Study Tip – Make English a part of your life!

by Melanie on November 20, 2010

(Photo by Noukka Signe)

Have you ever thought or asked a teacher one of these questions?

How can I speak English fluently?

How can I improve my spoken English?

How can I speak better English?

These are the most common questions I am asked! In this article, you’ll learn some simple changes you can make to your life to help you improve your English.

 

Move to an English-Speaking Country.

This is the easiest and the fastest way to learn English. If you are serious about learning a language, take any opportunity you can to spend time in an English-speaking country (for a long period of time, not just one or two weeks). Living with, working with, and speaking to native speakers all day every day will improve your English very quickly.

For many people, this is not possible. So, what you need to do is …

 

Make English a part of your life.

If you can’t go to an English-speaking country, you need to create an English-speaking environment & lifestyle as much as possible!

  • When you get up in the morning, listen to an English radio station, watch an English TV channel, or read an English newspaper
  • On your way to work, listen to English music, English podcasts, or English radio stations (in your car or on your phone)
  • Speak English to everyone and everything: your family, children, friends, co-workers (if possible), pets, plants…
  • After work, watch English TV shows and movies (it’s OK to watch with English subtitles if you need to!)

 

Whatever you do during the day, do it in English!

  • Write something in English! Even if you only write one sentence a day, this will help you focus and THINK in English. Write it in a diary. Start your own blog. Use Twitter, Facebook or MyEC. Just start!
  • Do you like to cook? Use English cookbooks.
  • Do you like clothes and fashion? Read English fashion magazines.
  • Do you like to know what’s going on in your country? Look for English newspapers and magazines that talk about local or national issues in your part of the world.
  • Use an English day planner or calendar (or set your phone/email calendars to ‘English’)
  • Change all the settings on your phone, on your computer, on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube to English

Think of it this way: if you decide to live a healthier life, you don’t say “I’m going to live healthfully for 2 hours every day, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.” When you decide to live healthfully, you do it all day long, every day, as much as possible. If you decide that you want to become fluent in English, you can’t say “I’m going to be fluent for 2 hours every day, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.” It’s something that you have to do all day every day as much as possible!

 

Every little bit helps!

Lots of little things add up to big things. The more you listen to and read English, the more comfortable you become with it and the easier it is to remember new words. You get used to the sounds of English and you can imitate them when you speak!

 

 


1 雅憲 November 20, 2010 at 9:32 pm

I'm not god at speaking even when I speak in Japanese-my mother tongue. To say the truth, I feel difficulty in making human relationships in my daily life.
But I like reading and writing. Is there any good book written in English to improve my introverted character?

P.S. I began to read "Anne of green gables."

2 Melanie November 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Hello 雅憲,

Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I love 'Anne of Green Gables'! In Canada, the 'Anne' series of books were made into popular TV movies.

In English, there is a genre of books called 'self-help' books – pschology books to help people with their problems. You may find some of them useful:
"How to Win Friends and Influence People" – Dale Carnegie
"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" – Stephen Covey

Here are some others on Amazon:
http://www.amazon.ca/gp/bestsellers/books/942404/ref=pd_zg_hrsr_b_3_3

I hope this helps!
Melanie
= )

3 雅憲 November 24, 2010 at 9:27 am

Thank you for your kindness. I'll read some of these books. You can pronounce 雅憲 as  "Masanori." See you!

4 Melanie November 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm

It's nice to meet you Masanori!

= )

5 Luana just of my personality January 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm

Hello Melanie, How are you?
I'm a Brazilian girl and I appreciated your advices, I try to do some things in your list, but is hard…I think the best way for I to learn English is to go to English-speaking country.

Thank you again….Have a good week Melanie!

6 sihtisham_haq January 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

thank u very much it'll really help.

7 Melanie January 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

Hi, Luana!

I agree that the best way to learn English is to go to an English-speaking country, but only if you are surrounded by native speakers and only if it is for a long period of time! It doesn't help if you go to an English-speaking country and are surrounded by non-native speakers, or if you only go for a short time.

Try to recreate an English-speaking environment at home as much as possible! Every little bit helps.

Good luck!
Melanie
= )

8 its.me.m4rkos December 26, 2011 at 11:43 pm

Yeah Melanie! =)
I do some of those things you said. Every day I keep on speaking english alone or with mom, relatives and some friends even they can't speak english at all. It helps a lot. =)
As you speak english more and more, it becomes something like a habbit and you start to get used to some characteristics, the spelling and the pronunciation of words in english.

Am I right Melanie?

Sometimes I guess people who pass by my house think I'm crazy because I keep speaking english out loud everyday, almost all the time and alone (hehe), but the thing is that I like english a lot. =D

Thanks a lot for sharing all these informations Melanie! =D

All the best!
Marcos

9 Melanie December 28, 2011 at 8:23 pm

You are correct Marcos! You 'train' your brain to remember these things, just like 'muscle memory' in sports. So make sure you have the right spelling & pronunciation – you can just as easily start bad habits as good ones!

You sound like a very enthusiastic & dedicated student, Marcos!

All the best in 2012,
Melanie
= )

10 rami January 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm

it's an importent tips and helpfull ,from you
thank's alot to you

11 Richard May 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

thanks melanie your are nice and i going to put into practice these tips. i thought these advice are very clever like you.
see you and take care.

Melanie 12 Melanie May 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Thank you again for your kind words!

This is so important, Richard! You can make small changes to your environment that will help you make HUGE improvements in your English. Make sure you do something every day in English!

= )

13 nag23 July 19, 2012 at 9:16 am

hello melanie..
i’am an indian boy..
thank you for your tips
i’ll improve my english by these tips..

Melanie 14 Melanie July 21, 2012 at 6:32 pm

You’re welcome! Good luck to you with your English studies.

