Improving your English language skills may seem like an overwhelming task, but it’s important to remember that this is something you can improve over time. No matter what level of English you are currently at, there are ways to improve, and some ways are easier than others! Here are 10 quick tips to help improve your English language skills that can be done on your own time or in the classroom, alone or with friends. They’re all simple and relatively easy to accomplish if you set aside some time each day or week to work on them and stick with it!
1) Limit TV Time
TV time is a huge time sink, explains Dr. Berzin. If you have 10 minutes of news, you’re probably spending 20 minutes watching and fast-forwarding and rewinding. And then you have 15 minutes of commercials before your show starts. That doesn’t count DVR-ing shows or pausing live TV and recording that for later viewing. If you want to improve your language skills quickly, keep TV time at a minimum—or eliminate it altogether.
2) Take A Class
Learning a new language can be challenging, but it’s also super rewarding. One of my favorite ways to learn something is to go out of my way and find a class I can take. Not only do I improve in one particular area (like conversation), but I also get exposed to other ideas I wouldn’t have thought about on my own. Plus, you get all sorts of job-related opportunities, like networking!
3) Practice With Apps
Apps make it easy to keep up with your language learning without being bogged down by cumbersome workbooks and dictionaries. By practicing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills daily with these interactive tools you’ll soon find yourself picking up new vocabulary and grammar. Head over to your app store for a shopping spree! Don’t forget: Practice makes perfect!
4) Read More
Reading is one of the most effective ways of improving your English language skills. It allows you to see what native speakers do with words, and it gives you a better understanding of how idioms work. The more articles, books, blogs and other reading materials you consume in English, and that means consuming them in your target language (i.e., in English), not just translating them into your mother tongue, the better your skills will become!
5) Set Weekly Goals
Each week you should set weekly goals. This will help you make a steady progress towards your overall goal of improving your language skills. Setting goals will keep you on track and in a positive frame of mind, as well as give you something to look forward to at the end of each week. Make sure your weekly goals are specific and measurable, so that you can easily determine whether or not they’ve been met.
6) Establish A Routine
Establishing a routine is one of the simplest ways to improve your learning curve. In fact, it’s easier than you might think: Simply find some time every day (or at least every week) when you can devote yourself completely to your studies, then sit down and get cracking! For an extra boost of motivation, treat these sessions like exam prep—pull out all your study guides and flash cards, then put in as much time as possible until you run out of steam.
7) Look For New Opportunities
Networking is one of those skills that can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s really just about looking for opportunities to make connections with people who might help you out along your career path. You might meet a person at a professional event, chat up an acquaintance during happy hour or talk with someone on social media. And yes, that means following up and remembering names!
8) Write Out Grammar Rules & Definitions
For native speakers, it may seem as if certain grammar rules are common sense. But in fact, many rules are not obvious, even to people who have been speaking a language for decades. For instance, some rules only apply to certain kinds of sentences and others can be overridden by particular contexts. Know your grammar inside out!
9) Join An Online Discussion Group
Online discussion groups are also a wonderful place to meet like-minded individuals and get some insider tips on practicing your language skills. Try Googling online discussion groups for [language] learners and look for active ones with at least a few hundred members. Once you join, remember to post about problems you’re having and offer helpful answers or insights in return! This is an easy way to practice a little bit each day—and talk to others who might be where you are now.
10) Use Short & Simple Sentences
Simplifying your writing will allow you to convey more information in a shorter amount of time. Sentences that are too long can be difficult for your reader to comprehend, so short and simple sentences will help make sure you’re being clear. However, try not to overdo it; having some longer sentences can keep your writing interesting and dynamic. Also, avoid using multiple commas in one sentence; they make it seem like you’re being overly wordy.