4 Easy ways to boost (improve) your English with TEDTALKS.

Photo Credits: all images belong to TED


  • What is TED?
  • A Brief TED history.
  • What is TED like now?
  • What makes TED so useful for English learners?
  • 4 Easy ways TED can boost (improve) your English level.
  • How to use TED TALKS.
  • My Favorite speaker, talk and why.
  • One last thought.

What is TED?

Ted is a non-profit* organization which holds conferences and talks. It is a community of people who want to share ideas. On the Ted webpage we can watch short talks by experts of their field* on all different types of topics.

Vocabulary  *non-profit = they don’t make any money from it. *field = subject, area of expertise.

A brief* TED history

TED, which originally stood for Technology Entertainment and Design, started in 1984 with a conference. In 1990 in Monterey in California it became an annual* conference. It began covering* many more topics like science, philosophy, music, business etc…

TED developed over the years with an extending organization, with podcasts*, TED Global (conferences all over the world) and a TED prize. In 2006 they began posting* the talks online and up-dated* their website.  The first 6 talks posted online reached over 1 million views* in only 4 months!

Click here to see what the first 6 talks posted were, and to watch them if you like.

Vocabulary  *brief=short. *annual=yearly, once a year each year. *covering= talking /writing about .*podcast= a video or audio recording which you can download via iTunes. *posting online= putting on the internet and making it public. *up-dated= made it more modern.

What is TED like nowadays?

Ted has over* two thousand talks available to watch online, not only in English but also in other languages. They hold conferences all over the world. The speakers are always passionate about their topics and are great examples of public speakers giving perfectly structured presentations.

Vocabulary  *to have over 2,000= to have more than 2,000.


What makes TED so useful for English Learners?

  • Every talk has subtitles in English or other languages!
  • There are transcripts* which you can read as you listen.
  • You can hear topic/theme related vocabulary used in context. And you choose the talk and the context you are interested in.
  • The speakers use different registers* – neutral, semi formal, formal.
  • The talks are interesting! Especially if you choose one you think looks interesting for you.
  • The talks are usually shorter that 19 minutes.

Vocabulary  *transcript= everything they said written down. *registers= degrees of formality.

4 Easy Ways Ted can boost* / help your English level


Obviously watching and listening in English will practice and develop your comprehension skills. Depending on you level you may want to watch with your own language subtitles – which is fine, because you are still listening in English and developing your audio skills. Or you could watch with English subtitles and pause* occasionally if you need to or if you feel confident you could try without subtitles!


The interactive transcript permits you to see written down what they are saying and highlights* where they are in the  text. This is great because you can learn new vocabulary which may be general or related to the theme of the talk you’re watching.


Hearing natives speakers of English using prepositions etc… in natural speech is great for learning the usual collocations of verbs and prepositions and whether to use the infinitive of a verb or the verb + ing etc…  Perfect for helping you fill in* those gap fill exercises and multiple choice questions in written English exams!


In these talks the speakers use more formal, polite language which will help you become accustomed to a different register* and help you start using it more naturally when you need to, for example at interviews in English or for work situations. Generally in the comedy series we all love they use language which is more informal and perhaps colloquial.


Vocabulary  *boost= make better, push upwards.  *pause=stop the video for a moment. *highlight= make a part of a text more visible, noticeable.  *fill in= complete.  *register= degree of formality.


How to use TEDTALKS


First go to the webpage.

Click here to go to Ted.com

Have a look at the menu and decide if you would like to see:

-play lists TED Talks created,

– see a recent talk,

-look at the list of different topics they have

-or type a word onto the search bar to see if there is anything related to what you feel like seeing.


When you click on a video you want to watch you will see the symbols for subtitles and transcript on the lower right of the screen. Click on which you prefer and select the language of your subtitles if you want to use them. The interactive transcript comes up when you click on it.


Click here to go and see this Tedtalk! About getting better at the things you care about.

My favourite speaker and talk and why


One of my favorite speaker was Monica Lewinsky. She gave a great, insightful* talk on cyber-bullying and also her experience of it. It made me think and gave ways to take action against Cyber-bullying by showing compassion.

Click here to watch her talk on Tedtalks

Vocabulary. *insightful= it lets us know how something happened and how it feels.

Photo credit- All photos belong to TED TALKS

One last thought 

When do I watch Ted talks?  While I am having breakfast at the weekends.  They are the perfect length of time!  During the week I watch comedy or the series Sex in the City with my breakfast 😆

Take advantage of your breakfast time to watch a short interesting talk in the mornings!

Thanks for reading! I hope this article has been useful for you!

If you have any comments or questions please leave them in the comments below and I will get back to you.

Subscribe to not miss anything that your English needs!

See you soon,



About Kim Griffiths

Hello, I'm Kim. I'm a qualified English ESL teacher with a CELTA A qualification and I have over 25 years of experience teaching English to non-native speakers. I love teaching! I also write about English, sing jazz, paint and make things.

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