= )

15 Danny Silva August 1, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Hi, Melanie

I am an intermediate learner of english, but sometimes when I read in front of my english teachers, they says that my pronunciation of english is as an advanced speakers. So, but I have just from January studying english, so my teachers are impressived with my performance. So, the unique problem I see with myself is learn new vocabulary and improve my listening, sometimes I can understand everyting from english conferences and sometimes I can’t. Then, I anazalized the ways I was studying english everyday and how each way increased my english on diferent ways. It’s a good tip to improve fluency, vocabulary and listening, read a lesson of english a day (but not about rules, just as a topic), and look for in the dictionary the unknown words of the topic until understand the complete topic) if it’s possible as repeat and listen as you get good understanding). So, I was reading about Canada, a lot of information and It was very intersting how Canada is, I stay impressive about your culture and It made me so exciting because I want to get an IT Job in Canada, but I’m not sure if my english level can be enough to get the opportunity right now. So, but let me tell you I expressed earlier I read around 1 hour your website and I realized that it improved my english very fast. So, this is my tip, and thank you for sharing your knowledge in english around the world. Sincerly Danny

Melanie 16 Melanie August 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm

Keep up the good work, Danny! You sound like a dedicated & enthusiastic English learner. If you keep working hard, you will be able to get an IT job in Canada!

Best of luck to you,
= )

17 Richard August 15, 2012 at 12:38 am

Hello Teacher Melanie:

I am Richard I am from Mexico. I need learn english for my job, but I can’t speak fluency and I have problems with the listening. I wish I migthed to practice with you. I star used your advice for me.

Thanks for your time.

Richard

Melanie 18 Melanie August 15, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Hi, Richard!

I hope my website is useful to you & will help you with your English studies. Unfortunately I am not taking on any new students for private lessons/private tutoring. My schedule is full. I’m sorry.

Remember, you can also find me on Twitter & Facebook if you want to ask any questions!

All the best,
Melanie
= )

19 abdel September 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm

hello Ms Melanie thank you so much for this useful blog. well , movies movies movies .. they’re very fast and full of slangs. Any tips please ?

Melanie 20 Melanie September 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Hi, Abdel!

Movies aren’t necessarily full of slang words. (‘Slang’ is an uncountable noun & an adjective. There is no plural form of ‘slang.’) There are lots of idioms & phrasal verbs in English, so maybe that’s what you’re hearing when you watch movies.

Have you tried watching movies with English subtitles? This way you can read what the people are saying while they’re speaking.

= )

21 abdel September 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm

thank you admin for your reply . well ; phrasal verbs are also a great problem .how can one deal with them ?

Melanie 22 Melanie October 1, 2012 at 9:28 pm

One at at time, Abdel! Don’t overload yourself with learning phrasal verbs. Just learn them one at a time.

The Learner’s Dictionary is a great resource for helping you understand phrasal verbs:
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/

= )

23 Mila October 19, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Hey, Melanie! You’re great, thank you. I’m 13 and I’ve been spending all my time talking in English on Twitter and it definitely helped me a lot! I find my way to write in English good, but my pronunciation isn’t good at all. I’m from Brazil, and I’m gonna follow your tips. Thank you again for doing this, that’s so nice of you.
xoxo

24 jhon November 6, 2012 at 2:30 pm

hi teacher you are wonderfull with your advices, i guess that is what i going to do the rest of my life.
thank you so much, you are very kind, and i will speak english fluente someday.

25 jhon November 6, 2012 at 2:31 pm

and i from colombia

26 Bianca November 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm

Hi Melanie! I am a bit confused and frustrated because I can express myself only in writing. When it comes about speaking I am a total mess. My accent is bad, I forget all the rules and I think all this will get me to the point where I will not be able to speak English anymore. Everybody speaks better than me, even French people. I am such a mess.

Melanie 27 Melanie November 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Hi, Bianca!

First, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Many, many English learners feel the same way you do. “I can express myself only in writing.” Did you study English in school? This is very common when students learn languages in school. I am the same way in French, because in our French classes in school, the focus was on grammar and writing, and we didn’t have many opportunities to speak.

Second, “everybody speaks better than me” is NOT TRUE! You may meet people who have more confidence speaking English than you, but that does not mean that their English is better than yours. Your English is fine, you just need to become more confident speaking English.

So, what can we do to help you become more confident? Here’s an article on how you can improve your accent/pronunciation:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/study-tip-how-to-improve-your-english-pronunciation/
Another thing you can do is listen to and read English as possible. This will help you become more comfortable with English. You will start to ‘feel’ what is right and you won’t need to think about the ‘rules.’ You will just know them because you have heard & read the right sentences so many times. Finally, just start talking to yourself if you don’t have anyone you can speak English to!

I hope that helps you feel better!
= )

28 Cynthia December 5, 2012 at 3:53 am

Hi Melanie and Bianca,

I hope you are fine.
I’m Cynthia and I live in France near Paris. I just want to say Bianca that I’m agree with Melanie you are not alone, I have the same difficulties. Last year, I made a presentation in my classroom in english and it was awfull and bad. I said so much “Euhhhh” and my classmate didn’t understand anything. It was the shame of my life, (lol). Since this experience I feel badreally , If you want we can comunicate by mail and after by phone only in english ? What do you think about it ?

It’s the first time that I give my opinion on a website.
I writte here because I think that the advices of Melanie are true and I want to congratulate her. Really, thank you Melanie, I ‘ll follow your advices and I hope that my english level improve.

Melanie 29 Melanie December 8, 2012 at 8:41 pm

Hi, Cynthia!

What a nice comment! Thank you for taking the time to write something here.

Think of it this way: You will never make such an awful presentation again! Your English will only get better from now on! Was it a problem with your English, or were you just nervous about giving a presentation in general?

I hope that it makes you feel better to know that there are many, many English learners who feel the same way you do!

All the best to you with your English studies,
Melanie
= )

30 romodan January 18, 2013 at 3:25 am

Dear meline how are u my qn is about english i am very poor in english writing as well as in speaking so how can i improve my writing and speaking skills with in short period of time because i am going to take ILET test on the next manth so write your advise . Have a niece wknd

Melanie 31 Melanie January 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Hi, Romodan!

