How to Improve Your English For Free
Posted on January 3, 2019
We often get asked how students can supplement their English classes at their companies and improve their English for free. If you live in London you are already at a huge advantage having English all around you. But how do you absorb all that English effectively? Here are some ideas to improve your English for free.
Use The Media to Your Advantage
The two free London papers Metro and Evening Standard are available at stations even before you go through the ticket barriers. There is also City AM for advanced speakers who want to improve their business English.
Reading is a great way to build your vocabulary and isn’t as stressful as speaking can be. If you know more about current affairs it will enable you to chat with native speakers more easily, as well as understanding more about British culture.
TV and Films
Watch TV and films in English. Like reading, this is a stress-free way to study. Because English spelling often doesn’t accurately reflect a word’s pronunciation (or is entirely treacherous), listening is a great way to improve your pronunciation.
Use subtitles if the accent is unfamiliar, or if the subject is very complicated. Some people say it helps to watch films they have already seen in their own language. Dramas, reality TV or soaps tend to have simpler language.
I always used to love watching makeover videos on YouTube where the presenter tries and reviews different cosmetics and different looks. Recently it occured to me that I could practise my Spanish by searching for makeover videos in Spanish. It’s great! I’m so engaged in the topic that I can watch several without losing my concentration on the language.
Listen to radio programmes in English such as the BBC World Service, which offers free podcasts such as their excellent 30 minute world news podcast twice a day.
Two Top Techniques to Learn English for Free
When you come across a new word in English, write it down. Even if you can’t quite remember it, do your best. If you understand the word you can even write it in your own language and then look the word up in the dictionary later. Keep a little notebook with you to look over on the tube, at breaks at work or at other free times.
Ask for Corrections
Ask your British friends and colleagues to correct your English when you speak in private. British people are usually very hesitant to correct the English of a non-native speaker for fear of seeming xenophobic, so explain that you would really like to improve your English. You may need to insist! Discover how to get people to correct your English here.
Good luck, and let us know your thoughts on how to improve your English for free, too.