Don’t waste time – Think in English

man thinkingHow much time do you waste in a day? Have you thought about it before? Most people waste time commuting to work, waiting for people to turn up to meetings, waiting in lines, the list is endless.

Why not use that time to practice English? For this simple tip:

  • you don’t need a teacher
  • you don’t need to buy any special materials
  • you don’t need to download anything
  • you don’t need to pay for anything

So, I bet you are wondering what the tip is. It’s very simple:

Think in English

Think about whatever you want. The important thing is to do it in English. If you are on the train, try describing the other passengers in your head. If you are waiting for a meeting, think about the agenda in English. Wherever you are, there’s always something to think about.

How will thinking in English help me?

First of all, it will help with your fluency. Thinking in one language then translating into another is what makes people have to hesitate and causes unnatural speech rhythms. Once you can think directly using the language you are speaking, your fluency will improve dramatically.

Thinking in English also helps you to discover what you don’t know. If you are waiting for a train, thinking in English and can’t remember how to say which direction the train is going in, you have identified a weak spot in your vocabulary and will be able to work on it later. Knowing what your weaknesses is very valuable because it can help you to focus and make the most of your practice time.

I tried this technique when I was learning Indonesian and I found it worked really well here because people are often late and I had a lot of waiting to do!

What would you like to think about in English?

Today’s photo is by Paulo Correa.

3rd Friday Fun Quiz

writingWow! Another interesting week here at the World of Words. We’ve learnt a lot of expressions related to getting to work, seen how considerate Korean soldiers are, and taken a simple but effective step to improve our fluency. To finish the week, please try taking the third Friday Fun Quiz, complete with an extra bonus question for long-term readers!

Have a fantastic weekend!

A 'fire drill' is:

'Rush hour' is always exactly an hour long:

Speaking slowly helps you:

'Commute' is:

Which of these expressions is NOT a common 'record' collocation:

A 'buoy' is:

BONUS QUESTION - If you meet a badger in a bar, you should offer him:

Today’s image is by Michael Lorenzo.

Make your English sound more fluent – Today!

This is the first installment of my new ‘Tuesday Tips’ series. Every Tuesday, I’ll try to share a simple tip on how to improve your language skills. Some of these are techniques I use with students in class and others are things I’ve found work well when learning languages myself. If you decide to try them out, let me know how they went by leaving a comment below the article.

Many people think that speaking more quickly in their second language will make them sound more fluent. These people are wrong! Speaking too fast has exactly the opposite effect. It makes people sound nervous and unsure of themselves. Have a look at these examples.

First, an example of someone speaking slowly:

Now, an example of someone speaking too fast:

Obviously, the second example is a little exaggerated but I think it makes the point well. I certainly know who I would have more confidence in!

Speaking slowly also has a lot of benefits for language learners, such as:

1. It gives you time to think while you are speaking so you don’t need to hesitate while trying to remember vocabulary or decide how to express a yourself.

2. It means you can concentrate on making your pronunciation clear and accurate.

3. It makes you feel more confident because it gives you time to breathe evenly and relax while you speak.

It’s a very simple tip but it works really well! Try it today and see how much more confident it makes you sound and feel.