The first thing you can do to improve your writing skills is to not use shorthand when writing on the internet. Take the time to write your sentences properly & with proper punctuation. You didn’t even spell my name correctly, even though my name is all over this website, nor did you spell the name of the test correctly. I am not being rude or mean, just honest, because you will not get a high score on the IELTS if you write as carelessly as you did in your comment. I have rewritten your comment for you:

“Dear Melanie,
How are you? My question is about English. I am very poor in English writing as well as in speaking. How can I improve my writing and speaking skills within short period of time? I am going to take the IELTS in the next month. What is your advice? Have a nice weekend.”

Here are some online resources for the IELTS:
http://www.ielts.org/
http://www.englishryan.com/
http://www.youtube.com/EnglishRyan
http://www.engvid.com/english-exams/ielts/
http://www.macmillanenglish.com/Course.aspx?id=28192
http://www.ielts-blog.com/

Good luck to you,
Melanie

32 Donny February 24, 2013 at 11:48 pm

I have a really important question. Well, I’ve been studying the book called “AMERICAN ACCENT TRAINING” by Ann Cook for sometime. I know the IPA symbols and how to mimic them. Nevertherless, my problem is that this book contains some symbols which I have never seen them before. I dont know whether this belongs to another type of IPA or not. I’ll appreciate your opinion about this subject since I think this book is awesome, but Im not able to understand those symbols. Also I’d like to find more information about them for me to mimic.

For example: if I google the word “chocolate” on http://www.macmillandictionary.com, I’ll find this: /ˈtʃɑklət/(what I’m used to seeing) vs [chäkl't] (what this book by Ann cook says).

In this book: (I know they’re linking words) The dogs eat the bones. [the däg zeet the bounz], They shouldn’t’ ve eaten them. they sh’dn•nəveetn’m, I’ll use the other one. [æl yuz thee(y)əther w'n], or Betty bought a bit of better butter [Beddy bä də bihda bedder budder] (note: thats only the beginning since there are long paragraphs.

It’s worth saying that I just found a dictionary a online (merriam-webster) which seems to work with the same symbols that Ann cook uses. For example If I google the same word, I get this \ˈchä-k(ə-)lət, ˈchȯ-\. the only difference is that its syllables are separated. So where could I find a resource to know more about this (mouth or tongue position). THANKS IN ADVANCE : )

Melanie 33 Melanie March 21, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Hi, Donny!

1. I don’t recommend using the book ‘American Accent Training’ for precisely the reason you have mentioned: She does not use the IPA, but instead uses her own symbols, as does the Merriam-Webster dictionary you found.

2. You shouldn’t just ‘google’ words. You should use dictionaries specifically for people learning English. The definitions are much easier to understand, and the pronunciation transcriptions use the IPA.
http://www.macmillandictionary.com
http://www.learnersdictionary.com
http://www.dictionary.cambridge.com

Here are my tips on how to improve your pronunciation:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/study-tip-how-to-improve-your-english-pronunciation/

Good luck to you,
Melanie

34 Donny February 24, 2013 at 11:50 pm

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/chocolate, Btw this is the dictiornary I just mentioned.

35 Juan Pablo Duran March 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Hello teacher Melanie I am Bolivian I try to find some help for my listening because I am going to give the TOEFL test in May. I am studying so hard for it, please help me

Melanie 36 Melanie March 21, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Hi, Juan!

In my article on preparing to take to TOEFL, I have an extensive list of listening resources:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/ten-tips-for-the-toefl-ibt/

Good luck to you!

37 belajar March 28, 2013 at 9:12 am

hy Melanie , I am from Indonesian . i want practis my speaking but hard to find out anyone to speak , have you an information the web what provide chatting or speak via skype for people? thanks for you kidness

38 Cuong Hoang April 7, 2013 at 3:44 pm

Thank you for such a awesome posting !
Actually, I have been applying a method which is much familiar to the method shown above. So my English is now much more better than the period of learning the English classes at night with Vietnamese teachers. But the biggest problem of mine is that I can’t speak English fluently, especially when facing with foreingners. And I have read a plenty of blogs which carefully mentioned of how to get more confident and fluent in speaking English , they advised me to speak as much as possible to get more fluent, and I applied what extactly they did advise me. But I found that not too efficient :(, i mean how can we understand a sentence from a show on TV randomly while sometime we get stuck by suddenly hearing a word that we have never exprerienced before , this is really a big trouble that all English learners are now wondering, and I hope that you master Melanie will help us find out the best way to solve that problem.
Good-bye, and the best of luck to you !
Cuong Hoang , from Hanoi, Vietnam .

Melanie 39 Melanie April 14, 2013 at 6:29 pm

Hello Cuong Hoang,

You are not alone! Most English learners feel the same way you do.

Think about how you learned your native language. How did you learn new words & sentence structure? You listened, and you read. After you listened and read a lot, you spoke. That’s how you need to approach fluency in English. I know that many English teachers say to speak more in order to improve your speaking, but what they really mean is that speaking more will improve your confidence. Words don’t magically come out of your mouth in the right order. This is why I tell people to make English a part of their lives: The more you hear and read English, the easier it is to speak. You will begin to feel what is right & what is wrong.

All the best to you, and good luck with your English studies,
Melanie
= )

40 arnav May 9, 2013 at 6:28 am

I can’t speak English fluently.most of the times im unable to interact with my teachers,I just don’t get any words so that I can express them and I don’t feel confident at all.

41 katrina May 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm

hi Dear
My English writing is good than speaking, I can respond by writing very well but when it comes to speak I lost my words
so please what I can do?

42 abhilash joseph May 16, 2013 at 9:40 am

I am not good in English for speaking , writing,etc
I read news paper daily.
but I can’t develop my english.
so give me good idea for learn english with short period of time.

