15 Things You Can Do To Improve Your English Today!

Stop making excuses about not having enough time to learn English. By making small changes on a daily basis; learning English will become a habit instead of a chore (or headache). 

You don’t need to spend an hour or two each day to get better at speaking English. Try dedicating 5, 15, or 30 minutes a day to improving your English. If you really commit to practicing English every day you will get better at it. I promise! 

15 Things You Can Do Today To Improve Your English!
1. Listen to a podcast every day
Podcasts are great. You can download them for free to your ipod, phone or computer. You can listen to podcasts while you are going to work, exercising or around your house. There are many podcasts to choose from in iTunes. You don’t have to just listen to English language learning podcasts (Like the English Tonight Podcast), but can find podcasts that are of interest to you. If you are interested in Soccer, Business or Marketing there are many podcasts to listen to. Also, listening to podcasts to varying subjects will ensure that you  stay engaged while listening and learning at the same time. 

2. Change the language on your phone to English
Change the operating language on your phone to English. You can usually change the language under ‘settings’. Though it may be difficult to understand the first few days, you will learn new words in English without even realizing. 

3. Change the language on your computer operation system, Facebook, Twitter, etc. to English
You could also change the operating system language from your native language to English on your computer, tablet or on any social media site that you use; such as Facebook or Twitter. Again you will learn new vocabulary in English instantly. 

4. Read or watch the news in English articles
You may already watch or read the news on a daily basis; now try doing it in English. BBC, CNN or Google News. You will continue your “good’ habit of staying informed on what’s happening in the world and improve your English reading and/or listening at the same time. 

5. Turn on English subtitles on your TV or DVD
Check to see if you can turn on English subtitles on your TV. If you have cable or satellite TV, watch programs in English with subtitles would be helpful. Also, before watching a DVD, check to see if is has English subtitles. You can find this function on the Main Menu of the DVD or sometimes the remote has a ‘subtitles’ button. Being able to hear and see the words at the same time will help to improve your English listening comprehension and understanding.

6. Listen to Music in English and learn the lyrics
Listening to music in English is great but do you struggle to understand all of the words that they are singing? Struggle no longer! You can finds the lyrics of many songs on these two websites: A to Z Lyrics UniverseLyrics.com or you could search for the lyrics on google or your preferred search browser.


7. Read more in English- the news, blogs, books, magazines
There are tons of printed information in English- be it on the internet or actual physical books and magazines. Read something in English that challenges you and is interesting. There are a lot of free materials, you can often download books from Amazon Kindle store for free. Don’t have a Kindle or iReader? Don’t worry. There is an app you can download and you can read it from your computer. 

8. Write in a journal every day in English
Practice writing every day. Practicing English for five or ten minutes a day will help. Write about what you did each day in English or write a story. Don’t have any ideas? Check here –> English writing prompts

9. Learn a new word in English every day
  Want to expand your English vocabulary? Great! Check out these word of the day websites: Here, here or here. Some of the words are rather complex but you are guaranteed to expand your vocabulary if you visit them every day. 

10. Speak in English with someone
Try to find someone to speak English with; whether it be a friend, family member or colleague from your work. The more you practice talking in English the better you will get at it. It will become more natural for you and you will start to feel less nervous when you have to speak English. Don’t have anyone to speak English with? You could try visiting these sites iTalkiverbling,  MyLanguageExchange or if you really want to improve your English you could sign up for an online English group conversation class

11. Write down new words and phrases in English that you learn
Keep a small notebook or a computer document (if you prefer) of new phrases in English or words that you have learned. Keep it in a place where you can refer back to it easily. When I was learning my second language, I kept a small notebook in my purse or pocket. I would write down anything new I learned or phrases I didn’t understand and needed to look up later. 

12. Watch children’s cartoons
Watching cartoons is a great activity for learning English. You will hear simple English and be able to see illustrations or animation of what they are talking about at the same time. Cartoons are often repetitive so you may hear some things more than once to help you improve you listening comprehension. 

13. Read children’s books
Children’s books are great for English language learners. You will be able to see words and illustrations and the context is usually simple because the materials were created for children. Don’t feel bad about reading children’s books there are tons of wonderful Children’s books in English that will interest you and teach you new English. You can access some Children’s books at MagicKeys, FreeKidsBooks, or as I mentioned above in Number 7, you can download free children’s books in English on Amazon as well. 

