In this article I want to give you three ideas to improve your English. They all start with the letter b.
One of the basics of English is grammar.
Grammar is important to let people understand exactly what you want to express, whether you want to say something about the future, the past, present, phrasal verbs, prepositions etc… Most students of English make little mistakes, even if they’re quite advanced. But if we study these things we can help to remove these mistakes. I really recommend the book ‘English Grammar in Use’ by Raymond Murphy. I think it’s the best book for studying on your own (buy the edition which has the answers at the back of the book). The result of studying a lot is that you have more knowledge and then you can try to practice it, even alone when you think about things.
I recommend you try either this book or the advanced book. There is even an app you can get on your phone or
your tablet to study anywhere.
2) The Beatles
My second idea is for you to listen to music and hear the lyrics. The lyrics are the words. This way you can understand the context, you hear vocabulary in use, you get used to listening to different rhythms of speech, accents and you improve your general listening skills.
I recommend the Beatles, the group. One reason for listening to their music is that it’s great, in my opinion, and the second reason to listen to their music is that they sing very clearly. It’s very good to listen to their music perhaps on youtube where they have the lyrics written on the actual videos. To find these – when you are in YouTube write the song name and ‘lyrics’ in the search bar. Don’t click on the karaoke ones, unless you want to sing.
Any songs are good to practice listening as long as they sing clearly.
My third idea is books – with that I mean reading all different kinds of reading.
I don’t necessarily mean reading only books. Articles, comics, graphic novels – anything. When you read you see the verb tenses in use, phrasal verbs, vocabulary, the normal collocations – for example, when we put merry for example with christmas and not merry birthday – that’s a collocation. When we see these in books etc… by accident almost, we take in/absorb that information – that’s a really strange way to say it! But when we read, if we enjoy it (and it’s not a tiring, boring piece of writing), we can learn a lot without concentrating on so many things. When you don’t understand a word try to guess the meaning from the context and then forget about it!
If you find, on a page that there are more than five new words for you then probably that book is too hard for you. Try counting the new words on a page in the book store or in the sample pages available online before you buy a book. If you want to read a book but you are worried about the level you can buy graded readers which are edited to make them more appropriate to different levels.
Let’s go back over these three ideas.
The last thing I want to tell you is:
“An expert in anything was once a beginner.”
That’s a quote by Helen Hayes and it’s good to remember when you feel “Oh! I’m never going to learn… oh, I’m terrible at English!” But everybody when they start something new has to learn, study and be consistant, and that way they will progress.
Thank you for reading this article. I hope you’ve taken one of these ideas and are going to try it. Why not put in the comments which of these ideas you’re going to try or more than one.
Come back next Sunday for a new article to help improve your English!