It is not easy to improve English as an adult but if you use immersion methods you can improve English faster than any other method. In this article we will explain in great detail what immersion based study methods you can use to improve English learning faster and take your communication skills to the next level.
We have will talk about improving English in 4 parts. Pronunciation, Grammar, Vocabulary and Conversation.
First let’s look at pronunciation
I’m sure most English learners agree that pronunciation is one of the hardest things to improve in English. However, everyone agrees that if you don’t improve your pronunciation, no one will understand what you are saying.
Here are 10 examples of how to improve English pronunciation through immersion.
Listen to English being spoken on a regular basis as often as possible by watching television programs and films. There are many different television programs and films to choose from using a variety of different English accents – whether British English, American English, Australian English or Canadian English. Choose a television programs or series or film on a topic of interest and then progress to different films and television programs.
Listen to English news – for example the BBC World News. Concentrate on correct pronunciation of the English being spoken. This is a superb way to listen to native English speakers and improve English speaking.
There are several English learning apps which can be downloaded to your mobile phone. Some are free to download (for example Duolingo) and for some there is a small charge. These apps are very useful as you can use these apps for 10 – 15 minutes per day at a time to suit you and which help with pronunciation, listening and speaking.
Practicing tongue twisters is a great way to improve English speaking and pronunciation. Start saying these tongue twisters slowly and then repeat saying each tongue twister slightly more quickly. Some examples of tongue twisters are as follows:
She sells seashells by the seashore.
A sailor went to sea sea sea to see what he could see see see but all that he could see see see was the bottom of the deep blue sea sea sea.
I thought a thought of thinking of thanking you.
I have got a date at a quarter to eight. I’ll see you at the gate so don’t be late.
There are many more of these tongue twisters which you can using the internet and which practice certain sounds of the alphabet.
Practice reading books and newspapers in English. Start by reading easy English books and then as you practice progress to intermediate books. Also practice reading out loud from these books. Read shorter newspapers and magazine articles to being with, then as with books, progress to intermediate articles. Listen to talking books. The more you read, the better your vocabulary will get!
Sing along with songs you know in English. This can be done at home or in the car if you are listening to the radio without the embarrassment of singing in front of friends. This is a cool way to improve English while having fun.
Join a club whether a sports club or a social club with friends who also want to learn English. This will give you the incentive to do an activity while you improve English. Keep a note of all new vocabulary you learn together with the meanings of these new words. Choose a different topic to talk about each time you meet.
Want to learn more about starting an English club? Read this post
Buy a good English dictionary which will help teach you the meanings of all new words you learn and which also helps you with English pronunciation. These dictionaries will show you how to break each word into syllables which shows you how to pronounce all new words you want to learn. If you want to improve English investing in a good dictionary is a good idea.
Join an online program, like Spoken English Practice, and speak two or three times a week with a native English speaker who can help you with your pronunciation together with helping you with new vocabulary on a variety of topics. We will discuss some interesting conversation topics that you can use in Spoken English practice classes.
There are many YouTube and podcast channels to help you with your pronunciation. Try and listen to clips on a very regular basis – daily if you can. There are many videos and podcasts you can download to help you – start by choosing topics of interest and then progress to more difficult topics.
Practice saying all new words you have learnt in front of a mirror. Repeat all new words you learn very regularly. Listen to the intonation and pitch of the English speakers. By listening to spoken English as many times a week as you can manage, you will immerse yourself in English pronunciation. Watch yourself repeating these words in a mirror together with recording yourself and listening to your pronunciation. Practice makes perfect. The more confident you become the happier you will be to speak with native English speakers. Confidence is the key to improving English fast.
So, let’s move to grammar and how immersion based study methods can help you improve English grammar.
There is always a balance when learning English as to how much grammar to learn compared to learning to speak English. There is a certain amount of grammar which will be needed to help you to be able to talk in English fluently.
However, at Spoken English Practice, we strongly discourage students to memorize grammar rules. If you only focus on grammar rules, you will not improve English naturally. Learning English will get frustrating and you will give up. You will lose confidence to speak in English, which is the most aspect of learning a language.
