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All Ears English Podcast

Nov 26, 2014

What should be your focus when learning English?

How can you make the most of the time you invest in studying?

Today Lindsay talks with Nick Vance about the 80/20 principle, and how it can improve your English conversations!


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Nick believes that 80% of the positive benefits of something come from 20% of the input.  In business, some customers are more valuable than others.  With friends, though you may have many, only a few are truly close.

In learning English, most of the grammar mistakes a new learner makes are really the same mistake over and over.  Correcting these most common 20% of mistakes would eliminate 80% of all grammar mistakes.  The best way to identify these is by working with a teacher who can help point out your mistakes.


Another way to work with the 80/20 principle is to prepare answers to the most common questions you might get from native English speakers.  This will help you comfortably get conversations started — which is probably 80% of the work!

You might prepare answers to questions like:

  • Where are you from?
  • How long have you lived here?
  • What do you do for a living?


Do you see the 80/20 principle working in your life?

How so?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Nick Vance is originally from Kentucky and has lived in North Carolina, Washington DC, San Diego and Portland.  He has been living in Berlin, Germany for 2.5 years.  Nick’s degree is in math but he left that field when he realized how much he enjoyed helping others learn English.
Nick has been helping people improve their English for 4 years and have been teaching online via Italki for about one year.