How to learn english

As you have just learned, the methods that you use to learn English are important.

What’s also important to know is this:

You need to be an independent English learner. You need to take responsibility for your learning. You need to do things that work.

And one last thing before I talk about the methods. Know that there are four skills. These are:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking

Again, know why you need to learn English and what you’re going to use it for. This will help you become more effective with your time.

Now, here are the best ways to learn English:

Learn English in Context and through Sentences

Context Matters

Do NOT memorize single words. Do NOT memorize “50 Idioms about Sport/Business etc.” Do NOT memorize language you don’t know how to use.

Instead, learn English in context. This means:

  • Learning through sentences
  • Getting sentences from strong context

Doing this helps you learn how and when to use English words and phrases. And because you are learning words through sentences, you are learning grammar too.

Learning from a strong context means learning something from a book, a TV show, or a conversation. This context tells you in which situations this English is used.

To learn more about learning English in context through sentences, click here.

Work on Your Pronunciation

How to learn English pronunciation

The majority of English learners I meet never had pronunciation training at school.

A big reason for this is because grammar is easier to teach in large classes.

But, like I said before, you need to become an independent learner. Luckily, you can improve your pronunciation through self-study.

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Here is how:

  • Know what you need to do to make the different sounds of English (click here for a great resource)
  • Practice the sounds and record yourself making them
  • Compare your recording to the original
  • Practice, practice, practice.

If you practice enough, then your mouth will be able to form these sounds naturally when speaking. This will help you improve your speaking and your listening skills.

Mimic English Speakers

The following method is really powerful:

  • Find relevant audio of people speaking
  • Listen to the audio and repeat what is said
  • Record yourself
  • Compare it to the original

Copying is good. In fact, the better you copy someone, the faster you will improve.

Copy the speaker’s intonation, rhythm, and stress. Copy the sounds that they make. This will improve your pronunciation and you will learn new words and internalize grammar.

Get audio that is specific to you and your goals.

For example, if you want to learn British English, then get audio from British speakers.

Get Lots of Repetition

Earlier, you learned that it’s important to learn English through sentences. This is how:

  • Copy sentences that are relevant to you into spaced repetition software (Anki)
  • Spend 5-10 minutes every day reviewing them

If you do this on a consistent basis, you will internalize vocabulary and grammar in the most efficient way. You would be able to form sentences flexibly without thinking about the rules.

(Note: this is what I call the Sentence Method. You can learn about this here.)

In addition to repeating sentences, you can get smart repetition through narrow reading and listening.

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This is where you read / watch / listen to similar things. For example, you could read a news story, listen to a podcast on this story, and then watch videos on this story.

The vocabulary and grammar will be repeated in a natural way (in strong context).

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