100 simple things you can do to improve your English

100 things you can do to improve your English

1.            Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Be confident. People can only correct your mistakes when they hear you make them.

2.            Surround yourself in English. Put yourself in an all English speaking environment where you can learn passively. The best way to learn is through speaking.

3.            Practise every day. Make yourself a study plan. Decide how much time a week you are going to spend studying and stick to it. Establish a routine.

4.            Tell your family and friends about your study plan. Get them to push you to study and also don’t let them interrupt you.

5.            Practise the 4 core skills: reading, writing, speaking and listening. They all need to be worked on for you to improve.

6.            Keep a notebook of new words you learn. Use them in sentences and try to say them at least 3 times when you speak.

7.            Memorisation of lists is one of the most common ways of learning vocabulary for a test.

8.            Use your body clock. If you’re not a morning person, study in the afternoon.

9.            You will find words easier to remember if you try to remember an example sentence using that word rather the word on its own.

10.         Plan to take a test. You’ll find that you work harder when you need to study for something.

11.         Having said that, you shouldn't study just to take a test. Think diversely. Ask yourself: What can I do when you have a good command of English? How will the quality of my life improve?

12.         Put yourself a long term goal. Concentrate on working towards it.

13.         Put yourself short term goals too and reward yourself when you achieve each one.

14.         Make an atmosphere in which you want to learn.

15.         Know what works best for you. Think about what methods have been successful for you in the past and stick with them.

16.         Figure out how you learn. It can be by memorising, reading, speaking, summarising or other methods. Find out how you study best. It can be in a quiet place by yourself or with a group.

17.         If you don’t understand something you’ve got to ask someone. Ask your teacher, classmates or friends for help.

18.         Review! Be sure that you've got the time to review things you have studied in the past.

19.         It is not a good idea to study on your own for more than 30 minutes at a time. Take regular breaks.

20.         Don’t be in such a hurry to move up, concentrate on the level you are at now.

21.         Instead of Tvs, watch DVDs. Better to use something that you can watch again to catch information that you might have missed the first time.

22.         Watching something on TV only gives you the chance to hear something correctly for the first time which is better for high level students.

23.         Read readers which are graded. They are especially written for your level. Read a whole novel. You can do it!

24.         Children’s books have easier words and they are a good alternative to graded readers.

25.         Newspapers are a good place to find passive constructs. Read through an article and see if you can find the passive sentences.

26.         First, read for the general meaning. Don’t worry about understanding every word, you can go back and look up new words.

27.         When you see a word you don’t understand in a sentence, look at the other words around it. They will give you a hint.

28.         You should learn root words. They will help you guess the meaning of words. For example: scrib = write, min = small

29.         When you learn a new word, also think of all its other forms. For example: Beautiful (adjective), beauty (noun), beautifully (adverb).

30.         Learn prefixes (dis-, un-, re-) and suffixes (-ly, -ment, -ful), these will help you to figure out the meaning of words and build your vocabulary.

31.         English, unlike Japanese or French, uses word stress. For new words, you can count the syllables and find where the stress is. Only one stress per word and always on a vowel. Two syllable verbs have a stress on the second syllable (beGIN). 2 syllable nouns (TEAcher) and adjectives (HAPpy) stress the first.

32.         Use English whenever you can.

33.         Translating into English from your own language is not a good idea. Think in English to improve your fluency.

34.         You can’t learn English from a book. Like driving a car, you can only learn through doing it.

35.         Learning grammar is through talking is the most natural way.

36.         Keep an English diary or journal. You can start by writing a few sentences a day and then get into the habit of writing more.

37.         You can start an online blog and share your writings with the world.

38.         In order to become a better writer brainstorm about many ideas and thoughts onto paper without worrying about grammar or spelling. Then think about the structure. After that, write your piece using good grammar and spelling. Finally, read it through or give it to someone else to check for mistakes.