14. Dictate (Write down) what you hear
You should ideally dictate something you can listen to over and over again. You can find listening activities on English Tonight or ton of stories in English to listen to at ESL Fast or Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab. Remember, try to listen first a couple of times and write down what you hear. Then you can check when you wrote down compared to the exact transcript that is displayed on the website. 

15. Set measurable goals about learning to speak English
 You want to improve your English, right? Then you need to set a measurable goals. If you want to improve your English speaking skills you need to set a specific goal and put a plan in motion to help you succeed. Think: who, what, where, when, how?
Example of a measurable goal: I will improve my English speaking skills by enrolling in a speaking course online, finding someone from my work to speak with me two hours a week and by watching the news in English every day for 10 minutes. 

So, are you ready to stop making excuses and do something? Good!
What action will you take today to learn English?
Leave a message in the comments and let us know. 

Don’t let another day do by without improving your English. Register for our 30-Day English Challenge Course, where you will get 1 lesson a day for 30 days on interesting topics. 

ET 006: Making Mistakes in English

How to Keep a Conversation Going in English

Once you’ve broke the ice and started a conversation in English; you need to keep the conversation going. Keeping a conversation going in English is difficult; especially if English is your second language.

To keep a conversation going in English, you can do a variety of different thing to let them know you are interested in continuing the conversation. The most important thing to do in a conversation in English is to ask follow-up questions. If you don’t ask follow up questions the conversation will most likely stop very quickly. You can improve your English conversation skills if you try. You will get better at speaking English and holding conversation the more you try. Below are some tips to help you improve and extend your conversations in English.

Tips To Help You Improve Your English Conversation Skills
1. Ask questions– to keep the conversation going you need to ask many thought provoking questions in English
• “What did you do next?”
• “Why do you say that?”
• “How did that happen?”
• “When did that happen?”
• “What did you say?”
• Where did that happen?”
• “How did you react?”
• “Did you like it?”
• “Do you recommend it?”

2. Act Intrigued/Interject/Make Positive Exclamations-
• “Really?”
• “Wow, I can’t believe that.”
• “No way!”
• “Tell me more.”
• “Uh huh”
• “Oh No!”
• “That must have been fun.”
• “Right”
• “True”
• “Incredible”
• “Unbelievable”
• “Cool!”
• “That’s so funny.”
• “That’s great.”
• “Sounds interesting”

3. Use Your Body Language to Show you are Interested
• Look at the person
• Smile
• Maintain eye-contact
• Nod your head
• Don’t cross your arms
• Don’t be distracted by your cell phone or other electronic devices

4. Don’t ask “yes” or “no” questions- If you ask the person questions where they can respond with just one word; the conversation may end quickly. To correctly make small talk in English you need to form questions that mostly start with
• “What…?”
• Who…?”
• “When…?”
• “How…?”
• “Why…?”
• “Where…?”

5. Rephrase or repeat what the other person said– If they said, “My trip to Mexico was great.” You could respond, “I’m glad your trip to Mexico was great.” Or if they say, “Our team won five games.” You could say, “Five games!?” This shows the speaker that you are actively listening to what they are saying and you are interested.

Below are three example conversations with follow-up questions in English:

Example 1:
You asked: What are you going to do this weekend?
Person Answered: I am going to my Grandma’s house.

Possible Follow-Up Questions:
Does your grandma live close by?
Where does your grandma live?
What are you going to do at your grandma’s house?
How long will you visit you grandma for?

Example 2:
You asked: What did you do over the summer?
Person Answered: I went on vacation

Possible Follow-Up Questions:
Who did you go on vacation with? Did you go with your family?
Did you visit anyone?
Where did you go?
Was that the first time you went there?
How did you get there? Did you take a plane? Was it a long flight?
I’ve never been there before. Is it far away?
What did you do there?
Was there good weather?

Example 3:
You asked: Do you like soccer?
Person Answered: Yes, I love soccer.

Possible Follow-Up Questions:
What is your favorite team?
When did you start getting so into soccer?
Have you ever been to any great soccer games? Where? Who won? Was it a close game?
Do you have a favorite player? Why?
Did you play soccer when you were a kid? How long? Were you good?
Do you know where I could see a game around here?
Could you recommend any websites, podcasts, blogs, etc. about soccer?

Hopefully, you now have few new ideas about how to improve your English  conversations. The key to keeping English conversations going is to ask questions and to look and act interested in what the other person is saying.

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What are you going to do this weekend?

Practice talking about what you are going to do on the weekend. Listen to examples and then practice speaking.

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