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Master difficult sentences:
"Backwards Recitation"

As you may know after reading previous learning tips, Teacher Joe often says that sentences are much more important than words. Some sentences, however, are too long or too difficult to remember. What can students do? Teacher Joe has a useful trick for you. Instead of reciting sentences from beginning to end, try repeating from the last word and work your way back to the first word. Here's an example:

"Two hundred and fifty thousand Canadian dollars were spent on the newest cell phone technology during the first quarter of this year."

This sentence has 19 words. When students try to repeat such a long sentence from the beginning, they often have trouble after 8 or 10 words. So, you can try reciting from the end and slowly move backwards. In other words, start with the last two words, "this year", then the last four words, "quarter of this year", then "the first quarter of this year", etc. After you can do the second half of the sentence smoothly ("the newest cell phone technology during the first quarter of this year" - 12 words), you have the choice of going back to the beginning and reciting the whole sentence.

Using backwards recitation, Teacher Joe's students are able to repeat any sentence smoothly. Maybe your spoken English is already good enough, so you don't need to repeat sentences any more. (If so, congratulations on your successful study!) But if you sometimes have trouble with sentences, try studying backwards.

"Professor" Joe

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