39.         Keep an eye on your punctuation as it can totally change what you’re trying to say.

40.         Sing your heart out! Show the world your beautiful voice! Learn English songs and sing along with them to improve fluency and intonation

41.         Get a penfriend or use chat-rooms, forums and community sites. If you can’t speak to someone in English, this is the next best thing.

42.         Follow English CDs. Listen to a few sentences then repeat what you heard. Concentrate on the rhythm and intonation.

43.         You can have English radio on in your house. Even if you are not actively listening to it, you will still be training your ears.

44.         Listen to Cds and read out loud along with a CD. Again, this is great for intonation, pronunciation and rhythm.

45.         For dictation, listen to a CD or friend and write down what you hear.

46.         Nobody likes to hear their own voice, but just be brave and try it! Record your voice and listen to your pronunciation and intonation. It will help you to identify the problems if there are any.

47.         You can ask your helpful teacher you are allowed to record his/her lesson. This is a great way to review. You can also listen to your teachers speaking speed and intonation.

48.         Use an English/English dictionary as it will help you to keep thinking in English.

49.         If an English/English dictionary seems scary, there are learner’s dictionaries for English students of your level.

50.         You shouldn't become too reliant on your dictionary. Your dictionary should be an aid, not your main teacher. You can try to guess the meaning of words rather than going straight for your dictionary.

51.         Never give up! Be positive! Sometimes you will feel that you aren’t learning quickly enough. You’ll get there in the end.

52.         Enjoy it! You learn more when you are having fun!

53.         If you get nervous when speaking, take two deep breaths before you say something. You’ll speak better when you feel relaxed.

54.         Motivate yourself by looking back at the textbooks and CDs you used in the past. You’ll see how easy they seem to you now!

55.         You are never too young or too old to start learning English. There shouldn't be any excuses not to learn.

56.         Procrastination can stop you from being successful. To solve this, it's important you must understand if your procrastinating is to avoid studying, or if it is your bad habit.

57.         If you haven’t gotten the results you wanted yet, it’s not because you’re bad at languages, it’s because you haven’t found your own special way of learning yet.

58.         You should use resources which match your level. You shouldn't use texts/listening exercises which are too difficult or too easy.

59.         Don’t worry about making your accent perfect. It’s an important part of your cultural identity to keep your accent.

60.         There are many types of English: British, American, South African and so on. None of these are wrong or more important than the other.

61.         Instead, be aware of the differences in American and British English and use your words accordingly. For instance: Elevator (US) / Lift (British).

62.         Carry cue cards with you. These are small cards which you can write new words on. You can pull them out and look at them whenever you a free minute.

63.         Use post-it notes and stick them around your home. You can use them to label things.

64.         You can’t ignore phrasal verbs (two words verbs), there are hundreds of them in English and they’re widely used. The more you focus on their meaning, the more you’ll be able to guess the meaning of new ones. You’ll start to recognise their patterns.

65.         Trust your intuition. Go with your gut feeling, you’ll be surprised how often your first guess is the right guess.

66.         Gather your thoughts. You may take a second to think about what you’re going to say. You know the grammar, but maybe you don’t use it correctly when speaking.

67.         Meet new people. Mix with English speakers in your town. You could join a local club or go to pubs where foreigners hang out.

68.         Be the one to start conversations in English. Try to keep the conversations moving and use listening words (‘really?’ / ‘go on…’/ ‘what happened then?’).

69.         Debate. You may discuss topics in a group. Each person should choose a viewpoint (even if you don’t agree with it) and debate it within the group. Make sure you get your point across. You must learn to listen actively. Active listening will help in the classroom and it will help you get more out of, and contribute more to, group study sessions. Concentrate on the person who is talking. Don’t fidget or get distracted by other people or events. Focus on the speaker with your ears and eyes.

70.         Learning English words only is not enough. A parrot could be taught English words too but that doesn’t mean it can speak English! You still must have an understanding of grammar.

