How to tell a story like a native English speaker

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
How to tell a story like a native English speaker

Do you want to tell interesting stories? Telling an engaging story is a social skill that anyone can learn. I’ll give you some phrases you can memorise and use to tell better stories in English.

Stories are important to help us understand ourselves and the world around us. One way to view our identities is as a collection of stories. In this video, I break the art of storytelling down into different topics that people tell stories about most often. I’ll share some of my personal stories from my own life to give you examples of how to tell a good story in English.

Most people have a set of stories that they like to tell. For me personally, there are some stories that I have told people hundreds of times! I suggest you practice your most common stories in English because you will definitely use them in a social situations with English speakers. Having your story prepared in English will mean that you can tell it much better, and that your audience will enjoy it more by laughing in the right place, or by feeling the emotion you want them to feel, such as surprise or sadness.

How well did you understand the lesson? Take the quiz to find out:


Hi, everyone. I’m Jade. What I’m telling you today is how to make your storytelling in English a little bit more like a native speaker, more colloquial, more relaxed in your storytelling, because storytelling is a conversation skill that you really need to learn if you’re speaking English, because when we tell stories, we share part of our character and our personality with other people, so it’s just something we do in conversation.

So, I broke it down into the different kinds of stories people tell, and some of the phrases you can use for storytelling in English, stories about your life, so you can get to know people a bit better, basically. So, what I want to start with is: When you learn in your books, it says something like… Or to say what somebody says, you use the verb „said”: „he said”, „she said”, „they said”, blah, blah. Well, actually, in colloquial storytelling in England, we use different verbs. We don’t really use „said”, necessarily. We can say: „I was like: 'Blah, blah, blah.'” So you’re telling your story, and you want to say somebody said something, it’s: „I was like”, saying something now. Not saying „said”.

We’ve got this one: „I turned to him and said: 'What are you talking about? I’m not having it. Get away.’ So he turned to me, and he was like: 'No. Shut up. Go away.'” We use „turned to”, even if someone’s not turning, we use „turned to”. It’s just what we use in our storytelling. It means then one person said, then another… And then another person said.

We also use the verb „go” to mean speak. „He goes to me”. I don’t know why all the people in my stories have got a problem, but anyway. „He goes to me: 'You’re an idiot. Get away.'” That means he said to me I’m an idiot. So you could bring in these different verbs to make your storytelling more colloquial. But let’s have a look at some different kinds of story…

People often try to tell funny stories, and if you’re consciously trying to tell a funny story, like I’m going to do now, it might not work. But I’ll tell you a little… Little something about when I was at… When I was at school. I’ll tell you about my poor physics teacher, Mr. Cat. And if I ever met Mr. Cat again, I would apologize deeply for the torment that we gave this poor physics teacher. His… His name was Mr. Cat, so that didn’t really help him that whenever he came into the room in my girls’ school, there were lots of girls, someone would go: „Meow.” And quite quietly at first, but then somebody else would be like: „Meow!” and it would get a little bit out of hand. And before we knew it, someone… Someone was cracking up, couldn’t start laugh… Couldn’t stop laughing. Someone would burst out laughing, and poor Mr. Cat, he didn’t know what to do.

And then the other thing we used to do with him, because it was a science lab, we had… We had sinks on the tables with these taps, and somebody discovered that you can turn the taps around, so we all decided that when he was… We had this experiment, and we all decided that when… For this experiment, we’d all turn the taps around at the same time, but he didn’t know about it. So when he was like: „And now I want you to start with your experiment”, we all turned the taps on at the same time and water was going all over the… All over the classroom. So, of course, by then, we’re crying with laughter, and poor Mr. Cat’s probably crying real tears. So if you’re watching this, Mr. Cat, I am really sorry. But teenagers are cruel, what can I say?