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Meaning of technique on Cambridge Dictionary

a way of doing an activity that needs skill

Meaning of skill on Cambridge Dictionary

an ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practiced it

Googling "common English techniques" gives just 10 hits while googling "common English skills" gives 56,700 hits, which indicates the latter is more common than the former, why is that?

question 1

In the following sentence, which one should I use?

Intonation is an useful English technique/skill. ESL learners better to master it.

question 2

suppose skill is the answer, should I call intonation "a skill" or "part of speaking skill"

Intonation is an useful skill...

Intonation is a useful part of speaking skill...
  • Because technique refers mainly to physical skills, such as making things or playing sports or music. – Kate Bunting Jun 1 at 12:15
  • Your quoted meanings are not the same, so comparing which is more common doesn't make sense. "Skill" can be used as a synonym for "technique", or it can mean what you quoted. A technique is something optional, because you could use a different technique—a different "way"—instead. A skill could be less optional. – Dan Getz Jul 10 at 15:08
  • "Technique" is a manner of doing something, while "skill" is a mastery of something. If you learn many good techniques, you become more skilled. Basically, "skill" is more general, while "technique" refers specifically to a particular strategy for doing something well. – codi6 Jul 10 at 21:15
  • @codi6 Thank you. How about the particular situation, the example of intonation? – PutBere Jul 10 at 21:57
  • @KateBunting Thank you. How about the particular situation, the example of intonation? – PutBere Jul 10 at 21:57
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"Technique" is a manner of doing something, while "skill" is a mastery of something. If you learn many good techniques, you become more skilled. Basically, "skill" is more general, while "technique" refers specifically to a particular strategy for doing something well.

In this case, "skill" is right, since there's no alternative to intonation. There is no alternative technique.

So the correct sentence is: "Intonation is a useful English skill. ESL learners better master it." (So also change "an" to "a" and use "better master it," not "better to master it.") Incidentally, it's a useful skill in every language, so you probably don't need to specify English here.

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