71.         Verb tenses are used for talking about the timing of actions. You might not have the same expressions in your language. It’s important to know these tenses and when to use them.

72.         In English, there are many irregular verbs. You should learn them.

73.         Keep going! If you take a break more than it should, you will find that your level decreases and all your hard work has been wasted.

74.         A bad test score shouldn't make you feel bad. Sometimes students have the ability to pass an English test, but they can’t communicate well with English speakers. If you can speak freely in English, this is something you should be proud of.

75.         Remember that as long as you have tried your hardest, you have succeeded!

76.         Learn English with a friend. In this way, you will have someone you can practise with and you can motivate each other to study.

77.         Don't forget, the way we write English is not the same as the way it’s pronounced. For example ‘Ough’ has over 6 pronunciations. Familiarise yourself the Phonetic Alphabet.

78.         Get used to the ‘schwa’ sound [?] - an unstressed and toneless neutral vowel sound. ‘Schwa’ is the most common vowel sound in English. For example, the 'a' in about and the 'u' in supply.

79.         Keep in mind that it takes longer to improve when our level is high. Usually the fastest progress is made when we are beginners. Don’t think that you’re suddenly not learning anymore, it’s just a less noticeable progress.

80.         Make sure of that your English matches the occasion. It’s OK to use slang with friends but not in a business meeting, isn't it? Determine in which situation it’s appropriate to use the words and phrases you have learned.

81.         Textbook English is usually different from the way we casually speak. To learn casual ‘slang’, you should watch movies.

82.         Idioms could be difficult to memorise, but they are great fun to use and they’ll make your English more colourful.

83.         When talking we normally link words together so that two words could sound like one.  We link words ending with a consonant sound to words beginning with a vowel sound (consonant -> vowel). We link words ending with a vowel sound to words beginning with a vowel sound (vowel -> vowel). You should practise these to improve your listening and pronunciation.

84.         The internet is full of resources to help you learn. Make use of it.

85.         Think about your strong and weak points and write down which areas you want to improve on and then, work on improving them.

86.         Go over your mistakes and choose one or two that you want to focus on. Use your favourite grammar book to check rules.

87.         Always use the correct article (a/an, the). Be aware that it is more than a/an= non specific, the=specific, as a rule.

88.         For fluency, you could try image training. Before you go to that restaurant think about what the waiter is likely to say to you. Think of what phrases you will use.

89.         Body language and gesture help communicate more. These could be different between cultures and countries.

90.         Sleep well. You’ll learn more after a good night’s sleep. You’ll be able to focus more.

91.         Take an English course in an English speaking country.

92.         If you are studying abroad, mix with people from other countries not only people from your own country.

93.         Have you ever thought about getting a job or doing an internship abroad?

94.         Get yourself a qualified teacher which is good for you. Who wants to learn wrong things?

95.         Nobody can learn all of the language. You shouldn't worry about trying. A useful shortcut to learning is that in English we have lots of words that have the same pronunciation, but a different spelling and meaning. You may find it easier to build vocabulary by knowing the different meanings.

96.         Once you have a basic level of English discover the different ways you could say the same thing.

97.         When you are on your English course, always be prepared for your class. Do your homework as soon as possible and submit it in on time. Check your notes and your last lesson a couple of minutes before the class. This will refresh your memory and you'll be warmed up for the lesson.

98.         Do not get distracted in the class. Focus on the lesson, don't look out of the window. Don't be late and arrive a few minutes before the start of the lesson. Don't sit next to people who will not speak to you in English. Turn off your phone. Be organised, do not forget to take your textbook, notebook and pen.

99.         Find a comfortable, peaceful place for quiet study. You need somewhere where you can focus 100%.

100.     Watching TEDex  videos with subtitles will also contribute your learning. Find TEDex videos on YouTube.

 

** If you need a professional support and assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us by clicking here. **

  • 30 November 2016, Wednesday

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