43 Safari abdou May 17, 2013 at 2:14 pm

HELLO MELLANIE
First of all , I’m very prod to add my comment on your wonderful page .
Rely I appreciate your advises a lot . I’m geography high school teacher,as well as doing my doctoral search about nature_resources . So I have decided to improve my English language – even it’s our third language speaking in MOROCCO – because on the one hand it’s useful for getting a new academic results , to discover a new scientific results , on the other hand it is a worldwide overseas language , it was my a lone key for making business and social relationship last month when I was in Italy and HOLLAND for a short trip .
Every one read these lines must know that ENGLISH or any other language DESERVE TO WORK HARD BUT WITH AN OPTIMIST SOUL.
IM WAITING YOUR COMMENTS ABOUT MY ENGLISH WRITING . EVERY COMMENT WILL BE VERY APPRECIATED .
SAFARI ABDOU FROM MOROCCO

44 aiza May 17, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Hi Melanie,

Thanks for sharing :)

Im working in an almost english speaking country but IM still not fluent.:( maybe it’s because Ive been hearing chinese english accent.

Also some of my colleagues laugh at me whenever I stutter or cannot express myself in english.:(

45 Riyaz May 20, 2013 at 4:51 am

Hi Melanie,
How are you doing this day, Am riyaz working in Finance dept. but you know dear i always face problem when i write letters silly mistake and complete the letter with this how can develop my writing skills as well as fluent in english.
please need some tips
Thanks
Riyaz

46 yesenia May 23, 2013 at 1:58 am

hello, melani,..
i always try to make friends who speak english but i cant, i cant speak english fluently i can undestand and write . i have been in united states since 3 years
and im still afraid to speak to people
its really hard to me make presentations , speak to people because maybe they gonna make fun of me.. and i also when i try to have a job
the interview is always going bad
is horible cuz sometimes i cant speak fluently
i want you to help me to make this happen and make my lifer easier. thanks

Melanie 47 Melanie May 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Hi, Yesenia,

You are not alone! I hear from many people living in English-speaking countries who feel they can’t speak English fluently.

I don’t think there is a problem with your English. I think that you just need to improve your confidence.

“maybe they gonna make fun of me”
Has anyone ever made fun of the way you speak English? Or is this just a fear in your head?

Do you live near a major city or town? Most cities in America have programs to help people speak English. Is there a library in your town/city? Ask at the library if they can recommend any teacher or English classes. (My local library has an English conversation group for people to practice their English.) Go to the website of your town or city and see if they have any English courses. Go to a high school or college in your town/city and ask if they have any English courses. You need to find a teacher who will help you prepare for job interviews & everyday life in America. Go to Google and search “English courses for newcomers in .

When you take English lessons in a group or with a private tutor, you will become more confident speaking English. When you feel more confident, it will be easier to improve your English.

Good luck to you!
= )

48 Delany May 26, 2013 at 11:18 am

Hi, Melanie!
Thank you for your advice. You help me much. I hope you will continue to help others to improve their English. Because your advise is very useful. I’ good at listening and writing but not in speaking. So, I hope with the help of your advice I can improve it.
Good luck to you!
Delany

49 aqua gomez May 27, 2013 at 2:29 am

hi my dear teacher! wish i was by your side there in canada to hear every single word of english pronounced beautifully and fluently each day of my life! i’m an iranian girl studying english literature at tehran university! i’m at the second semester right now and my accent is believed to be very good and lovely but i’m not that much satisfied with my speaking!plzzzzzzzzz help me ! i want to continue my education there and i need to speak fluentlY! loooooooove u unseen and by the way send my love to yur people!thnx alooooooooot! bye for now!

Melanie 50 Melanie May 27, 2013 at 7:38 pm

Hello,

Thank you for your kind words! All the best to you with your studies at Tehran University. Here are some tips that will help you improve your pronunciation:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/study-tip-how-to-improve-your-english-pronunciation/

= )

51 Bikram Sil May 29, 2013 at 12:57 am

Hi, Melanie!
its really very helpful…
thanks for your advice…….
good luck.

52 Mourad June 8, 2013 at 8:08 am

hello English community
I am Mourad from Algeria ,actually I am working as a mathematics teacher.
Well English for me is the most beautiful language I ever heard ,you know I am living in French speaking community as a first foreign language and creating an English environment is as hard as speaking Chinese “no fence”,so I started by listening to English tips in my phone ,watching English speaking movies,Tv series and reading some easy short stories I also tried to use English with English teachers in my work,after while I improved my English but the main question is sometimes I feel so disappointed cause I feel like I can’t speak as good as I always expected.How can we fight that feeling of disappointment?
I know better things require time and hard work ,but I feel like I gave it all what it needs,I don’t learn English for any propose of immigration or living in an English speaking country ,I just love this beautiful language and I want speak it by heart nothing else ,after that I will move to learn some Spanish…well wish me a good luck and thank you for your time ,,,,,,,,,,,,all of you
Your student Mourad.

53 vishal June 29, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Hi Everyone ,
I am Vishal , from India ..
Its an open question to all for which i need your suggestions/advices..

My query or the question is , I don’t face any problem in writing ,reading or listening..Only problem i face is in speaking .. Soon gonna give my IELTS exam ..And i m participating in shortcourses cum debate competitions.. Any more help by you all.. And you are great MR.MELANIE ..
MAIN CONCERN :- i can speak a lot but in pauses(breaks).. the flow is missing.
any suggestions over it pls reply ASAP..

Melanie 54 Melanie June 30, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Hi, Vishal,

Based on your comment, you do have some problems with writing, mainly punctuation & sentence structure. I have rewritten your comment:

Hi, everyone,
I am Vishal from India. I need your suggestions & advice. I don’t have any problems with writing, reading or listening. I have a problem speaking in English! I can speak a lot but with pauses & breaks. My speech doesn’t flow together. I am going to take the IELTS soon, and I am participating in short courses cum debate competitions. If you have any suggestions on how can improve my speaking, please let me know!

Thanks,
Vishal

~

From the way you have written your comment, I think that your main problem is that you are trying to translate from your native language into English while you are speaking. This is why there are pauses in your speech. The best thing to do is to start thinking in English. Surround yourself with as much English reading & listening as possible so you can practice natural collocations & sentence structure.

