Sometimes people talk about learning a language as if it’s a complicated and mysterious thing. There’s a lot of discussion about the best ways to teach and learn English. However, I think there are just three basic things you have to do if you want to speak better English. Keep reading to find out what they are.
1. Learn more words
How often do you get stuck when you’re speaking because you realise you don’t know the right words to use? Recently, a lot of students have told me that they want to widen their vocabulary and I think this is an important thing to do. The more words you know, the more topics you can talk about, right?
So how do you learn more words? I think the best thing you can do is read. Try to find something to read that’s a good level for you - not too easy and not too difficult. You need some new words but not too many all at once. You could try graded readers. These are books written in simplified English at different levels. Go to a bookshop or search online. Alternatively, you could find something to read online for free. There is so much useful material on the Internet.
I know a lot of learners say they don’t like reading and prefer to watch TV shows and films instead. If that works for you then that’s great but it doesn’t work for everyone (including me when I watch something in French). It’s too easy to just get lost in the story and forget about the vocabulary. Movies are great for listening practice but reading is better for vocabulary because you can take your time and write new words down.
2. Learn more grammar
Don’t panic and run away when you hear the word “grammar”! This is just learning how to put all those lovely new words together to make good sentences. If you use the right word order and the right tenses, you will communicate your meaning more clearly. Also, you will feel more confident and relaxed and that will help you to become more fluent so keep working on your grammar skills.
On the other hand, I don’t want you to worry too much about making mistakes. People will usually understand you even if your grammar is not perfect and mistakes can even help you to learn, so there is no reason to be afraid of them. Most people are kind and won’t laugh at you!
Just learning the vocabulary and the grammar is not enough. You have to practise using them! You need to find a teacher, a class, a study partner or a friend that you can practise your English with and you should speak as often as you can. If you can’t find anyone to talk to, talk to yourself or even talk to the dog! Another idea is to write it down instead of speaking.
It doesn’t matter what your level is. If you want to speak better English, you need to do these three things: keep learning new words, keep learning the grammar rules and practice, practise, practise!
Don’t know what to read? Click here for some suggestions.
For tips on learning vocabulary check out this post.
Find out about graded readers here: penguinreaders.co.uk.
Read this for some advice on learning grammar.
Are you afraid of making mistakes? Have a look at this post.
You might also like my English Speaking Challenge E-book. Click the button below to download it:
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