Message Sutra: How to hone your English every day

The most natural way to hone your English is to be in an environment where the language is spoken every day. Surround yourself in English. 

Another way to learn by practising the four core skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. They all need to be worked on for you to improve. It can be by memorising, reading, speaking, summarising or other methods. 

Find out how you study best and how you learn the four core skills.

Speaking in English

The most natural way to learn grammar is through talking and you can’t learn English from a book. Like driving a car, you can only learn through doing it. Gather your thoughts. Take a second to think about what you’re going to say. You know the grammar, but maybe you don’t use it correctly when you speak.

Don’t translate into English from your own language. Think in English to improve your fluency. Talk to yourself but not on the bus, otherwise people will think you have gone crazy.

Sing your heart out and show the world your beautiful voice! Learn English songs and sing along with them to improve fluency and intonation, even if it means killing it on the karaoke by yourself.

Writing in English

To become a better writer, brainstorm as many ideas and thoughts onto paper without worrying about grammar or spelling. Then think about the structure. After that, write your piece using good grammar and spelling. Finally, read it through or give it to someone else to check for mistakes.

Keep an eye on your punctuation as it can totally change what you’re trying to say. Check out the difference in meaning between these two sentences: 

  • A woman without her man is nothing
  • A woman: without her, man is nothing

Keep a notebook of new words you learn. Use them in sentences and try to say them at least 3 times when you speak. Do a lesson at least once a day.

You will find words easier to remember if you try to remember an example sentence using that word rather than the word on its own.

Instead, be aware of the differences in American and British English and use your words accordingly. For example, the elevator is American and the lift is British.

Reading in English

Study common phrasal verbs or two word verbs because there are hundreds of them in English and they’re widely used. The more you focus on their meaning, the more you’ll be able to guess the meaning of new ones. Read English text regularly and you’ll start to recognise their patterns.

Listening in English

Use your intuition and go with your gut feeling when you’re trying to understand what is being said. You’ll be surprised how often your first guess is the right guess. Create an atmosphere in which you want to learn, not because you have to. 

You’ll learn more when you’re learning because you want to. Know what works best for you and think about what methods have been successful for you in the past and stick with them. Use English whenever you can. It’s as simple as that!