Good luck to you!
Melanie

55 pedey June 30, 2013 at 12:17 am

hi Melanie,
How you doing..!! i am pema from bhutan and i really appreciated for your hardship words to all the needy people like us.thank you so much, its really helpful for the people who face loads of problem while speaking english.Your advices would solve the problems and that would make great differnce.

takecare

56 euphy YmS July 3, 2013 at 5:46 am

Hello teacher !
Well , I’m a first year college now but still I can’t able to express my ideas through speaking English . My classmates do speak fluently in English and they have the confident to share their ideas specially in class discussions. I have lots of ideas but I’m afraid to participate in class discussion .I really feel pity and ashamed for myself for in my age now , I do not have still the skill in public speaking . What should I do now teacher ?

Melanie 57 Melanie July 3, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Hi, euphy YmS!

“My classmates do speak fluently in English and they have the confident to share their ideas specially in class discussions.”
~ Just because your classmates are confident speaking English doesn’t mean that they speak English fluently! Being confident and being fluent are not the same thing. I suspect that your classmates make a lot of mistakes when they speak. It’s OK!

“I have lots of ideas but I’m afraid to participate in class discussion.”
~ Why are you afraid? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that you might say something wrong? Are you afraid that people will laugh at you? When your classmates say something wrong, does anyone laugh at them? So what if someone laughs at you?

“I really feel pity and ashamed for myself for in my age now, I do not have still the skill in public speaking.”
~ There is no reason for you to feel pity & ashamed. I think you are putting too much pressure on yourself.

If you don’t feel comfortable speaking English in public yet, maybe you should try private lessons instead of group lessons. Speaking with a private teacher will help you improve your confidence!

= )

58 euphy YmS July 4, 2013 at 2:51 am

That was a very nice advice teacher ! thanks for inspiring ME :-) MORE POWER and GOD BLESS !!! <3 LOVELotS !

59 maErrYchE July 9, 2013 at 5:46 am

Hello teacher !

I’m already 15 and I’m a freshmen college student but still I’m not that good in English speaking. I’ve got so many ideas in my mind but I’m afraid to express it. They might laugh at me knowing my classmates were too good .Well, they speak with confidence … I can hardly cope with them because they are acting so weird. They somehow make me feel like I’m out of place. What should i do now ??

Melanie 60 Melanie July 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm

Hello,

I’ll tell you the same thing I told the person above you:

1. You are not alone! Many, many English learners feel the same way you do. They compare themselves to their classmates and they think their classmates speak better English than they do. They are afraid that people will laugh at their mistakes.

2. More than likely, your classmates do not speak better than you, they just have more confidence in speaking in public. You are not going to learn English from your classmates, anyway. You learn English from your teacher native speakers.

3. People are not going to laugh at you for making mistakes. Most likely your classmates make a lot of mistakes when they speak. Even if they do laugh at you, so what? Who cares?

4. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking English in public yet, you should try private lessons instead of group lessons. Speaking with a private teacher will help you improve your confidence!

All the best to you & good luck with your English studies!
= )

61 maErrYchE July 10, 2013 at 4:48 am

^tHAnks teAcher !! that was really a greAt help >> wew. i thiNk i haVe to havE that confidence when it comes to puBlic spEaking .. and i do learned a lot :-) mY mom is always telling mE i havE to be POSiTiVE .. she saiD positiVe thinking is not aBout EXPECTiNG the BEST to happen BUT ACCEPTiNG that whatever haPpens .. it’s for the best !! anD I thiNk you twO havE one in coMmon – a very GOOD advicer == GOD BLESS and THANKS a milliON :-)

Melanie 62 Melanie July 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

It’s impossible to read your comment when you have capitalized random letters. Only names of places & people are capitalized, & the first letter of each new sentence.

63 Nohid July 9, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Pls help me to learn speak English free

64 Jason August 4, 2013 at 9:01 am

Hi, Melanie. Your site is awesome. Can you tell me the difference between “in which” and “where”? Here’s an example from one of your pages on Grammar- Here are some situations in which you don’t need to use the (article).

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Jason from the Philippines.

Melanie 65 Melanie August 5, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Hi, Jason!

If you have a question about something on one of my grammar pages, then you should ask your question on THAT page! This is an article about how to speak English more fluently!

Right now I have no idea which page/article you are talking about!

= )

66 Siriwan August 5, 2013 at 3:41 am

Hi, Melanie
First of all, I am learning in English for being an fluency person in English and I found your video tips for pronunciation tips and then I feel really love its way you taught so thanks for teaching.
I also want to share my tips for making English a part of my life which are always watching many English programs such as the movies, variety , music , learning via chatting website with the foreign friends and the last one talking in English with my nephew. That’s all.

67 Monica August 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

Hi Melanie, I’m Monica and I’m from Indonesia
I really like your study method
I always listen to your podcast everyday to improve my pronounciation
My problem is I can pronoun a word but when I speak more than two words or a sentences, I revert back to my own language which is to speak indonesian…
My pronounnciation is bad

Melanie 68 Melanie August 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Hi, Monica,

When you say, “I revert back to Indonesian,” do you mean that you stop speaking English completely, or that you speak English with an Indonesian accent?

Speaking without an accent takes a lot of practice. Once you can pronounce a word properly, try learning how to say it as part of a phrase, then as part of a sentence.

= )

69 santu August 28, 2013 at 9:04 am

Hi Melanie Madam,
I’m Santu and I’m from Kolkata (India). first of all i have some problem to speaking others persons by english. maximum time my colic do speak by fluency but on this situation i m very afraid . please give me a some tips for improv my english.
Regards.
Santu Das
santudas89@gmail.com

70 Mustafa September 2, 2013 at 7:49 am

Hi there

I’m originally from lebanan but I living in Iran-Tehran, I’m studying Pilot and a have to speak English fluently half of a day, But I am terrible at Grammer,what should I do to improve it.
thank you

Melanie 71 Melanie September 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Hi, Mustafa,

Is your course in English? Do you need English to complete your studies to be a pilot?

