Are you currently in the process of learning how to speak English but feeling stuck and disappointed with your progress?
Maybe you’re confused by grammar, can’t get your head around spelling, or are struggling with tricky pronunciations.
With 1500 million people worldwide speaking English, this is a language that opens up a whole world of opportunity — so don’t give up.
I’ve listed seven clever tips which will help you take your learning to the next level. You’ll be fluent before you know it! Next time you’re struggling, try one of these tips. You might be surprised at how much easier learning becomes.
Ready to supercharge your language skills? Let’s get started!
1. Create a Cheat Sheet for Easily Confused Words
There are certain words which might catch you out again and again. Make things easier on yourself by creating a cheat sheet you can refer to regularly.
Include words which sound very similar to others or are pronounced the same way but have subtle differences in spelling.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
They’re, there, and their.
Its and it’s
Then and than
Affect and effect.
Compliment and complement.
If you’re taking English lessons, look out for words which are often highlighted as incorrect by your teacher.
Add these words to your cheat sheet and practice using them in context as often as you can.
2. Listen to Podcasts and Watch Videos in English
Learning how to speak English isn’t all about sitting in classrooms and memorising words.
To become a strong speaker, you need to spend time listening to native English people talk. This helps you pick up on correct pronunciations, popular sayings and slang terms in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise.
Listening to podcasts or watching videos in English is a great way to quickly improve your skills without feeling like you’re working too hard.
Pick videos or podcasts on topics that you’re already interested in. These don’t have to be academic or technical — even watching an English-speaking YouTuber playing your favorite game will help.
Set yourself the goal of watching at least one English video a day and listening to one English podcast a week. You’ll soon start to see a big improvement,
You’ll soon start to see a big improvement, and you’ll be having fun.
3. Learn the Differences Between British and American English
If you’re learning how to speak English in formal classes, you’ll either be learning American or British English. Do you know the difference?
If you’re learning independently, there’s a good chance you’re still confused.
British and American English are very similar, with a few key differences. It’s best to decide on one and stick to it, rather than mixing the two.
Once you’ve decided, here are some of the main differences you’ll need to watch out for:
Many words which end in ‘ize‘ in American English end in ‘ise‘ in British English. For example, realize, antagonize, and generalize.
Some items are described using different words in British and American English. For example, ‘biscuit‘ versus ‘cookie‘, ‘nappy‘ versus ‘diaper‘, and ‘flat‘ versus ‘apartment‘, “pavement” versus “sidewalk”, “railway station” versus “railroad station”, “boot (of car)” versus “trunk of car”. Word “apartment” is used in Br. English and it’s more expensive!
Some past tense verbs are slightly different. In American English, you’d say ‘dreamed‘ or ‘burned‘, while in English, ‘dreamt‘ or ‘burnt‘ would be correct.
It’s good to be aware of the differences between British and American when learning how to speak English, but don’t worry about it too much.People from both countries will likely understand you even if you make a few mistakes.
People from both countries will likely understand you even if you make a few mistakes.
4. Use Language Learning Tools Which Include Pictures
In the early days of learning how to speak English, lessons or tools which only use words and speech can be really difficult.
How are you supposed to learn when you don’t know what anything means?
Language learning tools that include pictures will help you to make much faster progress, without constantly needing to refer to dictionaries or translators.
It’s been shown that 65% of us are visual learners, and teaching that includes images is much more engaging than walls of text.
If you can’t find a language learning tool which includes pictures, try creating your own.
You could draw flash cards with pictures representing words that you often struggle to remember and stick them on your bedroom walls.
5. Talk to Native English Speakers
You can study diligently for years, but what’s the use if you never actually get to use your language skills?
Speaking to others is a massive game-changer when it comes to figuring out how to speak English.
Here are some of the benefits you’ll see:
Learn real-life, authentic and current use of vocabulary — this is ever-changing and can’t be taught by a text book.
Improve your accent and pronunciation by listening to others speak.
Get a better understanding of culture — this makes learning the language feel much more intuitive. Phrases will make more sense with context.
You’re forced to speak English, and can’t revert back to your native language like you would in class.
It’s fun! You get to meet new people and learn in a relaxed atmosphere.
Look for local groups to practice your speaking skills, or sign up for sites which allow you to video chat with native English speakers.
6. Visit an English-Speaking Country
One step on from chatting to an English speaker is visiting an English-speaking country.
This is a great step to take once you’re fairly confident in your skills, and know enough English to do things like shopping, ordering in restaurants, and using public transport.
You’ll be forced to speak English every day, you’ll learn new words every time you see a street sign, and you’ll be soaking up tons of culture.
When you get home, you can tailor your studies to brush up on anything you struggled with during your trip.
7. Read in English
This is one of the most important things to do when learning how to speak English.
Read absolutely everything you can, and you’ll soon see your vocabulary increase. Don’t feel like everything you read has to be complex or academic.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Read things you’re genuinely interested in and it won’t feel like a chore.
Feel like You’ll Never Learn How to Speak English?
We all struggle at times when learning a new language. It’s natural and doesn’t mean you should give up.
Next time you’re feeling stuck, try using one of the tips above. You’ll soon be enjoying all the benefits of speaking one of the world’s most popular languages.
Do you have a language learning hack that has worked so well for you? Let us know in the comments section.