3 Steps to improve your English
1 Improve Your spoken English
London Language School
Speak a little English every day. The absolute best way to learn any new language
is just to speak it. It doesn't matter if you only know five English words or if you're
practically fluent -- speaking English with another person is the fastest, most
effective method of improving.
Don't wait until you "feel more comfortable" speaking in English -- you probably won't
reach that level for a long time, so push yourself outside of your comfort zone and
start speaking English today. You' ll be amazed at how quickly your language skills
Find a native English speaker who is willing to spend some time speaking English
with you -- you may be able to offer them a language exchange, where they spend
30 minutes speaking English with you and you spend 30 minutes speaking your
native language with them.
If you live in an English-speaking country, you can practice by starting simple
conversations with the people you meet, whether it's saying "hello" to a shopkeeper
or asking a stranger for directions.
Learn British English
Work on your pronunciation. Even if you have an acceptable grasp of the English
language, with good grammar and an extensive vocabulary, native English speakers
may find you very difficult to understand if you don't work on your pronunciation.
Correct, clear pronunciation is essential if you really want to improve your level of
English. Listen closely to how native English speakers pronounce certain words and
sounds and do your best to copy them.
Pay particular attention to any sounds that you are unfamiliar with or that do not exist
in your native tongue. For example some people have difficulty pronouncing the "r"
sound, as it does not exist in their native language, while other people have difficulty
with certain consonant clusters, such as the "th" sound.
Be aware that the pronunciation of certain English words varies greatly depending on
the part of the world it's spoken in. For example, American English is very different
from British English. If you intend to travel to or live in an English-speaking country,
this is something you should take into account when learning how to pronounce
Learn spoken English
Expand your vocabulary and use idiomatic phrases. The wider your vocabulary
and the more English phrases you learn, the easier speaking English will become.
Again, spending time with native English speakers will help you to pick up on
common vocabulary and phrases in a natural way. Although reading, watching
English TV and listening to the news is also beneficial.
Once you have learned a new word or phrase, you should make an effort to use it in
a sentence -- this is the best way to commit it to memory.
Another easy way to commit new words to memory is to make labels for everyday
household items and stick them around your house or apartment. Then every time
you use the kettle or look in the mirror, you will see the English word for these items
staring back at you.
You should also start a notebook of idiomatic phrases that English speakers use all
the time. Some examples include "it's raining cats and dogs" (raining heavily), to be
on "cloud nine" (to be very happy) or saying something is a "piece of cake" (when
something is very easy). Sprinkling these kinds of phrases into your conversation will
bring your level of English up several notches.
Attend an English class or discussion group. Another great way to incorporate
some extra English conversation into your weekly routine is to sign up for a class of
Attending an English class is a great way to focus on some of the more formal
aspects of speaking English. A class will teach you the grammatically correct way of
speaking -- which includes proper sentence structure and verb conjugation and will
generally provide a very structured approach to language learning.
Attending a discussion group is a more informal and relaxed way of learning English,
where the emphasis is more on communication and relationship building than on
speaking "correct" English. Speaking English in this setting can help you to become
more comfortable with speaking in front of other people.
Both of these language-learning settings have their pros and cons, so it's best to do
both if you can!
Carry a dictionary. Carrying an English dictionary with you at all times (whether it's
an actual book or a phone app) can be very useful.
Having a dictionary means that you will never be stuck for a word. It can save you a
lot of embarrassment if you're having a conversation with an English-speaker and
forget a word in the middle of the sentence -- all you have to do is take a second to
look it up!
Aside from saving you awkwardness, looking up the word you need then
immediately using it in a sentence will actually help you to commit the new
vocabulary to memory.
It is also helpful to have a dictionary to peruse throughout the day during private
moments, like when you're sitting on the train, waiting to cross the street or just
having a cup of coffee. You could learn an extra 20 to 30 English words per day
using this technique!
As a beginner, you should start with an English dictionary that provides definitions in
your native language. However, once your language skills improve, you should
switch to using an English-English dictionary, which provides English definitions for
2 Improving Your Writing, Reading and Listening Skills
Listen to English radio or podcasts. One of the best ways to improve your English
listening comprehension is to download English-language podcasts or radio apps on
your phone or MP3 player.
You should then make an effort to listen to the podcasts or radio shows for at least
30 minutes per day. Do it in the gym, on your commute to work, or while you're
sitting at your computer.
Make an effort to understand what's being said, don't just let the English wash over
you. Even if you find it too fast, try to pick out key words and phrases to get a
general idea of what the conversation is about.
If you can, make a note of any words or phrases that you don't understand and look
up the translation afterwards. Then listen to the podcast or show again to hear the
new words or phrases in context.
Watch English movies and TV shows. Another fun way to improve your listening
comprehension is to watch English movies and TV shows.