Tips to Improve your English
by Jean-Paul >>Home Page
1. Read a Book
Even better, read a book in English! Choose a rather easy book to read at first, like a Harry Potter book. There are many second hand English book stores in Chiang Mai, where you can find an English novel on almost anything.
This is one of the best ways to improve your English. You will learn new vocabulary very quickly and start to get a feel for the language. Remember languages are not logical. That is why most native English speaking people cannot explain English grammar because they just “know it”. Just like you probably cannot explain Thai grammar, as you just “know it”. Thus the only way you can start to “know it” or speak English like a native person is to regularly practise/speak English.
This is why a book is great because you can read it every day, so you get exposure to the English language every day. (Whereas you may not be able to speak English every day.)
So reading a book gives you practice in how the English language flows. So my biggest tip, READ a book now!
2. Speak in Full Sentences
When you are practising English or even speaking it with a friend, it does not help if you just give one word answers, like yes or no. It is much much better if you speak in full sentences. That is, a sentence that has at least SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT (just yes or no is not a full sentence)
Teacher: Do you like to play football next week?
Student (poor): yes.
Student (good): Yes I like to play football next week.
or No I don’t like to play football next week.
Friend: Are you happy right now?
Student (poor): no
Student (good): No I am not happy.
Or Yes I am happy, thanks for asking
Or No I am not so leave me alone!
Friend: How much longer will you do this job?
Student (poor): One (one what? Is it one year, one month or even one minute?)
Student (good): I will do this job for one more year.
Or I don’t know how much longer I will do this job.
Teacher: When will you come to class?
Student (poor): Tomorrow
Student (good): Tomorrow I will come to class.
Or No I will not come to class tomorrow. Why do you ask?
Teacher: What do you want to do in the future?
Student (poor): Teach
Student (good): In the future I want to teach.
Or I am not sure but I think I want to teach. Do you like teaching?
3. Speak More
If your in class and you have finished you exercise, please do not sit in your chair and say nothing. Class room time is for you to practise your English. Please use this time effectively by finding a way to make more conversation with your speaking partner.
That is, find something more to talk about in English if you have finished your exercise. If you cannot find something more to speak about (in English), ask the teacher for help. Use the class room as a place to experiment with your English by trying out new words and sentence structures. You don’t really know what you know until you try it. And when you need help or advice, ask the teacher.
4. English Diary
Have a small notebook where you can write down lessons you think are important to learn in English. This could be new grammar or new words. Regularly read your diary so you can remember and learn all the important lessons.
5. Flash Cards in the Pocket
Keep a small piece of paper in your pocket with a list of new words you want to learn. When you have time; for example- 10 min in the morning drinking tea, you can review your words. Your new word list is small so it is easy to memorise. I do this for learning new Thai words, and read my new words every day. Once I am sure I know all the words I create a new list.
5. Movie Subtitles
Another good way to improve your English is to watch a Thai movie on DVD with English subtitles.
If your English is good then watch an English movie with English subtitles. This helps very much because you will listen to native English and you can still read the subtitles for when the English is too fast.
6. Have Fun
That’s right, don’t be so serious with your answers. Be creative, have fun with it. For example- if your speaking partner asks you “where do you live?” you could say something like “I live in Chiang Mai but next year I will move to planet Jupiter”.
Why not have fun? English is a learning class, it is not an interview for a serious job in a Hospital.
On a final note, its upto you. A relevant proverb in English is- “You can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink”. Meaning its only you who can decide if you will learn English or if you will improve your English.