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How to Improve Your English More Quickly


As an English instructor, I'm often asked what the quickest way to learn English is. Because I speak conversationally fluent Japanese but have only lived in Japan for about 4 years, people assume that I learned Japanese relatively quickly. So when I tell them that I've been studying for more than twenty years, they tend to react with surprise and sometimes disappointment. The disappointment comes from realizing that achieving fluency takes a long time. But the fact is, I know people who speak better Japanese than I do who have studied for a shorter time. Meaning, learning a language is less a matter of time than of effort.


With that in mind, let me offer a few suggestions as to how you can learn English faster.


Tip one: absorb as much content as possible. Because native speakers are constantly immersed in their language from birth, they passively absorb tons of information. As a non-native speaker, you have a lot of catching up to do. The good news is, there has never been a better time than now to surround yourself in English content. From Netflix to YouTube to thousands of smartphone apps, there are endless opportunities to expose yourself to English. So it's important to take in as much content as possible, even if you don't understand it. Try listening to the news in English or an English podcast while doing other activities like cleaning, cooking, or driving.


Tip two: watch English content with English subtitles. That way, you can both see and hear English at the same time, and you can re-watch the content until you understand it.


Tip three: don't be afraid to make mistakes. Unlike subjects like math and science, language can only be mastered through human interaction. And because daily interactions are inherently unpredictable, you are sure to make mistakes. In my experience, the people who learn a language the fastest are also the ones who make the most mistakes.


Tip four: study phrasal verbs. A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, such as “brush up” or “look up”. Even if you know the meaning of the words "brush", "look", and "up", you would never guess that "brush up" means to polish your skills, or that "look up" means to research something. There are hundreds of phrasal verbs that are used in daily English, so learning them will instantly improve your English.

第四のコツは句動詞を覚えること。句動詞とは、動詞と前置詞の組み合わせです、たとえば「brush up」と「look up」。「brush」と「look」と「up」をそれぞれの意味を知っていても、「brush up」は「(言語などを)磨く」、または「look up」は「調べる」という意味になるとは予想できないでしょう。日常会話に用いられるphrasal verbは何百ありますので、少しでも覚えたら英語力が一躍上達します。

Lastly, studying English should be something that excites you. If studying English feels more like a chore than a hobby, perhaps it's not for you. I often tell people that yes, Japanese is hard, but it's fun precisely because it's challenging. If you feel the same way about studying English, you'll be able to continue even when it's difficult. Good luck!





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