Improving your English

Are you looking for improving your English vocabulary to assist in having a better spoken and Written English? This article helps you by providing the steps to improve your English language.

I would like to dedicate this page to Ms. Flora Gonsalves , my English teacher at school. It was Ms. Gonsalves who encouraged all her students to use the dictionary and not just consider it as an additional weight in the school bag! When we got confused with words that had the alphabets i and e, she taught us the simple rule: ‘i' before ‘e' except after ‘c'.
[Examples: believe; receive.]

The first few tips mentioned below were her guidelines.

Speaking in English
* Buy an English dictionary. I still have my Little Oxford Dictionary from school days!

* Read aloud to yourself a section of the newspaper every morning. Start with a simple paragraph in the sports section. Keep your finger below each word as you read it and listen to how it sounds. Underline in pencil words that you don't understand and cannot pronounce. Look up those words in the dictionary after reading the entire paragraph. Check the dictionary's section on pronunciations and look in a mirror while pronouncing, so you can see the correct lip movements. For example, see your lip movements for the letters ‘b' and ‘v'. Then re-read the paragraph and realize the difference between the way you pronounced the words and the correct way to pronounce them.

* Subscribe to an English magazine, such as Reader's Digest and India Today so that you are exposed to a wide variety of subjects and vocabulary. Alternatively, you can hire them from a local library or borrow from a friend or a neighbour.

* Start speaking in English to your friends / family members / colleagues. Do not feel embarrassed if they laugh at your pronunciations. Tell them, instead, to correct you.

* Avoid slang words. For example, we tend to say “Ya" very often; this is ok between friends, but when addressing your seniors, including your parents, teachers, boss, and the like, say “Yes". Similarly, use the formal “Yes, Sir" instead of the casual “Yeah, man".

Writing in English
* Look up the dictionary if you are in doubt about the correct word that you need. Example: many people wrongly use ‘breadth' instead of ‘breath'; the word ‘breadth' is used as a form of measurement, when referring to dimensions, whereas ‘breath' is used when referring to taking in air.

* Avoid short forms, especially in your C.V. Examples: ‘u' instead of ‘you', ‘pl.' instead of ‘please', ‘thx.' instead of ‘thank you', and so on. Short forms are fine for sms messages and emails to friends, but not appropriate for clients, teachers, senior staff, and potential employers.

* Use paragraphs to avoid making your writing look like one long thesis. Paragraphs help to break up what you are trying to convey into coherent passages.

* Every sentence should begin with a capital letter. Also, names (e.g. Dennis), places (e.g. Delhi), and titles (e.g. Dr.) should begin with capital letters.

* Do not use long sentences that will leave the reader literally breathless at the end!

It is not absolutely necessary to join an English-speaking class, but if you do, make sure you are registering at a reputed one. Ask those who have actually registered for such a course. You can always wait outside a class towards the end of their offered course, say after a month, and ask students coming out whether they instructors were really helpful in improving their skills.

Of course, in learning and improving your English language skills, do not at any time ignore your own local language! In fact, you could teach somebody the local language in exchange for lessons in English. This would be a great way to promote our Indian languages.

So, did you look up the dictionary for words that you did not understand in the above article?

For further advice on how to improve your English skills please read:
Improving your English Part II

Article by Vandana
Vandana is based in India with over 15 years experience as a freelance writer. Writing, no doubt, is her primary passion! Having learned the art of blogging from ISC, Vandana is enjoying the thrills of blogging, taking pleasure in sharing information & getting good pageviews at her various blogs.

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Author: Balaji26 Nov 2008 Member Level: Silver   Points : 1

hi vandana
has you have suggested a going through this article its very useful . some i know already and some i don't know

Author: ranganathan26 Nov 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Hi vandana thank you for sharing your wonderful tips for improving english .

No, I did'nt look up the dictionary for words because i can understand all these words.

Author: Radi01 Dec 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

Nice resource Vandhana. Post more like this.

Author: GnanaPrakasam T01 Dec 2008 Member Level: Gold   Points : 1

Wow Good one Vandhana...
really nice tips to improve the English for the beginners..
hats off to you...
continue posting the resources like this.

Author: Phagu Mahato02 Nov 2011 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 1

Thank you Mam for representing very good resource. This is not only a resource of ISC. This is a tip for learning English. In this resource we learned a useful and simple rule: use of ‘I' before ‘e' except after ‘c'. [Examples: believe; receive.] Another example of this rule is achieve.

In the other section of this resource I learned the proper manner of writing and improving English.

Author: Jeet Singh31 Oct 2013 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

I learned new thing today about "i" before "e"; really it was always confusing for me. Reading English magazines really helps to learn faster and it really helped me. I would suggest that initially one should read the kids comics also. The reason is simple: in kids comics you will not have tough words and it is easy to understand the emotions because of the picture. As I believe one who wants to learn English must read kids magazines, specially comics.

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