Whether you want to learn English as a second language (ESL) or need to improve your language skills and vocabulary as a native speaker, you have come to the right place. LearnALanguage.com is your ultimate destination to learn English in a way that's enjoyable yet extremely effective.
To learn English fast, learners should combine a variety of learning styles and different approaches, including audio training and listening comprehension, vocabulary expansion, reading and grammar exercises to ensure you are proficient in advanced structures of the English grammar, including the gerund, sequence of tenses, and more.
English Idiomatic Expressions
Today, let's unwind as we boost our vocabulary and learn English with idiomatic expressions and phrases that often leave non-native speakers confused. Here our top 10 favorite English idiomatic expressions, their meanings and examples of how to use these idiomatic expressions.
|Phrase||Eat, sleep and breathe something|
|Meaning||To be very passionate about something that you think about it all the time.|
|Example||My daughter is into music. She eats, sleeps and breathes r'n'b.|
|Phrase||Blood, sweat and tears|
|Meaning||Something that requires a lot of effort and hard work|
|Example||His career isn't based on luck; he worked his way to the top with his blood, sweat and tears.|
|Phrase||Raring to go|
|Meaning||To be extremely eager to do something|
|Example||My son loves football. He's raring to watch the next game.|
|Phrase||Hang on by fingernails|
|Meaning||To continue to do something in a very difficult situation.|
|Example||The situation remains critical after the earthquake as the survivors are handing on by their fingernails waiting to be rescued.|
|Phrase||First out of the gate|
|Meaning||To be the first one to make a start at something.|
|Example||I was the first one to be out of the gate when I started driving to school.|
|Phrase||Have one's heart set on|
|Meaning||To possess a determination to obtain something.|
|Example||I've had my heart set on getting into Harvard for years.|
|Phrase||Punch above one's weight|
|Meaning||Perform beyond your ability.|
|Example||He was punching above his weight when he volunteered for this project since it was too complicated for him.|
|Phrase||Sink your teeth into|
|Meaning||To do something with a lot of energy and enthusiasm.|
|Example||As Jennifer started practicing yoga, she sank her teeth into her practice.|
|Phrase||Cut to the quick|
|Meaning||To hurt someone deeply, to offend them.|
|Example||Charles was cut to the quick when he was accused of stealing from his family.|
|Phrase||Bee in one's bonnet|
|Meaning||To carry an idea which constantly occupies your thoughts.|
|Example||She has a bee in her bonnet about finding a job in fashion industry.|
Improving your English listening comprehension
Have you been in a situation when you know that you speak the language well enough to understand the conversation, but somehow you have trouble catching it as you listen? This may be partially explained by the accent of a person speaking (if you're used to American English, then listening to the British or Scottish accent may be understandably challenging). But sometimes the accent is not a problem – you just don't understand what you're hearing. Linguists call this diminished listening comprehension, and this is how you can improve it.
Tips for improving English Listening Comprehension
- Try to speak with native speakers as much as possible
- Make it a habit to listen to English language TV or radio in the background.
- If you're stuck at your desk at work, make the best use of YouTube videos, online TV streaming and other internet-based resources in your earphones. Remember that you can listen to news on websites like CNN or Huffington Post.
- Listen to music/songs in English. It's a great idea to print out the lyrics and follow the words for a few times until you can understand the words clearly as you hear them.
- Try to listen to the language in different accents. American English, British English, Irish, Australian English, or even Hinglish (the variation you'd hear from Indians, with the strong influence of Hindi) – the more you listen, the better your English listening comprehension gets. The more you listen, the better your listening comprehension gets!
- As you listen to different accents, beware of the dialects and regional slang you may come across. While it's a great way to expand your vocabulary, be sure that you know when and how these words and expressions should (or should not) be used.
Tips on Learning Grammar
English grammar is tricky for ESL learners and native speakers alike. Improving your English grammar to the point of perfection is crucial in making your English perfect. This is the level you need to speak English with confidence in public, write formal letters and be perceived as a professional – no matter which line of work you’re in. Here are some tips on learning English grammar:
- Make a plan and select quality learning materials as you cannot approach the grammar randomly.
- Prepare to memorize: some things, like irregular verb forms, simply need to be learnt by heart. Don't worry, it will get easier and you'll be approaching them more intuitively as you progress.
- Understanding is crucial: As you memorize, also make sure understand where each grammar construction comes from. As you think of it, English grammar makes a lot of sense, so once you understand the logic behind it, learning English grammar will become easier.
- Repetition is key. Remember elementary and middle school and how you had to do similar grammar exercises over and over again? Doing this with English grammar is a good idea. Once you have become familiar with a concept or a topic, do at least 20 examples of sentences/ grammar forms for this topic. There is a variety of English grammar exercises, workbooks and guides available online and offline, so making use of them is a great idea.
- Don't be afraid of making mistakes: getting a verb form wrong is perfectly normal, this is part of learning, and the more you speak and practice, the faster you will improve your English.
- Make a plan and stick to it: in our busy lives, it is easy to get sidetracked and caught up in other things, more urgent that your English language learning goals. Yet, it's crucial that you stay on track. If you have a 45 minute English grammar session scheduled, put it on your calendar, set up reminders on your devices, and make it happen! Try not to postpone your English classes to the weekend, as you might get too many things you would need to catch up on.
As you learn English, keep in mind most common mistakes made by foreigners.
Most Common English Grammar Mistakes:
- Punctuation: so called comma splice, or run-on sentence
- Pronoun errors
- Apostrophe usage mistakes
- Lack of Subject/Verb Agreement
- Misplaced modifiers
- Definite and indefinite article errors
Summing up, when it comes to learning English, or any language for that matter, it is important to be consistent in your learning process, set up a realistic plan that you'll be able to follow in the long term, and surround yourself with English materials every step of the way. You can start by reading an English version of your favorite magazine: if it’s not available as a print edition in your country, you can still find most magazines through their online versions and apps which can be installed on your smartphone or tablet. This is an affordable, convenient and - last but not least – green way to study since you'll be opting for a digital copy instead of the print one.
Browse our website for more information and be sure to share your feedback as you learn English!