How do I learn English? A Magic Solution
A guide for anyone who ever asks me “How do I learn English?”
I’m no longer attempting to answer this question and will guide you here instead. This is my special solution just for you. Read it from the beginning to the end. If you don’t understand any of the English in it, learn about it online as you read.
My 3 Step Plan to Learn English
3. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for your whole life.
Let me break it down into more detail by looking at the different elements:
Begin going through some grammar points one by one, starting at the very basics. Most students, even those who are at “advanced level” have basic mistakes they need to fix. It is a good use of time to go over grammar from the very beginning. If you don’t know where to start in your learning, then this is it! If you find a grammar point you understand but don’t use it, then begin using it! Try to write sentences, speak sentences, with your new grammar.
Try to learn new words. Don’t move too fast, especially at advanced levels. Beginners may need to cram more basic vocabulary quickly, but at an intermediate and advanced level, you need to focus on using your new vocabulary in the right context. It is no good memorising lists of words and then not knowing how to use them in a sentence. When you learn vocabulary, also learn what kind of sentences they go with. You can search this on the internet.
Not sure where to start? look for “high-frequency word lists”. These are lists of the most common words in the English language. You should probably start with the top 1000!
Listening & Reading
Watch English speaking videos. Find something you enjoy and take time to relax and just enjoy it in English. Movies, music, talks (TED talks are good), there’s a never-ending the supply of English speaking listening material out there if you look. Don’t worry about the accent or location, just absorb as much material as you can and try to get as much variety as possible in your listening. Don’t only look for American English or British English videos, look for all types of videos that interest you of an English accent. Don’t be one of those people that can’t understand British accents because you’ve only listened to American TV shows and vice versa.
For reading, find a book! Read the news, read anything you can find! Note down new things you don’t understand and research them.
Talk to yourself as you learn! Don’t just write down your new vocabulary and grammar points. Speak them out loud. Then hide your notes and imagine you need to teach someone else the things you just learnt.
Choose a video or movie that sounds clear to you. Listen to one simple line spoken by an actor and then pause the movie. Now speak the line yourself and record it on your phone. Play it back. Compare the two. What sounds are you getting wrong? Is the rhythm correct? What can you do better?
Create live streams in English groups.
Use Your Friends and English Groups
Practice. Write a story. Keep a journal. Practice new grammar forms and ask for corrections.
Build Self-Study Skills
Learn how to self-study. Stop looking for other people to find answers for you. If you cannot afford to buy a lot of time with a teacher, you need to be highly motivated. You can be low on money but still, speak great English. If you have never studied by yourself before, now is the time to begin. If you do buy teaching time, use it wisely, a teacher isn’t going to have a magic pill for you. They may be able to identify your weaknesses and help you improve, but you still need to do the work.
Try to do one thing every day. Do it consistently and you WILL see results.
If you need to ask questions and get help from others, just ask! Try to be specific. It is better to say “How do I use this word?” or “How do I use the continuous tense?” or “Is this correct?” than to say “How do I learn English?” A trainee doctor would not say, “How do I practice medicine?” – they ask a specific question such as “How do I diagnose a broken arm?”. You are an English apprentice, a trainee – think like one! Ask questions that will help you.
The more you study, the more you will know exactly what you need to study more. You will build resources and ideas and you won’t need to ask the question “How do I learn English?”
So, back to my topic: The magic solution.
Answer: THERE IS NONE! GET TO WORK! If you want me to help you and donate my time, I will, but you have to do your part too.
This question is frustrating for me because it cannot be answered in one sentence via messenger and I get asked it all the time. It’s especially frustrating if I don’t know you and have never spoken to you because I can’t even begin to make a specific recommendation without spending a half an hour or more speaking with you in-depth. If you want to ask me something specific, it is better and more helpful for both of us.
I’m confused by the huge numbers of people who ask me this question. I never seem to be able to say what they want to hear. There is no magic here, it’s hard work and a lot of studies, that’s it! You don’t need someone to tell you what to do, the tools are all in your hands, just do it! We have access to a massive wealth of resources online and there are plenty of people willing to answer serious questions and help you learn in groups like this.
Let’s get to work!!!