Duolingo Dictation

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In the Duolingo dictation task, you will hear a sentence or short passage that you should type. You have up to one minute to type what you hear and can play the passage a maximum of three times.

You will have between 4 and 7 dictated phrases to type.

This is one of the computer adaptive tasks on the Duolingo English test. This means that the difficulty of the next question will depend on how successfully the previous one is completed.


Listen to the audio and type what you hear.

Check the answer below to see what was said.

My hands are too big to fit into these gloves.


This task tests your ability to listen and make out the individual words in a sentence. To improve at this task, you will need to improve your listening ability.

Step 1 - Write the Easy Words First

When you hear the sentence for the first time, don’t worry about getting every single word. Type the main words that you hear.

These words are likely to be the content words. This is because these words are stressed in the sentence and therefore sound clearer when we listen to a sentence.

Once you have the main words, it is much easier to fill in the gaps.

Step 2 - Listen for the Unstressed Words

On the second and third listening, you are able to listen for words which are not stressed. These will be words such as:

  • articles (a/an/the)
  • prepositions (on/in/by)
  • auxiliary verbs (be/do/have)
  • conjunctions (and/but/so)

Step 3 - Type then Check

Don’t worry about the spelling of words when you first type them. It is more important that you type all of the words you hear at first. After each time of listening you can edit what you have typed to ensure you have the correct spelling.

Step 4 - Learn Chunks

This isn’t a quick fix to get better at these type of questions, but it is what you need to do to improve your overall level.

Generally, the problems that students have with listening to English are:

  • not being able to split up the “stream of sound” into individual words;
  • not recognising individual words;
  • not understanding individual words in the context they are being used.

Part of this can be due to accents, the clarity of the speaker or interference such as some loud background noise. However, natives and competent speakers are frequently able to use their knowledge to overcome these issues.

The reason for this is that native and competent speakers know a large number of lexical chunks. These help us to recognise language quickly because we know which words often appear with each other.

For example, if I heard a sentence like “While Joe was [_______] for the bus, he was [_________] to music”, and I didn’t hear the two gapped words, I could have a reasonable guess at what they are.

I know people “wait for buses” and “listen to music”. Therefore I can use my knowledge of these two chunks to insert these words.

My knowledge of these chunks would also help me if it was the prepositions that I didn’t hear. Given that prepositions are usually unstressed, this is actually more likely.


Here are some practice questions. When you have finished, check your answers below.

Dictation 1

Dictation 2

Dictation 3

The book had pictures of eyes all over the front cover.

Cancelling all student debt would be unfair on those who already paid.

He had no idea how to build a car, but he figured it couldn’t be that hard.

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