16 ways to improve your English ability


woman reading English books in the library

English learners often ask their teachers for ways how to improve your English, and the answers are often very similar.

Learning a language is like learning a musical instrument: there is no magic method to instant fluency, instead it is practice that makes perfect – just like learning a piano. However, it is important to remember to focus on the different skills of language use.

Improve your English by Speaking

The dream of most language learners is to hold a conversation fluently with a native speaker, without hesitation or miscommunication. So how do you enhance your English skills?

 

  • Improve your English by taking an online lesson: the internet means that there are now thousands of native speakers out there ready to talk with you. You can experience what it’s like to speak English with someone in a different country, the most authentic experience after travelling there.

 

  • Record yourself: Make recordings of yourself speaking. Whether it is in an online English lesson, preparing for a speech, or practising in class, record yourself and listen.  You will notice a lot about where you hesitate, where you are unclear, and where you are confident.

 

  • Make opportunities: You cannot improve your English speaking without actually speaking! Find a reason to use it every day, whether it is through your school, coworkers, friends, or online.

 

  • Don’t be afraid: Mistakes are natural, and research shows that it is students who DO make mistakes that improve fastest. Normally, students who are scared of making mistakes and stay silent do NOT improve their fluency.

 

 

Improve Your English  by Listening

The internet has created a world where there is almost infinite free content in English, and there is something for every level of student.

 

  • Podcasts: Podcasts are everywhere, and about everything! All you need to do is type “learn English podcasts” into Google and you will find millions. And when you are ready, search for authentic podcasts about what you are interested in. Try “sports podcasts,” “history podcasts,” “how to improve your English podcasts,” and more!

 

  • Subtitles: When watching TV shows or movies in English, use subtitles. Not in your language, but in English. Even if you understand the show, subtitles in English improve both your listening and your reading, showing what you are missing and how different written English is from spoken English. However, then watch a second time without subtitles!

 

  • Listen again: Do not only listen to something once. Do it multiple times, over a couple of weeks. Anything can improve your listening if you use it correctly.

 

Improve your English by Reading

 

Reading is the area many students find to be both the most tiring and most rewarding. It also improves your vocabulary, grammar, fluency, and opens a whole new world to you.

 

  • Read the news: Even if your level is a little lower, search for “simple English news” in Google or your app store and read!

 

  • Think about your level: Perhaps you should read at a level slightly LOWER than you think you should. This will mean you can read quickly, for fun, and for a long time.

 

  • Graded readers: There are many graded readers out there, and you can find one to suit all tastes.

 

  • Subtitles: A simple secret of how to improve your English. Put English subtitles on every movie watch, every TV show you watch. This helps in many ways, including reading, listening, vocabulary and grammar.

 

 

Improve Your English by Writing

 

Writing is perhaps the most difficult skill to master. Written English is very different to spoken English in many ways, and it is up to you to find what you like.

 

  • Write small chunks: Write your shopping lists in English. Send messages to friends in English. Try to make every memo and note in this language, just for you.

 

  • Keep a diary: If you like reflecting on your day, do so in English. Routine is important, and try to write something unique with every page.

 

  • Write reviews: Work on reviews of books and movies in English. Share them online!

 

  • Write and have it checked: Ask your online English teacher to check your written work. Send them a copy, and they’ll be more than happy to check it and talk about it with you.

 

  • Notice style: Written English is not the same as spoken English. Read, read, read, and notice the different styles used for fiction writing, narratives, academic papers, news, and so on.

 

Goals

 

Every English student should have a goal. Whether it is a test score, a business aim, or the desire to be able to travel abroad, make it as specific as possible. Not “I want to talk to English speakers,” but “I want to take about history with English speakers.” Furthermore, it’s not “I want to do business in English,” but “I intend to make a sales contract in English.” Goals are important, and let you monitor your improvement.

 

These are just a few simple ways how to improve your English. There are many more, and every student is different. Speak with your online teacher today, and set yourself some goals. Learning English takes work, but it is not impossible, and it doesn’t even have to be difficult. See it as an exciting challenge. Help yourself and others will help you!

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