Section 2. Getting started

Public Speaking is more than just standing in front of an audience and reading a speech from note cards; in fact, your listeners prefer that you do not use note cards.

Public Speaking is more than just memorizing a speech; it is that magical thing that happens when you connect your audience.

Communication skills include clarity of expression, ability to organize thoughts, and empathy for and interest in lives and interests of others.

Becoming an effective public speaker starts with an understanding of the communication process and the listening process. Namely, in its most basic form, communicating involves a sender who takes his/her thoughts and encodes them into verbal and nonverbal messages that are sent to a receiver. The receiver then decodes the messages and attempts to understand what the sender meant to communicate. The communication process is completed when the receiver transmits verbal and nonverbal feedback to indicate his/her reception and understanding of the message.

Even though the process of communicating is similar in all interactions, each specific situation will require you to make several choices about how to get your message across. To do this effectively you have to understand the system of the English language.

Grammar Focus: Parts of Speech

The term 'part of speech' refers to the job that a word does in a sentence, that is to its function or use. According to their jobs, words are divided into the following classes or parts of speech: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, numeral, preposition, conjunction, and interjection.


To name a person, place, thing, quality, state, or action. Noun (n) Adam, Wash­ington, pen, wit, excitement, speech.
To substitute for a noun. Pronoun (pron) he, she, it
To express action – or non-action (state of being). Verb (v) run, talk; think, is, was, will be.
To modify (describe or limit) the noun and pronoun. Adjective (adj) strong man, ugly city, limited quan­tity, few hours.
To modify any verb, adjective, or adverb. Adverb (adv) think quickly, unusually ugly, very quickly.
To indicate the number (quantity) or the order of persons or things in a series. Numeral (num) two, fourteen, thirty-five, the third, two-thirds
To show the relationship between a noun or pronoun and some other word. Preposition (prep) cart before horse, dog in manger, bombs over Brooklyn.
To join two words or two groups of words. Conjunction (cj) Ladies and Gentlemen; slow but sure.
To display emotion. Interjection (interj) Oh! Gosh! Hallelujah! Wow! Hurrah! Ouch! Hey! Oh my! Alas

Notes on Usage

Deviations from traditional usage of words belonging to different parts of speech can considerably change the emotional effect produced by the message. Such deviations are called grammatical metaphors. They can be created by adding a suffix to the verb or adjective, due to which the word is converted into a noun:

John acts silly. (verb)

John's actions are silly. (noun created by derivation)

On the other hand, by shifting the parts of speech the speaker can change not only the emotional and expressive colouring of a sentence, but also the style of speaking. Thus, adjectives functioning as names and used in direct address are characteristic of the conversational style:

Listen, my sweet.

Come on, lovely.

Besides, substantivization (the process of making a word other than a noun play the grammatical role of a noun in a sentence) combined with other constructions may sound bookish:

a flush of heat:: a hot flush

a man of intelligence:: an intelligent man

Practice Assignments

I. Complete the following chart using Box 1 as an example:

1. Noun: Advice 3. Noun: Prosperity 5. Noun: Protest 7. Noun: Society
Verb: Advise Verb: Verb: Verb:
Adjective: Advisability Adjective: Adjective: Adjective:
Adverb: Advisably Adverb: Adverb: Adverb:
2. Noun: Confusion 4. Noun: Progress 6. Noun: Restriction 8. Noun: Specification
Verb: Verb: Verb: Verb:
Adjective: Adjective: Adjective: Adjective:
Adverb: Adverb: Adverb: Adverb:

III. Complete each box of the chart with the examples taken from the extract given below. Be ready to explain why you identified your answers as the parts of speech you listed. Comment on the level of formality of the speaker's language.


Wow. What a privilege to be with you all. Since I've arrived here in Hanover many people have greeted me by saying, "It's a beautiful day in this neighbourhood." Well, indeed it is a beautiful day. But before I begin, I'd like you to know that I recognize that you who live and work here have had many days, particularly during these last several months, that have been far from beautiful. You've had a painful time and you've handled it with dignity. I feel certain that the Zantops' generous spirits inspire you and it's a great privilege for me to be with you all.

When I was at Dartmouth in the late 1940's, the tuition, room, and board all added up to $1100 a year. Nobody owned a home computer and hardly anyone had a television set and for those who did, there was a choice of three channels. I'm not sure if Jeanne Shaheen was even born yet, but very few people would have guessed that within 50 years a woman would be governor of New Hampshire. Yes, when I was here the first word of the alma mater was "Men…Men of Dartmouth, give a rouse…". Well, now the first word is "Dear". Some things change for the better.[2]

III. Brainstorm or consult a thesaurus to write a list of words that are semantically close to the word Responsibility but belong to different parts of speech. Pick up quotations or sayings that can be used in the related context. (Feel free to choose any other lexical set.)


NOUN: celebration, solemnization, commemoration, ovation, triumph; lionization; inauguration, installation, presentation; coronation; anniversary; festivity, festival; holiday [See Amusement].

[ wedding anniversaries ] wooden wedding [5th], tin wedding [10th], crystal wedding [15th], china wedding [20th], silver wedding [25th], golden wedding [50th], diamond wedding [60th].

jubilee, 50th anniversary; diamond jubilee, 60th anniversary.

VERB: celebrate, bless, commemorate, commend, drink to, eulogize, exalt, extol, glorify, honour, keep, laud, observe, perform, praise, proclaim, publicize, rejoice, reverence, solemnize, toast.

pledge, drink to, toast; hob and nob, hobnob with; present.

inaugurate, install, instate, induct, chair.

rejoice [See Rejoicing]; kill the fatted calf, hold jubilee; roast an ox, serve up the Thanksgiving turkey, serve up the Christmas goose; fire a salute, dip the colors, present arms; paint the town red [colloq.]; maffick [colloq., Eng.].

ADJECTIVE: celebrating &c. v.; commemorative, celebrated, immortal; solemn, jubilant; kept, kept in remembrance.

ADVERB: in honor of, in commemoration of, in celebration of, in memory of; as a toast.

INTERJECTION: hail! all hail!

“see the conquering hero comes!”

“Hail! hail! the gang’s all here!”


I drink to the general joy of the whole table. — Macbeth.

God bless thy lungs, good Knight. — II Henry IV.

One flag, one land, one heart, one hand, One nation evermore! — Holmes.

A broadside for our Admiral, Load every crystal gun. — Holmes.

Ere we depart we’ll share a bounteous time. — Timon of Athens.

They are ever forward In celebration of this day. — Henry VIII.

Less noise, less noise! — II Henry IV.

The yearly course that brings this day about Shall never see it but a holiday. — King John.

Lest we forget. — Kipling [3].


IV. Write an address you would give at a ceremony, using the vocabulary from the previous exercise.

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