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    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Estonian
      • Home Country:
      • Estonia
      • Current Location:
      • Estonia

    • Join Date: May 2016
    • Posts: 11
    #1

    What should I do differently to improve my English?

    Hi,

    Firstly, It is nice to meet you all, I'm new to the community and am happy to join it.

    I am a SW programmer, 29 yo.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is native), I'd rank my English level as 7.5 .

    I read books in English regularly, and have spent the last 6 months abroad where I spoke just English.

    Despite all that, my English hasn't improved that much, and remained about the same during the last 5 years.

    The books somewhat enrich my vocabulary, but not by that much, since I tend to forget words I don't normally use (I do normally understand the meaning of the sentence even though there is a word or two I don't know).

    The things that frustrate me about my English level:
    1. I can't fully express myself, as I do in my native language
    2. I keep running into words I don't know their meaning when reading books
    3. I am nowhere near being able to teach English (grammer and vocabulary concerened)

    The reason I write this post to you is to ask for your advice.

    I feel like doing the same thing I've been doing - reading books (and googling unfamiliar words), speaking English with foreign, watching movies in English - won't get my English level from 7.5 to 9.

    What should I do differently to improve my English?

    Thanks a lot!

  1. Charlie Bernstein's Avatar
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • United States
      • Current Location:
      • United States

    • Join Date: Jan 2009
    • Posts: 3,597
    #2

    Re: What should I do differently to improve my English?

    Quote Originally Posted by nat1ve View Post
    Hi,

    Hi!


    First, It is nice to meet you all, I'm new to the community and am happy to join it.

    I am an SW programmer, 29 years old.

    On a scale of 1 to 10 (where 10 is native), I'd rank my English level as 7.5.

    I read books in English regularly [no comma - not a compound sentence] and have spent the last six months abroad, [comma - dependent clause] where I spoke just English.

    Despite all that, my English hasn't improved that much [no comma again] and has remained about the same during the last five years.

    The books somewhat enrich my vocabulary, but not by that much, since I tend to forget words I don't normally use. (I do normally understand the meaning of the sentence even though there is a word or two I don't know.)

    The things that frustrate me about my English level:

    1. I can't fully express myself, as I do in my native language.
    2. I keep running into words I don't know the meaning of when reading books.
    3. I am nowhere near being able to teach English, as far as grammar and vocabulary are concerned.

    The reason I write this post to you is to ask for your advice.

    I feel like doing the same thing I've been doing - reading books (and Googling unfamiliar words), speaking English with foreigners, watching movies in English - won't get my English level from 7.5 to 9.

    What should I do differently to improve my English?

    Thanks a lot!
    Well, your written English is much better than most native speakers'. Feel good about that!

    It sounds like you're doing all the right things. The most important thing you can do is find native English speakers and spend as much time with them as you can.

    Visiting here is very useful to a lot of students. Taking advanced courses or finding a private tutor can also make a big difference.

    How long have you been studying English? We know it's a difficult language. It takes most people many years to become fully fluent.
    I'm not a teacher. I speak American English. I've tutored writing at the University of Southern Maine and have done a good deal of copy editing and writing, occasionally for publication.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Estonian
      • Home Country:
      • Estonia
      • Current Location:
      • Estonia

    • Join Date: May 2016
    • Posts: 11
    #3

    Re: What should I do differently to improve my English?

    Hi Charlie,

    It is wonderful to read your post, and thanks a lot for the corrections!

    I'd love to take advanced online courses, it would improve my grammar and enhance my ability to enhance myself.

    Could you please recommend on such courses, ones that are free and can be taken online?

    From my experience, just talking to native English speakers and reading books didn't improve my English, so I'd need to do more than that.

    Thank you very much.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,903
    #4

    Re: What should I do differently to improve my English?

    At higher levels, it is often harder to see progress. I had my first lesson in Lao today- it's easy to measure progress at lower levels as you move from not knowing something to knowing it. At higher levels, it is often a question of more subtle improvement.

    The kind of course you're looking for won't come free if it's any good. There are lots of resources available for free on the internet, but set courses or just about anything involving dedicated teacher time aren't free.

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