Grammar & Pronunciation in Public Speaking

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  • 0:01 Using Proper Grammar…
  • 1:50 Relating Grammar to a Speech
  • 3:17 Pronunciation Is Important
  • 4:31 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

Using proper grammar and pronouncing words correctly are as important to the delivery of a quality speech as the content itself. Errors in sentence structure, word use and articulation will distract your audience and affect your overall speech delivery.

Using Proper Grammar in Speeches

I know what you are thinking, bad grammar only happens in writing. Well, think again! Bad grammar happens in both the penned and spoken word, and it is a reflection on the speaker. Think about it this way: just like a well-dressed businessman, good grammar gives the perception of competence.

Let's start from the beginning. Think of grammar as the rules of language, and there are many rules to follow. Check out the rules of basic grammar:

  • Subject
  • Predicate
  • Verb
  • Article

Every sentence has a subject. It is really only who or what you are talking about. 'I am really tired.' In this sentence, 'I' am the subject.

The predicate is part of a sentence that has a verb that tells the audience something about the subject. Now, a verb is an action word. But, it can also be an existence or occurrence word. 'I am really tired.' Here, the verb 'am' tells the audience about my existence or reality. This works the same way with 'is' and 'are'. Action verbs include run, walk, dance, jump, eat, drink, to name a few. Really, anything that implies movement.

Stay with me here. An article defines a noun and can be either definite or indefinite. Think 'a', 'an' or 'the'. Confused? Don't be! Let's check out a few examples.

  • 'The neighbor's dog ate the bone.' This is a definite article because it defined specifically who and what happened.
  • 'A dog ate a bone.' This is indefinite because it is not specific to any one dog.

So, how does this all relate to a speech, you ask? Let's see.

Relating Grammar to a Speech

So, we know all about the basic rules of grammar. Let's put it into action. Listen to the speaker as she delivers her speech.

'Hello! My name Mary. I am a member of organization called International Speakers of America. I here to discuss a individual opportunity for membership in organization.'

I know. That was rough! In fact, we really didn't understand what Mary was talking about. Let's see if we can polish this up with good grammar.

First, Mary forgot to use an existence verb between the words 'name' and 'Mary.' She should have said, 'My name is Mary.'

Next, she overlooked the article between 'of' and 'organization.' Perhaps Mary should have said, 'I am a member of an organization called. . .' Oops, she did it again where she said 'I here.' A verb would fit nicely here. 'I am here' sounds much better.

Said a better way, Mary's speech might sound like this.

'Hello! My name is Mary. I am a member of an organization called International Speakers of America. I am here to discuss an individual opportunity for membership in our organization.'

I think you get the idea. But, it doesn't end with proper grammar. Believe it or not, pronunciation is equally important.

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