Macmillan has an ‘Aviation English’ textbook that might help you:
http://www.macmillanenglish.com/aviationenglish/course.htm

Here is a sample of the book
http://www.macmillanenglish.com/aviationenglish/course/sample-unit.htm

You can buy the book here on Amazon.com

Good luck to you!
= )

72 shak September 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm

Hi to every one ..this article is really helpfull and motivating..actually am wrak in fnuiken..can anybody help me to improve

73 shak September 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm

3 at 9:18 pm
Hi to every one ..this article is really helpfull and motivating..actually am very weak in english speaking..can anybody help me to improve

74 sharad kumar September 25, 2013 at 6:58 am

Hi Melanie,

I am really impressed the contents of your website page. These are the valuable assets for a person like me.
looking for new podcast on communication skills improvement

thanks

75 piyush October 2, 2013 at 9:06 am

hi melanie
i am piyush from india
my problem is i am feeling very shy to talk in english with surounded people…
so is there any way to speak influent english alone????
thanks for any help

Melanie 76 Melanie October 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Hi, Piyush,

If you get nervous speaking English in a group, find a private teacher! Do you live in or near a major city? I am sure there are many native English speakers in India who can give you private lessons. Try googling ‘private English tutor .’

Good luck!
= )

77 Hossam mahmoud October 9, 2013 at 10:48 pm

hi Melanie,
My name is Hossam , I ‘m from Egypt .
First of all i want to thank you a lot for helping us , especially in that important topic .
Secondly, i ‘m seeking for your advice , as an eger person to learn English, i started to watch unsubtitled TV shows and even following some serious a long tim ago , and i reached a level that i can even watch the subtitled shows and notice some of the mistakes in the subtitle it self and that some of them can’t give the same meaning in English , but when using English my brain start to freeze as if i don’t know any vocabulary , i can express my self well but i puse a lot and try to search for what i want to say exactly . The fact is that i know the words but when using them it is different .
Could you help me please ?

Melanie 78 Melanie October 14, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Hi, Hossam!

What do you mean by ‘when using English’? Speaking? Writing?

It might not be English that is making you nervous but the person/group that you are speaking to or writing to. Lots of people get nervous speaking in public, and even more nervous when they have to speak English. Maybe you are putting too much pressure on yourself to speak English perfectly?

This post might make you feel better:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/4-truths-about-learning-english

= )

79 Daniel October 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

Hi Melanie,
I please want to expose you my concern. Why, if I speak English fluently at business meetings, make presentations in English, and talk on a daily base in English, very often it makes me difficult to understand the characters’ talking during a TV series: let’s say Person of Interest. I am native Italian and Spanish spoken countries, and got used to work with USA and GB based international companies, and still english is my usual exchange language.

What do you recommend for improving my understanding further watching many times the same episode.

Appreciate your answer, Daniel

Melanie 80 Melanie October 24, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Hi, Daniel!

How do you define ‘fluent’? I think that when you say ‘fluent,’ you mean that you can talk in English on a daily basis & people can understand you (even if you make mistakes) and you can understand than them. This is very different from understanding what people are saying on TV.

Your co-workers obviously know that English is not your first language. They probably don’t correct you if you make a mistake, and they probably speak slower to you so that you can understand them. They probably don’t speak to you using a lot of slang, idioms, or cultural references.

On TV, people speak at a natural pace. They use slang and make a lot of cultural references. Also, a show like ‘Person of Interest’ uses vocabulary related to police work. This is probably a very different set of vocabulary than what you use at work.

One thing that is difficult for Italian & Spanish speakers is English pronunciation. In Italian & Spanish, you can see a word and know how it is pronounced. You can’t do that in English. You have to hear a word in English to know how it is pronounced. Your pronunciation of words may not be correct (even though your co-workers can understand you), so when you hear the word said correctly, you may not even know it’s the same word. I don’t recommend watching the same episode over & over again. I recommend watching each episode with subtitles if possible. This way, you can start to match the sounds of English with the English words that you already know.

= )

81 Daniel October 25, 2013 at 2:44 am

Many thanks, Melanie! Usually in business meetings the people go to their normal pace speaking, but what is true is we are in the same matter environment and our jargon is pretty much the same all the time. On the other hand, you’re right, translations into spanish of TVseries sometimes are also not inmediately understandable because they use the specific jargon of the local spanish police, which is not ours. I use to watch series with english subtitles (it is a good suggestion), but not very often series with subtitles are found easily. Watching the same episode several times improves my understanding though. Best wishes and excellent website yours.

82 Rocky October 25, 2013 at 8:50 am

Hi ma’am,
I have been trying to improve my English since last 6 months but nothing has helped me.I ve been watching movies, reading books ,then also it hasn’t improved.Please tell me how much time does it take to improve english.I have done my schooling from English medium ,completed my MBA also but then also y my English is not good.
Its really difficult for me to speak with everyone in english bcz the place where I live hardly anyone knows english.Problem is am not getting the environment.Please help me out what should I do.

Melanie 83 Melanie October 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

Hi, Rocky!

How are you measuring your improvement? You say that you’ve been trying to improve your English but nothing has helped. How do you know that your English hasn’t improved? What is your goal? Why do you want to improve your English? What is your native language?

If you can tell me more about yourself, we can try to solve your problem!

= )

84 Daniel November 8, 2013 at 2:50 am

Hello again Melanie,

have a question about the use of the verbs screw and screw up. More than ten years ago, in an internal email from a technical US guy of the International company I worked with, wrote about that some computer program was “screwing up” all the work we were trying to finish up. Many unknown colleagues, he didn’t meet, were copied in that email and since then I’ve started to use those verbs in emails and haven’t seen any negative or complaining reaction. More recently, in a conference of astrophysics in Madrid, a famous Nobel Price in Physics used the verb and the simultaneous translation in spanish resulted in a colloquial and very unpolite expression used in spanish speaking countries, indeed many of the audience got started to laugh and I asked my wife what translation was used for that term (also my wife laughed, she didn’t expect so a Nobel Prize could say it). I was more indulgent because I’ve seen it use many times in high executive emails. Currently I am trying not to use it any longer except in normal conversations between friends. I am interested in your comments. Many thanks, Daniel

Melanie 85 Melanie November 11, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hi, Daniel!

In this case, I don’t think the problem is with ‘screw up’ but with the simultaneous translation into Spanish. In other words, the translator screwed up!

