How to learn English

  • Tutorial

One one hand I don't want to be the final authority, but on the other hand, I'd like to share my point of view on how to learn English. The English language is not secret knowledge; it is just a lot of hard training. One of the most important bullets is constantly improving English. You should do it from day to day if you want to approach result. It must not loathe torture for you, It means that you should find out something interesting in that process.

Let's begin

Vocabulary, grammar, reading & audition are possible to train at home without a teacher. It depends on your patience, determination & systematicity. Let's go to tools.

  1. Vocabulary:
    • It is a great service with good enough web user interface & mobile applications. I use it for improving passive vocabulary (from texts & videos).
    • However, some persons prefer Anki or quizlet.
    • Dictionaries:
  2. Audition: (without subs!!!):
  3. Speaking:
    • I don't sure that it's possible to really improve your English, However, you can try to catch English pace & word stresses.
    • Sounds American — how to pronounce.
  4. Reading: just read. I found out that it's really easy to read Harry Potter.
  5. Grammar:
    • On one hand, has some grammar courses, but on the other hand, it's not enough.
    • You should write a diary, it might be a private diary.

This tools will not help you if you do nothing with it. If you work hard then few months or years later, as a result, you should have big enough passive vocabulary & be able to understand the English voice. The main idea of that stage is that you must do something constantly every day & it should be interesting for you.

Show must go on

At the next stage, I suppose that you would like to improve your speaking. First of all, you should convert thoughts into English speech(not translate!!!). How to deal with it?

  1. You have to read, read a lot, really a lot.
  2. You should write, i.e. private diary. You can use grammarly for checking your texts.
  3. Speak.

Q: Is it possible to speak English without speaking?

A: No.

Well, you can read & write at home without help, but for speaking you must talk. There are some services for that, i.e. preply, skyeng, italki, etc. From my point of view, at the beginning you don't have to speak with a native speaker, it's ok just talk with somebody with C2 level.


How to learn continuously? It's a sophisticated question. I use something like GTD/S.M.A.R.T.

  1. Goals have to be Specific Measurable Assignable Relevant Time-based:
    • I will read Harry Potter book to the end of the current month.
    • I'm listening English made simple podcast №100 during today commute.
  2. I don't have enough time for that. Don't be a lier.
    • You commute by subway – do X tasks at lingualeo.
    • You go to walk with children or cycle – listen to podcasts.
    • You cook dinner — watch extr@ English.
  3. Don't wait for a result after 1 week/month, don't compare yourself with another, just learn.


No pain, no gain.

English learn story

When I was in primary school, I visited a private English coach for a year or two. However, there were no major results. A bit later, there were English lessons, when I was in secondary school, unfortunately, I was not really good in English learning. As a result, when I had graduated from school, I heard that grammar exist, could not talk at all, was able to read with a dictionary. When I was studying at a university, I had been involved in IT, so I started to read IT docs in English. Sometimes, I used to do it with a dictionary.

Just before I graduate, I had applied for international IT company. It was funny & frightful. I had to talk & chat with workmates during the day, so my English was improving forcedly & sharply. i.e.

  • My workmate stay with me & my during week or two.
  • I visited the UK by a car.
  • I called to DataCenter & talked with Indian support.
    As a result, I finished English intermediate course in 2011. However, I decided to resign in 2012 and applied for a new job without sufficient English practise.

In 2017 I applied for an international IT company and started an intermediate course again… On one hand It was strange because I finished it 6 years ago, but on the other hand, I finished it without any major efforts. However, I've been doing English tasks myself. i.e.:

  • I read books(I've read 10 books(all Harry Potter, DevOps handbooks etc) since last year).
  • I write articles/docs(not really a lot, but it is).
  • I listen to podcasts, watch movies without subs.
  • I learn online with a native teacher.
  • I used to spend about 20 hours per week for English learning.

How to estimate your level

One of the bests ways is to go to an English school, usually, they can estimate your level for free before a course. However, there are a lot of online tests:

The main problem is that there are no free online audition tests.

Only registered users can participate in poll. Log in, please.

