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Anecdotes about the Past

You can use an array of tenses while telling stories and jokes from the past. Note this tense mix:-


Well, let me explain one of the interesting moment of my life. Once it happened so….I am in the MBA class, attending the lecture and half way through the class the person with my name-sake starts to argue with teacher in some non-topic issue and after a while there starts a raw between them. Tutor leaves the class immediately with all the frown in his face. About five minutes later, Director of Studies enters our class and asks me to leave, worst I felt when lots of people are turning round and they’re looking and tutting on me because they knew it was not me. So I have to go out and explain to him that it wasn’t me, it was the man next to me. And he apologies and because of the inconvenience he offers me a dinner in his home. Although for a moment I felt bad for the mistaken view of the Director, I enjoy this particular moment of my life because that is how I started my career and what I am today is largely of the dinner that night.


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  • Take time to think about the question and the story before you start talking.
  • Use narrative tenses – past simple, past continuous and past perfect.
  • Use adjectives and adverbs to make the story interesting.
  • Use sequencing words: first of all, then, after that, later on, finally, in the end
  • Give your story an introduction. Say briefly what your story is about.
  • Give the background to your story. Say when and where it took place and what you were doing at that time.
  • Say what happened step by step. Use words like so, because and although to connect the actions until you reach the end of the story.
  • Keep the action moving!
  • Finish your story or anecdote by saying why it is important to you or why you remember it.
  • Maintain eye-contact properly
  • Take too long telling the story or your listeners will get bored.
  • Use a flat or bored voice.
  • Take too long pause between the events of the story
  • Look down or look around the room.

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