When you’re a non-native English speaker looking to improve your English, there are many different things you can do and resources you can use to strengthen your reading, writing, and speaking skills. Yes, you might have to “fake it” a little till you can make it, but with practice comes progress! Here are seven tips from the grammar experts on how to improve your English when you’re a non-native speaker.
1. Swim in a sea of speech (i.e., immerse yourself in English).
Read books (aloud), and watch TV shows and movies in English. Anything you would do or watch in your native language, do it in English. Being exposed to English, especially colloquial English, and seeing and hearing it used in conversation will help you improve your English. Try to immerse yourself in the language daily, as the more you see and hear it, the more ingrained it will become.
2. Take notes.
While reading books and watching shows in English, take notes! For even more active learning, write down every idiomatic word and phrase—be it slang, jargon, or dialect—you come across. This will make it easier to remember such expressions and help you learn how the language is used day to day. In addition to referring to your do-it-yourself dictionary, use an actual dictionary (such as a Merriam-Webster pocket dictionary) to learn the meanings of words you don’t know.
3. Practice makes perfect.
While you’re becoming comfortable with reading and writing in English, it’s also important to practice speaking. Whether with a friend, tutor, or teacher, it’s imperative that you practice speaking the language and become comfortable with having conversations in English.
4. Be a grammar geek.
Use Scribendi.com’s GrammarCamp to improve your English grammar. This comprehensive online course allows you to learn at your own pace in your own space. It will teach you the rules and nuances of English grammar, which—combined with reading, writing, and speaking in English—will greatly improve your knowledge of the English language and your ability to understand and use it.
5. Write it out.
Practice writing as much as you can. Writing goes hand in hand with reading and speaking in every language, and you must practice all three to really improve your English and learn to communicate like a native English speaker on all levels. You can write anything you want: a note, a letter, a book review . . . anything that piques your interest and helps expand your vocabulary!
6. Go pro.
Use a service like Scribendi.com to have native English speakers review your work. Not only will they make corrections to your documents, but they will also make comments and suggestions to explain why certain changes were made.
7. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Improving your English should be fun, so don’t worry if you make mistakes. After all, as the English expression goes, “You can’t make an omelette without cracking a few eggs.” So take it in stride, use your resources, and embrace the challenge.
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