Common English Phrases For Conversation: Trial And Error
Summary: Common English Phrases For Conversation
Useful English phrases for conversation. That’s what today’s “Listen & Learn” lesson is all about.
Have you ever solved a problem (like learning a new language) by just trying? Maybe you’ve solved a problem by estimating the answers? Well, today we talk about an English phrase we heard being used in regular English conversation a few days ago.
Don’t forget that the Adept English system of “Listen & learn” means you will learn much more than just a single English phrase if you listen to the whole lesson. You will learn new English vocabulary, you will hear a native English speaker explain all the key phrases and concepts in a slow and easy to follow way. You will also hear everyday English being spoken, the English you would hear in Britain right now on any day of the week.
Audio Transcript: Common English Phrases For Conversation: Trial And Error
Hi there, and welcome to this Thursday podcast from Adept English.
Today let’s tackle another of those common English phrases for conversation that you may come across. There is probably an equivalent phrase in your language for this one. The phrase reflects the way things are often done, all around the world – and all through history too. And it’s something that you hear in English – I’ve heard someone say this in the last couple of days, which gave me the idea for the podcast.
The phrase ‘trial and error’
So the phrase today is ‘trial and error’. And the type of context that you might hear this in. Well someone might say ‘How did you manage to do that?’ And the other person says ‘Um - trial and error. We worked it out’.
If you imagine someone putting up a picture – perhaps you’ve just decorated a room, painted the walls. And now you want to put up a big picture on one wall. It might be that one person is there, fixing the picture to the wall and the other person is standing at the other side of the room, saying ‘No, it’s not straight. Up a bit that side – or down a bit the other side’. And the picture is eventually hung correctly. Well, you might say that you arrived at that through ‘trial and error’. It basically means ‘Try, and through making errors, through making mistakes, learn how to do it correctly or arrive at the correct result’.
Our brains, the machines inside our head, are really good at ‘trial and error’. They’re ideally suited to this type of learning. It’s probably the way that we discovered fire, or invented the wheel. We made mistakes, we did it wrong lots of times, but making those errors was important, because that’s what’s helped us get it right in the end.
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‘Trial and error’ - vocabulary
So vocabulary first of all. When we learn common English phrases for conversation, it’s useful first of all to understand the individual words that make up the phrase. The word ‘trial’ first of all – T-R-I-A-L. The word ‘trial’ is a noun and it comes from the verb ‘to try’ - or perhaps ‘to try out’ meaning that you test something. So you might develop something new – like a shampoo, say. Part of the development of the shampoo will be the ‘trials’ - getting lots of people to ‘try the shampoo out’ to see whether it works. So these are called ‘trials’ or maybe ‘product trials’.
The word ‘trial’ in English has come to be associated with legal processes, with ‘court trials’. If you hear the word ‘trial’ on the news, it’s probably this context that it’s being used in. So if you’re suspected of breaking the law, of doing something wrong and it’s serious, then you might be charged by the police – with stealing or doing harm to someone – and then later, there may be a ‘trial’ in court. The ‘trial’ is the process of ‘trying out the evidence’, seeing whether there’s enough evidence to find you ‘guilty’, whether or not it looks like you did the bad thing. So if you’re found ‘innocent’, you haven’t done it and if you’re found ‘guilty’, you have. Or that’s the way it’s supposed to work – it doesn’t always, of course.
So ‘trial and error’. The word error, you probably already know. An ‘error’ is a mistake, a ‘whoops that’s wrong’. An error is something incorrect, something wrong.
Trial and error as a good way to learn!
So ‘trial and error’ means that when you start to do something, you don’t really know what you’re doing. But you try it, you get it wrong a few times, and then you learn by your mistakes. Lots of things are like that – cooking for example. Even if you follow instructions, follow a recipe, you might improve the result – you might bake a better cake - through ‘trial and error’.
So this idea is useful, not just because ‘trial and error’ is one of those common English phrases for conversation, but also because the idea of ‘trial and error’ is important when you’re learning a language. You can’t expect to get things right all the time, even first time when you start to speak. So often it takes a bit of ‘trial and error’ to learn to use a phrase correctly. You use it, you test it, perhaps you get it wrong and the other person you’re speaking to tells you so. It’s also like this with English pronunciation – through ‘trial and error’, you get it right. The really important thing is to not be afraid of making mistakes, making errors. Errors are important because we learn through them, often much more than if we get it right first time.
Trial and error in sentences – some examples
So what about some examples? It’s always good to give examples of these common English phrases for conversation, so here we go for ‘trial and error’ situations.
I’ve learned how to grow tomatoes really well, over a number of years. Through trial and error, I know exactly how to plant them, feed them and water them.
Children learn through trial and error, especially when it comes to ‘how to make friends’.
Making pancakes is a skill. The more you make, the better they taste – it’s trial and error.
Sometimes maths is trial and error. The only way to get an answer is to estimate and try it out.
So that’s this week’s podcast. I hope that’s added to the common English phrases for conversation that you know, you understand and maybe you may use!
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
PS: We All Want The Trials To Be Short & The Least Number Of Errors To Solve A Problem
We’ve talked about “Trial & Error” in learning to speak a new language, English. If you’re using Adept English to learn, then we have removed a lot of the guesswork you might normally go through in learning to speak English.
However, in your journey to speak English you will need to trial your pronunciation of English words. This can be quick and easy for some or slow and hard for others. Different people solve problems at different speeds. Also, some languages are very different to English and it will take more time to train your brain, mouth and throat to form the correct English pronunciation.
Some people don‘t like the inefficiency of solving problems using “Trial & Error”, it feels slow or wrong. Don’t think of it like that, some problems, like learning to speak a new language, get solved more quickly using trial and error and remember it’s a uniquely human thing to do.
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