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[ESL/ EFL] Sharing Information
Eighth in a series of English language lessons from Jennifer Lebedev
Jennifer Lebedev (jenesl)     Print Article 
  Published 2008-08-06 02:31 (KST)   
Tip No. 1

Many people, especially us women, enjoy sharing a secret with a good friend. If you decide to pass along private information, you can start with one of these questions:

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"Can you keep a secret?" or
"Do you promise not to tell anyone what I'm about to tell you?"

Of course, anytime you share a secret, you take a risk that others will find out. If that does happen, you can confront your friend by asking: "You didn't tell anyone what I told you, did you?" A true friend will be honest and admit when he or she has let the cat out of the bag. Be forgiving. Sometimes a secret is just too good not to share! And if the secret was very personal, you might have been unwise to tell it in the first place.

Tip No. 2

There's a name for people who make a habit out of spreading secret or private information about others: a gossip. Gossip is the name for who they are and what they do. So when a gossip is gossiping, the person often tries to catch your attention by saying:

"Did you hear that?" or
"Listen to this. I just heard that"

To stop a gossip from telling you more than you care to hear, you might interrupt and say:

"Wait, wait I really don't want to know all of this. Sorry."

Of course, a more subtle technique is to give a lukewarm response: "Mmm. Really?" Your lack of enthusiasm should cause disappointment and force the gossip to leave in search of a different audience.

Tip No. 3

Similar to telling a secret is sharing insider information. In the world of business and politics, there's a lot of information that the general population doesn't have access to. Sharing insider information can be viewed many ways, depending on the circumstances. It can be seen as helpful and clever or unfair and unethical. If you're in a position to reveal insider information, you can open the conversation by saying:

"This is strictly confidential." or
"This is off the record."

Insider information can also be as innocent as telling tourists what is usually known only by natives. For example, a chatty taxi driver might say:

"Not many people know this, but" or
"Let me tell you the best kept secret of this city."

It's also possible for two insiders to help each other. They compare information on something: financial investments, a political scandal, recent events on a TV show, or the best nightclubs in town. As long as the exchange of information is not of a criminal nature, the request from a fellow insider can be straightforward:

"Do you want to compare notes?" or
"Can you fill me in?"

Tip No. 4

Some people enjoy sharing surprising information. Whether it's the birth of twin babies or the chance meeting of a celebrity, you can share exciting news with one of these conversation starters:

"You'll never believe what happened to me"
"I'll bet you didn't know that"
"Guess what!"

Tip No. 5

Sharing information can take the form of giving advice or voicing an opinion. You likely know expressions such as "In my opinion" and "From my point of view." Now I'd like to present common ways of sharing ideas when you know that the listener will likely resent your words:

"I know you don't want to hear this, but"
"You may think otherwise, but I believe"
"You'll probably disagree with me, but"
"Can I be honest with you?"

Tip No. 6

There are times when our advice or opinion is unsolicited. That is, no one asked us to share information, but we decide to do so anyway.

For example, you might hear two tourists talking at a bus stop and volunteer some information: "I'm sorry. I couldn't help overhear your conversation. Did you want to know the fastest way to get to the art museum?"

You could also overhear a conversation held by your classmates or co-workers and ask to join in: "Are you talking about? Mind if I join you? I was just thinking"

- [ESL/ EFL podcast] Sharing Information 

©2008 OhmyNews
Jennifer Lebedev is a teacher of English as a second and foreign language with 12 years experience. She has additional experience in teacher training and administration of an IEP and is a published author. Find more of her online English instruction on YouTube under the name "JenniferESL".
Other articles by reporter Jennifer Lebedev

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