We all know how important it is to know English these days. Very often, however, we do not have enough to keep it in practice because of our hectic lives. Well, from now on, you’ll have no excuse to put your English in a corner a forget it. In fact, you only need ten minutes a day to practice the most beautiful and useful language in the world.
In this article, I would like to give you five tips on how to practice your English every day for five to ten minutes without any “friction” because sometimes you might think that you need to practice English but you’d rather do other things, like clean your apartment or go to the grocery shop and you forget to practice your English. It is important, though, to keep it alive.
These tips worked for me as a student and I know that they also work for many people who have little free time during the day.
Tip number one: Comment on blogs
Blogs are a mine of information. The May part of the blogs cover a variety of topics and not only allow you to expand your knowledge and increase your culture but also allow you to learn new vocabulary and interact with other people in the comment section. This is amazing because English blogs are typically visited by people from all over the world which means you do not have to be afraid of making mistakes because no one is there to judge you since many people who comment on blogs are not English native speakers. So, every day before you go to bed or whenever you want, read articles, learn new words and interact with people in the comments. Interacting is particularly important because the most common problem in English is that you understand what people are talking about, but you cannot reply. In this case, discussing about the topic of a blog’s article means that you are working not only on your written English but also on your spoken English because you are learning how to structure your thoughts when you are replying to something.
Tip number two: Use Google calendar
Google calendar is something that I have discovered when I came to the United Kingdom. I was not really using it when I was living in other countries. In Great Britain almost everyone is using Gmail and Google calendar and there is a good reason for that. It is very easy to sync oneself with other people (for example, by inviting them to meetings). What I suggest doing is starting Google calendar and writing everything down in English.
I used to plan everything in a book but the problem with using a planner is that if you forget it somewhere or if you are traveling and you don’t want to take it with you, you can miss appointments. With Google calendar this cannot happen because it sends you reminders, so it is very convenient. Moreover, it is another way for you to practice English because you are managing your calendar in English daily.
Tip number three: Talk to yourself
Before you go to bed spend two or three minutes trying to remember everything that happened during the day. For example, you woke up, you made eggs for breakfast, you called your mum, you went to the office, then you trained at the gym, you had dinner and watched a movie.
Do this memory exercise in your head in English talking to yourself instead of writing it down because it is almost the same as you were talking to somebody else.
Tip number four: Read lyrics of the songs you like
If you think that if you are advanced and you should understand everything, I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong. Even English native speakers do not understand every single word, especially in rap songs. A couple of months ago I was in a car with my best friend, who is 100% British lovely girl, and we were listening to “The real slim shady” by Eminem. Those of you who have already listened to this song will agree with me if I say that it is very hard to understand what the singer is saying. Even my friend admitted that she couldn’t get a word.
Since I love that song, what I decided to do was to open the lyrics and read them a few times to get some words and meaning that I didn’t get before. If you do the same, the next time you hear the song you will understand the overall meaning and most of the words. So, my advice is to choose a song you like every day, then go through its lyrics, underline words that you don’t know and pay some extra attention to them when you hear the song again. In this way you will improve your listening very well and you will enjoy the song even more.
Tip number five: Do your grocery shopping lists in English
When I came to the UK, I thought that shopping in the supermarket would be very easy. I was wrong. When I saw ground beef, I thought that it is organic beef, but it can actually be non-organic since it is just the way this meat is processed. Another time, I asked my Russian flatmate to get me some passionfruit juice because I was sick and could not go to the grocery shop. The problem was that in Russia they say maracuja instead of passionfruit so he could not find the juice since he was looking for maracuja juice. So, when you use a dictionary to translate words, see what the most common translation in a specific country is. By writing the grocery shopping list in English you will learn new words about food and shopping as well as practise reading and writing, and it takes less than five minutes.
As you can see, you just need a few minutes to practice English every day with very little effort. Do you and your language exchange pals manage to speak, read or write in English daily? How much time do you spend practising this language? Write your answers in the comment section below!
Written by: Martina Sassi, Staff Writer