So what are some most important grammar rules to know when learning English, specially speaking:
In English, every sentence which is written or spoken has a subject. In other languages a subject is not necessarily needed so it is very important to remember to use a subject when speaking (and writing in) English. Here are some sentences with the subject underlined:
I have an essay to write tonight
He is thirsty
She wants to be a vet when she grows up
The children are hungry
It will snow this weekend
We are going to the cinema this weekend
You should watch the new television series titled Victoria and Albert
They are going to the beach tomorrow
The shop will have a sale this coming weekend
The boat arrived in Athens last Monday
Nouns refer to places, events, people and objects. These nouns refer to what we speak about in each sentence we say. Here are some sentences with the subject in underlined:
I want to have a dog
He would like to eat a piece of cake
He can see the doctor now
She likes to look at the moon
We will visit the cinema tonight
You will go to the airport on Friday
Let us visit London this weekend
They will see the film tomorrow
Adjectives are used to describe nouns and are always placed next to the noun they are used to describe. Here are examples of adjectives which are underlined:
The red car is parked on the opposite side of the road
We enjoyed the spicy curry
The large dog was very gentle with the children
The cold weather kept the children inside yesterday
He took off his filthy coat
We could hear the deafening sound as the windows were open of the passing train
The annual party was a great success
The modern building looked out of place
Several people came to visit her
Every night we will leave at 8 pm
The exhausted child fell asleep as soon as they arrived home
The famous actress is due to arrive in the next 30 minutes
The wrong document was given to you
The sparkling sun shone brightly in the sky
The high tree blocked our view
We enjoyed the nutritious meal
The colorful outfit could be seen by everyone at the party
Verbs are ‘doing’ or ‘action’ words and examples include the following:
To do To see To watch To make To cook To begin
To go To travel To run To eat To build To come
To walk To catch To throw To swim To play To break
To meet To fly To drink To visit To race To teach
To be To have To sleep To laugh To pay To view
To show To wait To move To wake To clap To manage
Adverbs are used to describe verbs and are always placed next to the verb they are describing. These adverbs end in ‘-ly’). Here are examples of adverbs which are underlined:
I skied slowly down the mountain
The sun was shining brightly this morning
It snowed heavily yesterday
He was shouting loudly
She smiled broadly when she won the prize
We quickly left the room
You silently entered the building
They were running quickly
It is very important in both talking and writing to be able to convey actions or events which are happening now, in the future or in the past. This is an important grammar concept to know if you want to improve English and take your skills to a native proficiency level. Start by learning the 3 simplest tenses and here are some examples:
I will be going on holiday on Saturday
He will watch the football match tomorrow evening
She will cook dinner for us on Friday
It will rain on Thursday
We will go swimming in the sea on Sunday
You will visit France next month
They will run the London marathon next April
I am walking to meet you now
He is playing in the sand
I play the piano
She is swimming in the swimming pool
It is cooking in the oven at the moment
We are travelling on the train at the present time
You are waiting to see the doctor
They are visiting their parents now
The temperature now is 22 degrees C
The sun shines
Simple past tense:
I met her at the party last weekend
He swam in the swimming pool yesterday
She came to see me last Sunday
We watched the sports match
You saw her last night
They visited the London Museum on their recent trip to London
I drank a cup of coffee with him last Friday
He became President last year
The film started at 8 pm
He began his talk by giving an introduction on future plans for the firm
Remember the clue to answering a question is listening to the question which you are being asked
Question: Are you going to the park?
Answer: I am going to the park or I am not going to the park
Question: Can you speak French?
Answer: Yes, I can speak French or no, I cannot speak French
Question: Is it forecast to rain today?
Answer: It is forecast to rain today or it is not forecast to rain today
Question: Can you play tennis?
Answer: No, I cannot or can’t play tennis or yes, I can play tennis
Question: Will you email me your answer later today?
Answer: Yes, I will email you my answer later today or no, I will not email you my answer later today as I am busy
Prepositions are a group of words that describes the position of an item or a person. The usage of prepositions can be confusing as they can be used in different ways to give different meanings. It is very important how to use these specific words both when writing and when speaking English. These prepositions include the following words:
In To Into Next (to) Over Above Under With Before After Through At
With On For By Across Up Down Between For Along Throughout Among/amongst
Here are some examples of the correct usage of prepositions. Pay close attention to these if you really want to improve English.