‘Screw up’ is a very informal expression, but it’s very common. It doesn’t surprise me that a famous Nobel Prize winner in Physics used it.

It CAN be impolite in English, depending on how it’s used.

These uses are OK:
“I screwed that up!”
“This program is screwing up all our work!”

HOWEVER, it can be rude and impolite if you accuse someone ELSE of screwing something up, especially if the other person hasn’t first said “I screwed up.”
“He screwed up the computer program.” – That’s OK to say among friends, but it’s not something you would say to your boss (about your co-worker).

I was joking above when I said, “the translator screwed up!” I wouldn’t say that in public. I would say it in a more polite way: “I disagree with the translation.”

= )

86 Daniel November 9, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Hi Melanie,

the same Daniel of Person of Interest. I am watching The 4400 TV show and I understand it perfectly. What’s the difference? What you mention about cultural references, police work, etc. is true but, what’s the difference?

I’m struggling with myself about it. Is it possible that it is motivation about the theme. Both shows capture my interest indifferently. Many thanks, Daniel

Melanie 87 Melanie November 11, 2013 at 2:01 pm

Hi, Daniel!

I had never heard of ‘The 4400′ and I had to google it! I’ve never seen this TV show so I can’t comment on the difference between the two shows. I’m going to guess that the shows use different kinds of English.

It’s possible that the producers of 4400 used simple English. Sometimes, producers want to make a TV show as realistic is possible. Did you ever watch ER or do you watch Grey’s Anatomy? The writers of the shows use actual medical terms that most native speakers don’t know & don’t understand. Other shows use much simpler English to make the show easier to understand. The producers & writers of Person of Interest try to be as realistic as possible, and so the characters use more complex, advanced English.

I didn’t understand your last paragraph:
“Is it possible that it is motivation about the theme. Both shows capture my interest indifferently.”
‘Indifferently’ means ‘lacking interest in something.’ Did you mean to say that you’re not really interested in either show? Or did you want to say that you’re more interested in one show than the other?

All the best,
Melanie

88 Daniel November 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Thanks Melanie for your both previous answers and your highlight. Regarding Indifferently: after having sent my note, I was scratching my head whether I said it correctly. By indifferently I wished to express that I like both; therefore both shows, in their own subjects, are interesting for me at the same level and do not have any reason for understanding their English one more than the other (except for boring). By motivation I wanted to say that in one of the shows it is struggling to undertand its english and I get discouraged. What I suspect (my theory) is that the dialogues are not (obviously) improvised as in the reality, then certain authors tend to be more exquisite when they write the scripts, i.e. more refined, and others more straight as in the reality happens. In any language, when one talks to another, she/he is not just writing a script, is just espressing her/himself: fast communication is a must, so straight is the key. Refined scripts?: They are the best to learn english, even if I get dissappointed for not understanding at the first time. Sometimes, within the web, it is possible to find out the scripts of some movies (shows more difficult), and this helps a lot: Good to say to the internauts who share your e-space. Apologies for the long back and forths.

Best wishes.

Daniel

89 Arnon Ramos November 13, 2013 at 12:20 am

Hi Melanie,
I’m from Brazil. First, your website is wonderful; Second, I have a doubt: What do you have to say about dictionaries? May you show me some of them? Thanks!!

Melanie 90 Melanie November 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Hi, Arnon!

You don’t ‘have a doubt,’ you ‘have a question! “I have a doubt” is a Spanish & Portuguese expression that is not used in English. Instead, say “I have a question”!

I recommend using dictionaries specifically for English learners:
http://www.macmillandictionary.com/
http://www.learnersdictionary.com/
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/

Those are all excellent dictionaries. They have easy-to-understand definitions and example sentences. They also list collocations with each word. They also list related phrasal verbs & idioms. Finally, you can listen to the pronunciation of a word & read the IPA transcription in each of those dictionaries.

Good luck!
= )

91 Arnon Ramos November 20, 2013 at 11:33 am

Teacher Melanie,
How are you today? I hope you’re fine!! I liked your answer! They’re always great!
I had been reading some tips on your website and I found something very important for me: I want to make ENGLISH part of my life and I’d like you send me some websites where I can watch TV, series, cartoons and other things. I’m sure I’ll appreciate your answer! Bye :D

92 Daniel November 13, 2013 at 4:39 am

Hi Melanie,

do you know please any short story or novel that you might consider especially very rich in phrasals verbs and that you should recommend to read to for people who doesn’t have too much time and whished to have all the stuff in a short space? And, which dictionary you’d recommend about phrasal verbs?

I think the issue about understanding shows (surely it is not a big discovery) is that essentially characters use a lot of phrasals. Many romance language speakers always have english shortcuts (English is rich) to say the same verbs (similar to spanish, for instance) that others use by otherwise saying phrasal verbs.

Thanks a lot,

Daniel

Melanie 93 Melanie November 15, 2013 at 3:55 pm

OK, there’s a lot to talk about here …

Why do you need to learn English in a short amount of time? No one, not even native speakers, learns English in a short amount of time. You will be learning English for the rest of your life. What is your measurement? What goal do you hope to achieve?

Don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to learn English. It’s been my experience that the students who learn best are the students who are relaxed & enjoy English. My students who put a lot of pressure on themselves and try to learn everything at once do not learn as quickly.

I don’t recommend anything “rich in phrasal verbs.” You can’t learn every single phrasal verb all at once. You won’t remember them. You need to learn them in context.

You are partially correct. English is a mixture of Germanic & Latin languages. We have a phrasal verb (from Germanic languages) and another verb (from Latin) to express the same thing:
get up / rise
take off / depart

You need to read something in English at your level, & you need to listen to a lot of English (to know how to pronounce words). Here are some books to look for:
Penguin graded readers
Macmillan graded readers

Another thing to try is reading a book in English after you have read it in Portuguese. Read it in Portuguese to understand the story, then read it in English. Always remember the ‘five finger’ rule: Open a book to any page & read that page. Put your finger on any word you don’t know & can’t figure out from the context. If you use all five fingers, then the book is not at your level. If you have to look up too many words, you will never remember them all & you will get bored of the book.

