I’m frequently asked by students and by people who join me on my channel, how do I speak better English. How can I improve my English and is there an easy way?
Well, you won’t be surprised if I tell you that there is no easy way. The only way that you’re going to be able to improve your English is to work hard and to practise.
But there are certain tips that I can give you.
And I’m going to give you a list of 10 tips. If you follow these tips I’m sure you’re going to be able to improve your English.
There’s a little story about the person wandering around London, and he’s trying to find the Albert Hall which is a beautiful music event in London and he stops this stranger and he says to the stranger: ‘How do I get to the Albert Hall?’ And the guy looks at him and he says: ‘Practice.’
And it’s the same with your English. You have to continue and practise and practise. Practise repeat. Practise and repeat.
And it’s the only thing that will help you improve your English.
So these are the tips that I’m going to give you.
10 Real Tips for Improving Your English
Know exactly what your level of English is. There’s no point starting to learn English if you don’t know what level you’re at because you either get books or teachers that are too easy or you’ll get something that is too difficult. And if it’s too easy, you’ll get bored. And if it’s too difficult, you won’t have the motivation.
Once you establish your level, then you’ll be able to set a plan for yourself to improve your English.
is about vocabulary. Everybody wants to improve their vocabulary in English.
Everybody is told that if you have a wide and broad vocabulary, it’s a good sign that you’re able to speak good English. Well, yes that’s important but what do you do with it?
I see and I hear teachers teaching English telling students learn ten words a day, eight words a day. Memorise the words. That’s rubbish. It just doesn’t work.
As soon as you’ve memorised them and as soon as you’ve repeated them to the teacher within a day you’ve forgotten the words.
The only way that you can use vocabulary is when you know how to use the words. So don’t just swallow a dictionary, don’t just learn the meaning by heart.
Learn new vocabulary words in context. Practise putting words into sentences with your teacher. When you put words together, we can communicate with one another. You don’t see people in the street ust talking: moon, dog, tree, whatever. No. They’re putting the words in phrases, in sentences and then that way they’re communicating.
Things You Can Do to Improve English
is about reading and this is how I get my students to improve their English. Pick an article based on your level. Something that’s not so difficult for the beginners and something that’s challenging for those at intermediate level. Read it, repeat it, read it again.
Reading is not only about recognising the words.
It’s also about the pronunciation. It is also about the intonation. It takes a while but if you want to speak better English, then reading pronunciation and intonation are really important. And only when you are feeling comfortable, should you move on.
is about speaking. English is all about communication. It’s important to be able to read. It’s important to have vocabulary. Obviously, it is very important to understand the grammar.
But we are in a language of communication, so we want to speak.
When you go on holidays you want to be able to talk to somebody in the train station, the airport, the hotel, wherever it might be. You want to have the comfort and confidence about speaking English. The more frequently you speak with other people, the better your English will become.
And again it’s all about practice. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. The important thing is communication frequency and use it as often as you can. Copying people is the best way. In fact, it is the only way that you’re going to improve English quickly. Listen to other people, see how they pronounce it and copy them.
Important thing here though is to make sure that the person that you’re talking to has English at your level minimum or better, still above yours.
So if it’s not a teacher that you can find, find a friend or colleague or relative somebody that has language level above yours so that when they are talking to you you’re going to be able to learn from them.
is about istening. It is an important aspect of English. We have to listen to different accents. We have to understand different voices. We have to understand intonation.
If you want to learn British English there’s no point listening or watching ‘Friends’, for example, which I hear a lot of people do. All you’re going to get are American accents and you’re going to get confused between words. So if you want to speak British English, then obviously go to British sites which will give you the access to that listening content.
The BBC have wonderful podcasts that you can download. They’re very professional. They talk on different topics. I would certainly recommend that you consider using those.
I often hear from students who’ve watched American movies the word ‘gonna’. ‘I’m gonna do this’, ‘I’m gonna do that’. But it’s not English.
That’s American slang and it’s not something you’ll hear a lot in British English. So make sure that whatever you’re listening to is appropriate to the English that you want to learn.
Of course, if you want to speak like an American, there’s nothing wrong with it. Focus on American movies and American production.
Another important part of listening for people is to listen to music. If you have a look at the old music from the 60s and the 70s, particularly groups like ‘The Beatles’, there are lots of interesting stories in their music. Download the lyrics, listen to the music and you’ll understand it. It’ll help you to understand your English a little bit better.
I’m giving you a don’t. Please don’t use Google Translate. I really really hate it. It’s not going to give you good English. Full stop.
I always try and get my students to keep their English simple. Some students get a little bit frustrated with me.
They’d like to use big words and they think that using these big words is a sign of perfect English. And of course it can be, if you can use the words correctly.
If you want to communicate better in English, keep your English simple. Particularly at the beginning when you’re learning. I have this little phrase Keep It Simple Stupid – KISS. So remember that – KISS. It’s not to downgrade the level of your English, it’s not to get you to talk like a baby: ‘I am Harry’. No.
It gets you to use simple English that people can understand. When you understand it and they understand you, then over a period of time you can build on that and improve your level of English. Incorporate more complex sentences, introduce more clauses and that will show an improvement in your English very quickly.
find a good teacher. Finding a good teacher is really important for you to improve your English and you know there are lots and lots of good teachers out there. The world is full of people who want to teach English.
Not all of them are experts, not all of them are trained and not all learn have the appropriate qualifications. But leaving those aside, there are a lot of really good teachers out there. If you want to learn English and you want to learn good English and you want to speak English more fluently, please get yourself a good native English teacher.
use technology. Record on your mobile phone or some other gadget. Record, repeat, listen to it again, replay. It is important that you’re constantly getting English as part of your life. It’ll help you to immerse you into the English language and enable you to improve English quicker.
practise your written English. Find somebody who can correct it for you and write letters, short essays, reviews, post, etc. You have to practise your written English, it is a really important part of communication. Repeat, repeat, repeat… The more you do, the better you’ll become.
So I’ve given you hopefully ten really really good tips as to how you can improve your English. If you have any questions you can always follow me up and join me on www.englishlessonviaskype.com and subscribe to my channel.
We’re going to have some really important announcements soon.
You’ll also find a link to my online English courses, which are really good value. And hopefully we’ll catch up with you soon.