The train will leave at 4 pm
Put the book on the table
The dog is sitting under the tree
You will find the pen next to the telephone
Walk across the bridge to reach the other side of the road
The train will pass through the tunnel
Amongst the papers you will find the one you are looking to find
These are the most important grammar concepts that are needed to improve English overall and specially speaking skills. These suggestions will also help you with your writing in English.
So we have covered Pronunciation and Grammar now. Let’s look at vocabulary.
Have you ever noticed how Native English speakers use words that you never see on English textbooks? This is because most English textbooks are out dated. If you are in an English class that only teaches from old textbooks, you will never learn real English.
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If you want to improve English speaking and become truly fluent in English, you must spend time learning slang and idioms that are used by real Native English speakers.
To make things easier for you, we have created a list of top 20 slang words American English speakers have been using in 2018.
“Buck” refers to a dollar bill. If a student is talking about money, they will often refer to dollars as bucks. For example, if I want to borrow money for a coffee, I’d say: “Hey, can I borrow 3 bucks?”.
Someone who enjoys leisure and rarely leaves their couch is called a couch potato. The term is typically used to goodheartedly poke fun at a friend.
This expression refers to someone who is focused on reality and practical matters. The opposite of someone who is down to earth would think theoretically and fantasize about unrealistic dreams.
College students will often lightheartedly speak about a person who drives them up the wall. This expression explains a person who drives you crazy or annoys you, though not to a very serious extent.
This expression is heard commonly on campuses. If a person says something or someone is “for real”, they’re saying that thing is serious or honest. For example, when asked if someone is telling the truth, they’ll often respond: “I’m for real!”.
When two people “go Dutch” on a date, they each pay for their own meal and activities. Going Dutch is a common practice among college students who are low on funds.
Giving someone a cold shoulder means ignoring them. Typically, “the cold shoulder” is given to someone who has been offensive or belligerent.
This expression is used as an adjective to replace excited. Someone who is hyped about something is simply excited.
Someone who needs to lighten up is usually stressed or too rigid. Lightening up is similar to relaxing but speaks to the recipient’s psyche more than their physical attributes.
If something is a piece of cake, it is especially easy, able to be handled with no effort.
Slang for break up. To dump somebody is to end a relationship without much thought or emotion.
This expression refers to the development of an addiction or habit. For example, when speaking about a growing affinity for Starbucks coffee, I might say: “I’m getting hooked on Starbucks coffee!”.
Though this phrase originated on the internet, it is used commonly on college campuses. To fail epically is to do something especially badly. For instance, if someone attempts a skateboard trick but accidentally falls down, one may say it was an “epic fail”.
Most commonly heard in college gyms, “getting ripped” is the process of building muscle. Friends will often propose a trip to the gym by asking, “want to go get ripped, bro?”.
Not to be confused with the previous expression, getting “ripped off” is always negative. This expression refers to an event in which one is scammed or taken advantage of, normally financially.
When someone gives away information that is supposed to have been kept secret, it’s called “spilling the beans”.
This is a more complex expression. “Quarterback” is a position in American football that is responsible for throwing the ball and deciding what formations the players will utilize. Most American football games take place on Sundays. The phrase “Monday morning quarterback” was originally used to describe someone who criticizes the way a quarterback played the day after the game. However, the expression is not used to describe anyone who criticizes action that was taken in the past.
The passenger seat of a vehicle is often referred to as “shotgun”. Therefore, if someone wants to have the passenger seat, they will often “call shotgun”.
This is the process of staying awake all night, typically to study for an exam. Students will often take about how they “pulled an all-nighter” to prepare for a test or write a paper.
This is an acronym for “fear of missing out”. College students will occasionally self-diagnose a case of F.O.M.O. This means that they have a fear of missing exciting activities, often interfering with academic performance.
Try integrating some of these expressions into your conversations to sound just like a native English speaker. Even if you don’t know how to use these slang words in real conversations, knowing these is important because that will help you understand what a native English speaker said.
Now to come to the last part of this really long post! We have covered pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. All those are important. But if you want to improve English truly, you must learn to speak English fluently. The only way to do this is by having real conversations.
If you can find a Native English teacher to practice speaking, that is the fastest way to improve English and speak with the perfect accent. But if you don’t have access to a native English speaker, don’t get disheartened. Practice with friends. Start an English speaking club. If nothing works, speak to yourself (when no one else is watching!)
How many in your family? Do you have sisters, brothers, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins?
Where do you live?
Have you always lived there and do you enjoy living there?