Good luck to you,
= )

94 Daniel November 13, 2013 at 4:46 am

Alice Munro, Canadian, might be?

Daniel

95 Daniel November 22, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Thanks Melanie. I want to write this because probably it could help others and me in the English endeavour. I have to tell that I am not on formal English lessons or classes since about 23 years ago because I talk in English proficiently for working purposes on the daily base and used to live over about 20 years in many countries where English is the communication channel. Nevertheless the way to reach Utopia is never boring but challenging instead: as near as one is to the-never-attainable Utopia, you will be pushing yourself up high and closer. I wonder how you came up with the Portuguese reading you mentioned, etc. What’s funny is that I’ve learnt Portuguese during a one-year project in Portugal when, at the evenings, I used to watch movies or shows on TV spoken in English but with Portuguese subtitles: my native languages are Spanish and Italian, somehow they helped with getting better in Portuguese.
But what freed me of the blockage I had with English happened in 1997. During a 2-month project in USA – all Americans in the office, no way to talk in Spanish – I was able to talk in English but with many incidences, hurdles, and it often frustrated me (always understood but It was difficult to me to express myself). One night at that time during my sleep, I dreamt evocating a scene happened in 1980 or so, in which my wife, her cousin and I were in a familiar reunion and her cousin received a telephone call from USA and she started to talk in perfect English, which I reproduced in my brain during the dream. At the same time, within that same dream, I’ve started to talk to her in coarse English while she was responding to me perfectly. Later on, as soon as I woke up, sat up over my bed and said, in loud voice to myself, discouraged, ‘that’s why I’ll never talk in English’, ‘look at her cousin talking!’. But, all of the sudden, a brilliant realization, which never happened in other dreams before then to me, came up and it was: ‘who was thinking in English in my wife ‘s cousin place while I was dreaming!?’ That day, incredibly, I forgot Spanish and any other language I knew. When I went to the restaurant later (the working day was excellent in fluidity), the waiter, after my accent, started to talk to me in Spanish, but surprisingly didn’t understand him and couldn’t respond to him (I was blocked for Spanish) and suddenly he switched to talk to me in English about the menu becasue understood I was unable to talk in Spanish: I was really amazingly excited.
That’s why I never give up pushing me harder in English. And my step up frustration now is trying to understand TV shows/movies with hard-to-understand English. Utopia? To talk like a native American or British guy, even if it costs to watch movies repeatedly over and over again all the Saturday or Sunday long, whenever normal life allows me. My profession requires English, I have many international conferences, interviews, etc. every day but, I am never satisfied (I can’t get no satisfaction), but it is not a cause of frustration at all to me. My usual readings are Lord of the Rings, Brian Greene cosmology related themes books and other literatures to feed the unconscious. Time to time, the blockage fibres of the mind get weak and the unconscious unleashes itself defeating the lumps that stop one to talk fluently and rich in vocabulary and idioms.
After reading what you wrote in your previous response note, for example, helped me to relax and had two days of working meetings completely in English pretty natural. Also want to tell, what helps a lot is thinking in English from morning to night whatever I do. Again sorry for the length of my comment.

96 sandeep December 22, 2013 at 8:32 am

i love you melanie

97 agus January 21, 2014 at 8:25 pm

hello….nice tips…..i’ll try your tips…hopefully will be increase my skill to speaking english language……thanks

98 rasel January 30, 2014 at 1:45 am

i am an English teacher.how can take whole in English?

99 Daniel February 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

Melanie is a brilliant woman; she understands what I’m going to say. English comes through in waves, like Pink Floyd’s Comfortably Numb song: ”you are always coming thru in waves”. English comes through in waves. What I mean is that your brain works thru waves of understanding and you have to be aware, cautiously mindful of your own intellectual modes of the maximum peaks of those waves to be coincident with the information to be understood and that’s the way you catch your comprehension of English and of every language. It requires a lot of exposure to English and a lot of surrender or release of you in order your brain had the aptitude to understand what you’re listen.

Melanie 100 Melanie March 13, 2014 at 5:32 pm

You are not alone Shabnam! Many people feel the same way you do. Read this article. It will make you feel better:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/4-truths-about-learning-english/

If you are not confident speaking in a class, then why are you taking group lessons? I recommend taking private lessons with a tutor until you feel more confident. If you are embarrassed and not feeling confident, how do you expect to improve?

All the best,
Melanie

101 saba March 16, 2014 at 4:44 am

hy my name saba plz guide me o speak english

102 Goutham March 18, 2014 at 2:42 am

Hai Melanie! I ‘m Goutham from Andhrapradesh. INDIA. Since I had been brought up in villages and town, I cant able to speak effectively in my profession. I can talk with non english background people, but when it comes to learned ones, my words will mumble. Please give an advice/suggestion to me on how to overcome this prblm.

Thanking you..
Goutham KS

103 Duan March 24, 2014 at 4:58 am

Hi Melanie.
I want to improve my English skill.
I have some problem with listen and speak. I don’t understand what is saying english?
i think that my pronoun is incorect,so i can’t hear.
please help me.
thanks.

Melanie 104 Melanie March 24, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Hello Duan,

Here is some information that will help you with pronunciation & listening:

How to Improve Your Pronunciation:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/study-tip-how-to-improve-your-english-pronunciation/

How to Improve Your Listening:
http://www.englishteachermelanie.com/study-tip-how-to-practice-listening-english/

= )

105 shailu April 16, 2014 at 12:41 am

hi madam
i am indian boy .I read english tip for improvement
i will improve my english by these tip.
thanks

106 shailu April 16, 2014 at 12:56 am

Hi madam,
I to do hard work for learn English speak purpose but not improvement to my
English good . so I am feel bad of myself. please madam help to me for
English writing and Speaking .please tell me How can I easily speak in English .
Please give some good tips which help to me for English improvement.

107 shaan June 7, 2014 at 2:00 am

Thanks admin..
These r really important and effective advice
i’ll try my best to follow most of these instrctions…
Thanks alot

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