Mastering an English Homophone: Segue vs Segway

Have you noticed how popular personal transportation devices have become in the last decade? Segways are transportation "vehicles" that help to take you, as a pedestrian, from one location to another in a smooth and comfortable way.

Segways have gained popularity with law enforcement, security personnel and people in general. Try riding one and you'll be amazed at how easy it is. You might even want to get one for yourself.

What does this have to do with the English language? A verb in the English language to describe an important facet of communication and conversation is a segue. Segue and Segway are homophones, meaning they are spelled differently, pronounced the same, and have different meanings.

The words "segue" and "Segway" may have completely different meanings, but there is a clever way to connect the two. Just like a Segway, a segue helps you to seamlessly transition—while a Segway seamlessly moves you from one place to another, a segue seamlessly moves you from one idea or topic to another. You might remember conversations that started out on one topic, and then by the end of the conversation you were talking about something completely different. That transition from topic to topic, whether done intentionally or not, was accomplished using a segue.

For example, you might be talking with a native English speaker about how beautiful the beaches are in your country, then by the end of the conversation you are talking about road trips to different parts of the world. How did you get from talking about beaches to road trips? Segues!

Segues are important in many facets of life. They are key to moving from one point or idea to another in a conversation. Segues can be used to help illustrate a lesson. Segues are also important when presenting to a client or giving a speech or lecture.

Segues help your conversations to feel smooth. With good segues, you can reduce the amount of "umms" and "uhhhs" you may have while keeping a conversation.

Common phrases that signal a segue in conversation include "by the way...", "that reminds me...", and "speaking of topic, have you heard/seen related topic?" But segues can also be more artfully included in your communications. One example of a segue, for example, is at the beginning of this article. Did you notice how I went from a conversation about personal transportation devices to the topic of seamlessly transitioning from one idea to another in conversations?

Segues are an important part of your everyday English. How do you use segues in your native language? Do you make use of any good segues in your presentations?

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