Where did you go to school?
What were your favourite subjects?
Did you go to college or university?
What did you study?
What job do you do?
How long have you been with your present employer or are you self-employed?
What does your job involve?
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years’ time?
What different types of weather can you name?
Which is your favourite month and why?
Which is your favourite season?
Do you prefer cold winters and hot summers or a more even climate throughout the year?
Which cities and countries have you visited?
Which was your favourite city and country and why?
Where else would you like to visit and why?
Name different types of different.
Which is your favourite method of transport?
Why travel change in the future?
Name as many animals as you can.
Which is your favourite?
Do you or have you had a pet?
If so what kind of pet did you have?
What are your favourite foods?
Do you cook?
Do you like a healthy diet?
What are your favourite fruit and vegetables?
Do you often go out to eat in restaurants?
Do you have a favourite restaurant?
Is there an excellent restaurant near where you live?
Why is it important to eat healthily?
What are examples of healthy and unhealthy food?
Are men or women equally concerned about eating well?
Do you enjoy shopping?
Where do you go shopping?
Do you ever shop online?
Do you enjoy watching television?
How much television do you watch per week?
Are there any good series that you have been watching recently?
Do you enjoy watching films?
Who do you watch films with?
Which are your favorite films?
Do you watch films at the cinema or do you watch them on television or on Netflix, for example?
Can you name any great actors and actresses?
Do you enjoy reading?
What kind of books do you like reading the most?
How much time to you have to read?
When do you listen to music?
What kinds of music do you like?
Do you know the words to any songs?
Do you enjoy going to the theatre?
Do you prefer seeing comedies, romantic films, action pact films or thrillers?
How often do you go to the theatre?
Do you play sports now?
Did you play sports at school, college or university?
Which sport would you like to learn?
Do you watch sport on the television?
Do you prefer team sports?
Do you watch the Olympics?
How often do you stay in hotels?
Do you have a favorite hotel?
What is your opinion of hotels?
What makes a good hotel?
Do you wear a wristwatch?
Are you a punctual person?
How important is time to you?
Do you deal in businesses with countries in different time zones?
What are your thoughts on technology?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of technology?
Can mobile phones ruin relationships?
What could be the next developments in technology?
What job do you do?
Do you enjoy your job?
How much do you know about the financial business sector?
Do you have to work over-time?
Do you have to work at week-ends?
Do you have more than one bank account?
Do you use internet banking?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of internet banking?
What are some of the most serious environment problems facing the world today?
What can individuals do to help the environment?
What can governments do to help the environment?
Will houses become more environmentally friendly in the future?
What do you understand by global warming?
Can we stop global warming?
How will global warming change our lives?
Are we doing enough to try and stop global warming?
How important is learning about planets and space?
Can you name the planets?
What do you know about the planets and space?
Is space travel worth the cost?
What is media?
Do you believe in the media?
How is today’s media different to the media of 20 years ago?
Do you watch or read any of the advertisements on the television or in newspapers or magazines?
Do you believe the advertisements?
Is advertising worth the cost?
Why do firms advertise?
Are you interested in fashion?
Do you follow the changes in fashion each season?
Do you look at the season’s colors?
Which shops are the best for keeping up to date with the new fashion?
What is housing like where you live?
Do you live in an older house or apartment or in a new build?
Do you prefer older or modern architecture?
How much do you know of your country’s history?
Does history repeat itself?
Can we learn from history?
Should we all be entitled to freedom of speech?
What do you understand by freedom of speech and is it important?
Why are friends important?
Are you still in contact with friends you met at school or university?
How do you keep in touch with friends that live in different parts of the world?
What is pollution?
Can we stop polluting the world and if so how?
What is foreign aid?
Does foreign aid help?
Are you interested in politics?
What is politics like in your country?
Is it compulsory to vote in your country?
Do you drive?
Do you own a car and how often do you use your car?
What do you understand by justice?
What are our rights to privacy?
Can you name natural disasters that occur throughout the world?
Have you seen a disaster movie?
Is voluntary work a good idea?
Have you done voluntary work?
What do you know of the European Union?
What do you know of Brexit?
If you want to improve English and become a fluent speaker, you must move away from traditional learning methods and really focus on immersing in the English language. This is the fundamental principle we use at Spoken English and we know this is the fastest way to improve English in the long ru