Billie Haase

Lost for Words? – Phrases to Give you Thinking Time

You might be asked a question in a speaking exam (or even in real life!) that you just don’t know how to answer straight away. It is good to have a few phrases up your sleeve that will give you some precious thinking time.

Unfortunately, just staying silent or only coming up with ‘errr …’, ‘hmmmm …’ or ‘I don’t know’ does not leave the best impression. Instead, take action now and learn a few sentences that sound like you are engaging in the conversation, but that also allow you to think for a few moments before you have an idea that you can contribute. In this video I will show you a few examples that can help you.


Natural sounding intonation is really important too. Intonation is the rhythm and melody that we speak in. You will sound better and achieve a higher score for your pronunciation in an exam if you work a little on your intonation. Make sure you watch the video clip again and repeat the sentences. Try copying the rhythm this time.

When asked a tricky question, remember:

Good luck in your exam!