Saturday Listening Lesson


By Jeremy Schaar

When listening to a video, you might notice a new word. You might write down the word and then try using it later. After you use it a few times, you remember it and then you know that word. That’s a great way to learn vocabulary. But, if you want to listen better, you need to do a little more. You need to notice how people speak and try to learn those things, just like you learn vocabulary.

I’ve covered this great video by Nilofer Merchant before. But today, I’d like to point out five sentences she says. You should note how she says them and try to repeat speak in the same way.


“What you’re doing, right now, at this very moment, is killing you.”

Note her timing. There’s a big pause with each comma. She does this to make people listen carefully.


“Sitting is so incredibly prevalent, we don’t even question how much we’re doing it.”

Note how quickly she says “we don’t even”. She says “wedoneven”. You should say it the same. (You can’t really hear the “t” sound at all.) As long as you stress question, people will understand you.


“What did get me moving, was a social interaction.”

Note how much she emphasizes the word “did”. She could have just said “What got me…”, but using a strong did gives the sentence strength.

Also note how she emphasizes the word “social” because it’s the most important word in the sentence.


“Could you come then?”

Note how she says “kudjuh” instead of “could you”. Then both “come” and “then” are stressed equally.


“First there’s this amazing thing about actually getting out of the box, that leads to out-of-the-box-thinking.”

Note how she says some words quickly (“there’s this”) and other words slowly (“out of the box”) to focus our attention on the important words. Words that don’t give any meaning are said quickly.

So, how well did you understand? As always, if you have any questions or want more practice, comment on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter.


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, C, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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