How to learn English
Do you want to learn English? Or just improve your skills? Well, you are in the right place.
Learning English doesn't have to be boring or hard.
The trick is to learn it in little bits. All throughout the day. Every day. The same way a native speaker does.
This means using Facebook in English.
It means watching YouTube videos in English on your phone when you're on the bus.
It means reading a book you enjoy in English.
It means listening to the style of music you like in English.
It means doing whatever you find enjoyable, in English.
More on that later, but first let's start at the beginning.
Focus on reading and listening first
When you first start hearing English it will sound like a lot of unintelligible noises. You probably won't be able to hear the individual words being spoken. And if you can't hear the individual words it's very difficult to say them properly.
So you need to listen to a lot of English to train your ear.
You shouldn't learn by boring theory though. It's better to concentrate on reading and listening to real world English as much as you can.
When you can hear some of the individual words being said in a sentence and have some basic reading skills, you are ready to start speaking English. This will ensure that when you practice, you are practicing the right way.
Start with the basics
When you're ready to start learning how to speak English, concentrate on common words and phrases.
This means learning some basic vocabulary like:
After that, learn some common phrases such as:
Then keep learning words and phrases you find yourself using every day.
Don't feel silly about making mistakes
Making mistakes is an inevitable part of learning a language, especially when speaking and you shouldn't feel embarrassed about it.
People who never get past their shyness of speaking end up being able to understand others, but unable to communicate back.
This is because understanding a language and speaking it are two different skills. Just because you can understand something, doesn't mean you automatically know how to say it.
Speaking is a skill you need to learn and practice, separate from understanding.
If you never break through the fear of speaking, you won't be able to learn that skill. So just accept that mistakes are part of the process and move on.
Practice as much as you can
Do native English speakers force themselves to practice for 1 hour at the same time every day, except on the weekend? No, they learn a little bit all day long, every single day!
This means you should:
- Use Facebook in English
- Watch YouTube videos in English
- Watch the news in English
- Listen to English music
- Write your emails in English
- Most importantly, talk to people in English
It means total immersion into all things to do with English, wherever you can.
Whatever activity you find yourself doing in a day, do it in English.
Learn the correct pronunciation
Getting the pronunciation right is one of the hardest things about learning English.
It's hard because some of the sounds in English are entirely different from other languages.
The best way to learn the correct pronunciation is to both hear and see the words being said.
Hearing by itself is not enough because it's easy to make a mistake about what some of the sounds are. But if you can also see someone's mouth saying the word or phrase it helps considerably because then you have a lot more information available to you.
It can be hard to do this in a normal conversation because the other person talks too fast to learn from. You may also need the other person to repeat a particular word a few times, which can stop the conversation quite quickly.
To solve this problem, we have over one thousand pronunciation videos. In these videos, you can both see and hear the correct way to say a word or phrase.
You can watch the videos as many times as needed to get it right. They are separated into topics so you can find a group of words you are interested in and watch them all together.
Media is your friend
Media can be music, videos, movies, books, comics and simply anything you can use to listen and learn more English from.
This is one of the best ways to learn English. It's effective because it tends to be conversational and fun.
If you need to improve your pronunciation, listen to English music in a style you enjoy. Also, watch English movies and YouTube videos. We also have many pronunciation videos on this website as previously mentioned.
If you need to improve your reading, find some English books on a topic you're interested in. Comics are also really good for this as they have pictures, which give context to what you are reading. If you are a beginner, find some early language books with big letters that children would normally learn to read with and work your way up from there.
If you need to improve your writing and spelling, we have videos on this website to help with that.
Don't forget to learn grammar
Learning grammar is very important, but it doesn't have to be boring.
The trick is not to worry about learning all the various theory and grammar rules. The only time that matters is in an exam. It's not needed in the real world.
The best way to learn proper grammar is the same way native speakers do and that's by reading books in English. Read, read, read and then read some more.
Over time, your grammar will improve without even realizing it, as you'll implicitly know the difference between good and bad grammar. It will become second nature, the same way it is for native speakers.
Once you've got it, you might not be able to explain the reasons why a particular sentence is wrong, but that doesn't matter. The why isn't important.
What's important is you'll know when a sentence is right and when it's wrong and that's all that matters in the real world.
Do an English learning course
It's great if you can go to a class to learn from a teacher and practice what you learn with other students. However, some courses tend to be full of theory you don't need to learn when starting out, so try to find one that is very practical and conversational.
When you start a course, you'll be in a new environment where English will probably be the only language you'll be able to listen to and speak. It sounds scary, but actually this total immersion is really good for learning.
You just need to sign up for a course, attend the classes and do the work. It will make the learning process a lot easier.
There are also online courses you can learn from. These can be a great addition to your class work or for learning by yourself at home, but if you're serious about learning English you at least need to practice talking with someone who already speaks English on a regular basis.
Travel to an English speaking country
This is one of the best ways of learning English because you are immersed in a different environment and culture immediately, almost forcing yourself to learn more English.
When you travel to an English speaking country, you are very likely to be exposed to the language in ways that you weren't before.
Everyone you speak to will be speaking English back. If you turn the TV on it will be in English. All the signs and advertisements will be in English. You will need to say hello and goodbye in English a lot.
While this is a good start, in order to make traveling effective you need to get out and meet as many of the local people as you can. Don't think of yourself as a tourist, but instead as someone who wants to get immersed in a new culture.
This attitude is necessary because just traveling to an English speaking country isn't enough. There's plenty of people who do that and don't improve their English much, if at all. The key is to go where the locals are, talk to them and get involved.
You should stay for at least 2 months if you want to learn the basics of English.
But if you want to really improve, give yourself the opportunity to live in another country for a year and as long as you get immersed in the culture you will become like a native speaker in no time.
Start learning English now
The best time to start is right now. And never give up!
Here's what you should do:
- Focus on reading and listening first
- Learn how to say some common words and phrases
- Don't worry about making mistakes
- Learn a little bit all throughout the day, every day just like a native English speaker would
- Learn the correct pronunciation of words
- Absorb as much media in English as you can
- Do a class based English course
- Travel to an English speaking country
It's all about making English part of your life and having fun along the way.