Tips on improving your English

Article reviewed: 2013/02/04 | Next review due: 2014/08/23

Until you actually arriving in London, it’s easy to overestimate your level of English. After studying the language for many years in college, high school or even university, it is easy to think that you should be practically fluent in English. However, most new arrivals to London all have difficulties with one aspect or another of the language, so here are some tips to help you improve your English!


First, read the newspapers. When you take public transport you will see a number of free newspapers such as Metro, the Evening Standard, London Lite, Shortlist, etc. Enjoy your journey with free English papers, even though the level of reporting may not be up to the standard of The Times or Le Monde. The vocabulary is simple and full of typical English expressions and idioms.

Additionally, weekend newspaper editions offer full papers complete with a number of weekend supplements for just £2.Buy the Guardian, the Times or similar and you’ll have enough to read for a week. The level of these newspapers is stronger in terms of language, allowing you to expand your vocabulary and usage every day.

Become a chatter-box

Then, try to speak English as much as possible. Whilst it’s true that it is easier to socialise with people from your own country, putting in the effort to make English friends will challenge your English and you will improve much faster than if you were to spend most of your time speaking your native tongue amongst friends.

If you find it difficult to meet English-speaking people, sign up for conversation evenings. In these conversation meet-ups, native English speakers seeking to improve their foreign-language skills converse with foreigners seeking to improve their English skills. The result is a healthy exchange of conversation amongst people who are happy to help and correct you, and vice versa. You can see these requests for ‘conversation partners’ advertised on gumtree and the great thing about them is that they are completely free! Just arrange for a meeting in a café or pub, taking turns to speak in English or your own language, whilst also making new friends in the process!

When you're struggling to remember everyday words, or if you live in a house with a number of different nationalities, you write the names of everyday objects on the items, or just stick a post-it on it with it’s name. This way, you will have the word under your nose every time you use it, and you’ll soon remember the names for all those forgettable items.


Finally, you can also improve your English by watching television. Using subtitles, you can learn the exact way of saying many words and phrases. You can learn expressions and also hear the pronunciation of words, phrases and so you learn faster with intonation and accents - many expatriates have been living in London for years and still watch TV with the subtitles on.

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