You can learn English yourself. What do you want to do?
Problem: “I want to get better at everything!”
Answer: Read, read, read.
The best thing you can do is read. Reading improves your writing. Reading improves your listening, your speaking, your grammar, and your vocabulary. Everything gets better. Seriously. You can read anything you want, but LearnEnglish.BritishCouncil.Org has great stuff for students. Newspapers and books are hard, but really great.
Problem: “I can’t understand people when they talk!”
Answer: Do you know about TED.com? Oh. My. God. This site is amazing for you.
TED.com is an amazingly wonderful fantastic website for getting better at listening. Here’s what to do.
1. Find a video you like.
2. Watch it.
3. Watch it with English subtitles.
4. Read the English transcript.
5. Watch it again.
6. Watch it with subtitles IN YOUR LANGUAGE.
7. Read the transcript IN YOUR LANGUAGE.
8. Watch it once a week until it’s easy.
Problem: “Even though I studied hard, no one understands me when I talk. It’s terrible.”
Answer: Don’t feel sad! Rachel will show you how to speak and EnglishCentral lets you practice online.
First, visit Rachel’s English. She makes these really friendly and easy to understand videos. They’ll show you how to speak better. For practice, go to EnglishCentral.com. The problem with friends and teachers is they understand you better than strangers. At EnglishCentral, you listen to a video. Then you record yourself trying to say it the same. If you do well, you get points! If you do bad? Try again.
Problem: “I neeeeeed more grammar. I wish someone could explain it all to me.”
Answer: Never fear. Here’s a great site and a great book to help you.
Online: Perfect-English-Grammar.com (Seonaid has great explanations and online exercises.)
Offline: Betty Azar grammar books (They’re the best. The red one is easy, black is intermediate, blue is advanced.)
Problem: “My emails and papers and presentations and just everything is terrible. I’m embarrassed.”
Answer: You’ve been studying wrong. Here’s the right way.
Stop studying vocabulary and grammar. Start reading more and memorizing good sentences.
Every day read something and write down 3-5 good sentences. Memorize them and use them when you write. Copy, copy, copy.
If you need a place to practice your writing, you can comment on newspaper articles, blog posts, or start a blog of your own.
Good Websites: LearnEnglish.BritishCouncil.Org (comment on easier stuff) CNN.com (comment on articles). GoodReads.com (comment on books). TED.com (comment on videos). LinkedIn.com (comment on business stuff).
Problem: “But what about BUSINESS ENGLISH???”
Answer: Business English and any other specialized English is harder. We have a solution.
First things first. Sign up for the daily Business English lessons from Stuart Mill English.
Next, you need to find a website about your industry. Start reading articles and commenting on them. Also, search YouTube for videos about your industry.
Here’s an example site and video for Supply Chain Management.
Dictionary and Social Media
“OK! I got it! Anything else?”
Get on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. And use this Dictionary.
Social media is great. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all have English communities you can join. Do it.
And if you need a dictionary, use this one. Stop translating stuff into your language.
Good luck! You CAN do it!