In some speaking exams you may have to tell a story that you make up or a true story about something that happened to you. This is sometimes called a personal anecdote.

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Here are our top tips for telling a good story or anecdote.

Do:

  • Take time to think about the question and the story before you start talking. 
  • Use narrative tenses – past simple, past continuous and past perfect.
  • Use adjectives and adverbs to make the story interesting.
  • Use sequencing words: first of all, then, after that, later on, finally, in the end ...
  • Give your story an introduction. Say briefly what your story is about.
  • Give the background to your story. Say when and where it took place and what you were doing at that time.
  • Say what happened step by step. Use words like so, because and although to connect the actions until you reach the end of the story.
  • Keep the action moving!
  • Finish your story or anecdote by saying why it is important to you or why you remember it.
  • Look at your listeners.

Don’t:

  • Take too long telling the story or your listeners will get bored.
  • Use a flat or bored voice.
  • Look down or look around the room.

Examples of storytelling tasks

  • Tell me about a holiday you had.
  • Tell me about a difficult journey you had.
  • Tell me about a perfect day you’ve had.
  • Tell me about a special event in your life.
  • Tell me about a birthday you remember.
  • Tell me about a time when you lost something important.
  • Tell me about a time when you gave someone a surprise.
Total votes: 220
Language level: 

Discussion

We do this everyday when we talk to friends and family. What type of stories or anecdotes do you like to hear? Stories about people, holidays or something else?

Comments

ellen's picture
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ellen 22 February, 2014 - 16:57

i tell you one anecdote .
A man called the police says:
~ Police have the 500 dead.
Police says:
~ Where?
Man says:
~ Cemetery.
How is it?
It is funny?
Thank/

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Ash94's picture
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Ash94 24 November, 2013 - 14:31

Hi Learn English team,
Can you please make a system to let us know if someone has replied to our comments?

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Jo - Coordinator's picture
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Jo - Coordinator 25 November, 2013 - 08:53

Hi Ash94,
Yes, we agree that it would be great to have a notifications system for replies. We want to improve the comment features on the website and we're looking into it. Thanks a lot for suggesting this improvement, anyway. We're working on it!
Best wishes,
Joanna (LearnEnglishTeens team)

 

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Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 24 November, 2013 - 10:18

Hi ann_gemini. Kelvin and Melissa are both from Hong Kong. They spoke well, didn’t they? Did you like watching these videos? Keep going with your English practice and never give up! It takes hard work to improve but you can do it! You are writing very well in your messages so I think you’re already doing well.
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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ann_gemini's picture
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ann_gemini 17 January, 2014 - 10:28

Hi Jonathan, I think people living in Hong Kong have greater exposure to English because it's a multicultural society, isn't it? So they speak English so well. I am now practicing speaking English with an American accent :D . I hope I could speak as naturally as Kelvin and Melissa did

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Natalija's picture
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Natalija 11 April, 2013 - 16:50

I like to hear stories about some amazing experiences, like traveling abroad. And I like to hear stories about people, about their life and their way to succeed.

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Simon's picture
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Simon 1 February, 2013 - 02:50

Hey tota syria. The video is working for me. What web browser are you using? Have you tried watching it on another web browser (Chrome, IE, Mozilla) or on a different computer? Let us know if that helps.

Simon (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

 

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marila2013's picture
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marila2013 11 April, 2013 - 09:33

hi dear simon ...
i use both Mozilla and internet Explorer wed browsers but the video don't play for me..if it's possible send it to me..thanks

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Simon's picture
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Simon 11 April, 2013 - 16:45

Hi marila2013

I'm sorry we are unable to send the videos to you. They are working on my computer and I use Google Chrome. Have you tried watching them on another computer? Unfortunately these videos are quite slow to load. Please let us know if you can see them on another computer.

Simon (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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m.tayyab's picture
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m.tayyab 23 August, 2012 - 07:52

i like to hear stories about others personal experiences and about difficulties in their's life etc.

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Stavii16's picture
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Stavii16 10 July, 2012 - 08:18

An amazing day of my life was about a week ago.
SURPRISE BIRTHDAY PARTYYYY !
Yeah!
:D

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61 users have voted.