Hi there, non native English speaker 😄. So you want to speak better English? Keep on reading.
You maybe already know this: the better your English is, the easier it will be to communicate with other and express your ideas. I realise grammar is important as well but the main goal when communicating in English is to get your point across. So this is what we will be concentrating in this article that will help you improve you to speak better English. Here are the three techniques that you can use.
Technique 1: speak better English by watching videos with English subtitles
Maybe you’ve heard of this technique before but read ahead because it has a twist on it. Here’s how to improve your conversational English by watching videos with English subtitles:
Step 1: Play a video (on youtube, for example)
Step 2: Add English subtitles (ask me how to do this if you don’t know)
Step 3: Take a notebook and write down new words
A few is enough because you still want to be able to enjoy the video and not make it a boring chore. If it’s boring, you’ll maybe do it once and then never again.
🔜 this will allow you to develop a habit and to continuously learn without much effort
Read the phrase above again. You will:
- develop a habit (habits are automatic actions we execute without much thought)
- continuously learn (long-term habits and repeated actions accumulate learnings = you will learn a lot)
- without much effort (it will become easy! who doesn’t like an easy way of learning?)Try to understand what the words mean from the context
Step 4: Observe the situation. What is the tone of the voice of people talking, do they seem to be in a fight? Are they happy? All these cues will help you to better guess the meaning.
🔜 this is very important because it will allow you to eventually start guessing better
Step 5: Check the meaning in a dictionary
benefits of this method
The benefit of this technique is two-fold:
- you will establish a positive habit (choose videos you like) that will allow you to effortlessly learn new words
- you will be able to understand the meaning of new words just by context
Again, you don’t have to understand the exact meaning of the word, but you will understand the main message better. This is especially useful when you are in situations when are speaking with a group, and you may miss a word or mishear it. If you use this technique, this won’t put you at a disadvantage anymore.
Technique 2: speak better English by learning new words – expand your vocabulary
For this one you will need a mobile app or a pocket dictionary that you can carry around with you. The technique is very simple. It become more effective when you develop the habit to review new words. Let’s delve into the step-by-step process:
Step 1: First, download a mobile application such as Oxford Dictionary of English: Free
option a: When you download it, click on continue with adds so you don’t have to pay option b: Alternatively, use a pocket dictionary.
Step 2: Learn a word
option a: You can now learn the word of the day OR search for a word that you see in your daily life and you want to understand its meaning
option b: If you are using a pocket dictionary, just open it at random and look at a word or two whenever you have a spare moment (waiting for metro, etc.)
Step 3: Again, try to understand in what context you could use the word
You don’t have to understand the word exactly but do try to understand the feeling behind. Is it a positive word, is it analytical? What is the word describing?
option a: You can save the word in your favorites and review it later.
option b: Write down the word in a small notebook or just mark it in the pocket dictionary
You can always translate words with an online dictionary to have the exact meaning in your mother tongue. However, your English will be better when you start thinking in English even if you don’t understand each separate word. The construction of sentences in French, for example, is not the same as in English. As a consequence, the words could be completely correct but the whole phrase won’t make sense in English. This is why I’m suggesting to use an English-English dictionary.
Technique 3: Learn synonyms and describe better – get understood
Step 1: Start with a word you have a hard time remembering, for example: “exhibition”
Step 2: Use an online thesaurus or the book equivalent (paperback version) to find synonyms or words with similar meaning
The book equivalent just means the book with the title Thesaurus.
Step 3: Write them down and choose those that you think you will remember easier
Step 4: Review them from time to time
Step 5: When you are speaking, you can therefore say “presentation or paintings” instead of exhibition – it is not the most accurate phrasing, but it will allow you to:
- Give a general idea of what you are trying to describe
- Gain time to think of the word you actually want to use – “exhibition”
Step 6: Say something like “I am going to the…presentation of paintings by the artist Klimt. Yes, it is a big show. I believe it is an exhibition in Vienna.”
you made it!
Congratulations 🤝, you’ve just used three different ways to describe the same idea – of an exhibition. The more synonyms you learn, the easier it will become for you to describe better and to speak quicker. This way you will also allow your audience to understand you better. Giving them two or more options means you give them more options to understand the point you were trying to get across.
If you feel unsure or shy, I suggest you talk slower and use short phrases at pauses such as:
“Let me think for a moment.”
“Just one second, I am looking for the right word.” etc.
No one will judge you for this and silence is not your enemy.
Hopefully, these tips helped you to be more confident and more comfortable when speaking in English. You are now definitely speaking better English. Do not hesitate to comment below in case some of the instructions weren’t clear enough or if you need extra information on any or the techniques.
Thank you for reading 🙃.