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Ask away! But hang on, how do you ask any question?

Can you ask more complicated questions in the language you’re learning without pausing, stumbling or struggling?

Asking basic questions about everyday life such as how your neighbour is doing, what your colleague did on the weekend or how your friend is planning to celebrate their birthday is straightforward.

You ask these questions often so they pop out automatically.

But what happens when you need to ask something that’s not so run-of- the-mill?

Perhaps about something important or sensitive where it’s a bigger deal if you don’t sound polite or the tense isn’t right.

Do your questions still flow as easily?

Or do words and grammar get muddled up and you have to restart your questions several times?

Hmmm. Not easy to understand nor a good look.

The solution is to practise asking harder questions now so you’re prepared when you need them.

Here’s how you can practise.

Think of someone you’d find interesting to interview:

  • An elderly relative about their early life

  • A sportsperson about their training

  • A politician about their career

  • An entrepreneur about their businesses

  • A historical figure about a significant event

  • An artist about their body of work

  • A musician about going on tour

Imagine you’re going to have a conversation with this person and make a list of 10 questions you’d ask them.

Remember to cover the past, present and future.

Ask about successes, disappointments and regrets.

Also make sure you can check you’ve understood correctly, can clarify information and can probe a little deeper.

Pretending now means when the moment arrives you’ll be able to ask complicated questions accurately and sensitively without tripping up.

Need a hand to set up and stick to your DIY language project? I can help.

© Christina Wielgolawski