What is your level of English? (CEFR)

  • 10.0%A17
  • 11.4%A28
  • 40.0%B128
  • 12.9%B29
  • 14.3%C110
  • 7.1%C25
  • 4.3%Native3

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Comments 17


    Thanks for the article!
    I would add "turn off autocorrection in your smartphone". Autocorrection kind of turns off the brain and you learn much more without it

      It's a sophisticated question. On one hand, you are right, but on the other hand, how to find an error(s)?
      How to learn English on English… Okey)

        why not? It's good opportunity to learn ;) Also, I wrote Russian version, but it is out of date…

            From my experience, I dare say some native Englishmen (sorry, Englishpersons) do need to learn English.

            I found out that Puzzle English contains many possibilities to improve listening comprehension skills. At least they have:

            • audio-puzzles: they are real-world-scenario sentences that were pronounced by several native speakers in a really simple way: not too fast, fluent (it's important), legible. It's one of the best tools for the start.
            • video-puzzles: they are just videos (small episodes from movies, shows, also some youtube movies, TEDs, etc) where you can watch it and assemble all the sentences from them by yourself in the follow-up stage.
            • master-phrase: it's just a game. They are thousands of small video cuts which you can replay as much as you want to and you're supposed to assemble the sentences word-by-word. These videos are mostly from cinema, TV series (e.g. Game of Thrones), youtube shows. In comparison with the previous point: master-phrase game provides a small sentence from the video, not the whole video itself. So you can hear and train to understand many accents, voices, situations and a short term. To be honest I use mostly this tool for my last 4-5 months because I find it out as the best audition tool ever.

            One note about lingualeo. It has a very nice dictionary application and not-bad browser extension. They have really awesome grammar training. Also, their game-RPG-based system encourages to learn English again and again, day by day. But their audition training is completely shitty.

              From my point of view, lingualeo is good enough for a1->b1. I bought lingualeo premium, because of sale. In general there is no major difference between tools.

                Actually I have B1-B2 and I use Leo as Anki :) Sometimes I do their grammar exercises. Almost all my learn-time I spend on audition in PuzzleEnglish because I find the listening comprehension skill at the most tough one. The one is supposed to spend 3+ hundreds of hours to understand native-to-native speech without efforts. And Leo cannot help with it. Also almost all their new exercises and features are bullshit. I wrote them about it several times, but they didn't fix or improve anything. It seems that they changed their policy or management.


                  I faced approximately the same issues. However, I chose an other ways:

                  • I write articles & documentation, some times I publish articles. It helps to improve vocabulary, fluency & grammar.
                  • I buy hours at preply for improving pronunciation.
                  • I'm preparing ansible course for foreign colleagues & speech for meetup.
              Disclaimer: this is an attempt to criticize not the author or the content of the article, but rather some of the grammar issues that might hopefully help someone, who is attempting to learn the language on his/her own, to avoid such mistakes.
              Based on my personal experience
              Even though this article lists all the benefits of your way of learning English, it is also a great example of the downsides of such an approach. I would like to recommend you — and that comes from the personal experience — to pay a little bit more attention to the articles and prepositions. Those are very difficult to memorize and learn to apply correctly. I often make tons of mistakes like that and, honestly, I need to write and then read the same sentence at least once to spot all the missing articles. For some reason, when I write, I do not notice such things, but when I read, the majority of the incorrect prepositions and missing articles just make the sentence sound completely off. It is just screaming in my head like when you hear someone playing off-key. For instance, «Let's go to tools», «The English language is not secret knowledge».
              And then there are incorrect verbs like in «I don't sure», «You go to walk».
              Anyway, what we all face (or have faced) at some point is that you cannot simply take a sentence in some other language and translate it into English, word by word. You do so — you get something like «Dumb as a tree» and «understand the English voice»
                Thank you for your notice.
                Need the same about Spanish
                  exactly the same ways…
                  What about dictionary extension for browser? I think, internet reading's simpler to read, than book reading, cause u can consume a bit information lots of time. I've tried to read for my daughter, but she always starts crying. I think, my pronunciations is worse, than she wants. :)
                    I use lingualeo extension only.
                    Leo's and puzzle's grammar lessons are pretty good, but you should try engblog. As for me they are much better if you repeat topics on a regular basis. They explain in short and easy way why you should use the rule and where it can be used. They also have a great variety of mixed tests like 'Present Perfect vs Past Simple' in addition to the topic tests. The only downside of engblog is that they use Russian to explain everything.

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