How to improve your written & spoken English skills

This post is drawn from personal experience.

Over the past 5 years, I have seen a radical improvement in my English skills. My English is not perfect, and you can even point out grammatical mistakes in this blog post. However, my tips will give you confidence and drastically reduce errors.

When I was growing up, I was suggested to read books to improve my English and vocabulary. Somehow, I wasn’t comfortable with books. They are still one of the best ways to improve your English, however, I want to suggest few other exercises which you can do to improve your written & spoken skills, while keeping yourself entertained and gaining knowledge at the same time.

  • Watch American & British TV shows (sitcoms and drama). I’ll suggest a few below. Start watching initially with subtitles, and slowly stop using them. Whenever you encounter a new word, pause the video, search the meaning and then resume watching
  • Read blog posts. Lots and lots of blog posts. Pick any topic (eg. Technology) and start reading
  • Read Wikipedia articles. Make it a point to read at least one long article per day
  • Start a blog and ask your friend who is better at English to correct you. Also proof read your blog post 3-4 times after publishing
  • Start thinking in English instead of your mother tongue
  • Try using complicated ways for explaining simple things
  • STOP using SMS lingo. Write sentences properly. This way you can also improve your typing skills.
  • If you encounter a new word, search for the definition immediately and try to use that new word at least 3 times in that day (tip by Kirsten)
  • Argue with yourself. This may sound funny; pick a topic and start thinking about points which favor it and are also against it. This helps develop your ability to debate and argue
  • Keeping correcting yourself. I begged my friends to correct me whenever I used to go wrong. The best way your mistakes can get corrected is when you are at the verge of making a point in a serious discussion and your friend interrupts you just to correct your grammar. That frustration will correct your mistake forever. Another way to correct yourself is by never getting satisfied with what you have written so far, like this post, where I have replaced words above 10 times before I reached till this point
  • Start using Twitter. Start tweeting and over a period of time, your writing skill will improve
  • STOP using SMS lingo. I can’t stress this enough
  • Don’t force an accent. Don’t try to fake American or British accent.
  • Don’t literally translate your local language to English. People tend to translate their mother tongue to English and most of the times it sounds funny and is equally humiliating. Eg. “You have the tickets?” should be, “Do you have the tickets?” At the same time, stop using local language slangs (like Bob, Raa, Daa, Yaar, etc.). < I will mention some better examples later >
  • Try to use alternate words for most commonly used words. Eg. instead of repeatedly saying “OK”, say “Alright”.
  • Don’t repeat the same word over and over again. It shows your weakness in English and the subject you are talking about.
  • Welcome corrections. In this instance, I welcome the readers to correct my mistakes in this post by leaving a comment
  • Avoid spelling mistakes. This will help build the discipline and will also help you in your career

 

 

-> TV Shows you must start watching:

If you are above 18:

  • Friends
  • How I met your mother
  • Blackadder
  • The Big Bang Theory
  • Modern Family

For everyone:

  • Jeeves & Wooster
  • White Collar
  • Heroes
  • Suits

 

-> How to search for definitions on Google:
Type define:<word>
Eg. define:contrafibularity

-> You can start a blog by visiting http://wordpress.com/

 

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