How to start thinking in English

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To get better at talking in English, you need to start thinking in English.

What does it mean to think in English? It means you don’t need to change words from your own language into English. This makes it easier when you want to say or write something.

When you think in English, talking becomes easy and smooth. You can answer people quickly.

Here are five things you can do to help you think in English:

  1. Say the names of things around you in English

    Every time you go into a room, look at the things around you and say their names in English. You don’t need to talk out loud, but you can if you want to at the start. If you do this a lot, it will become a habit. This is an easy way to make your brain use English more. You can also put small pieces of paper with the English name of each thing in your room.

  2. Think in easy sentences

    Apart from saying the names of things, try to use them in short sentences. For example, if you go into your bedroom and see your bed, you can think of easy sentences like “My bed is white” or “my bed looks soft” or “my bed is big.” You can also start with sentences like “I am”. For example, “I am going into my room.”

  3. Describe something when you can’t remember or don’t know its name

    Think of things that are similar or opposite to describe them. For example, if you can’t remember the word “freezer” you can say “It’s like a box for ice.” Or you can say “It’s a place to keep things cold.”

    Tip: Use an English only dictionary or a dictionary for learners to find new words. Then use to hear and learn how a word is said. Write down five to 10 new words each week. Doing this will make your brain think in English not in your own language. It will also grow your vocabulary.

  4. Do an everyday thing in English

    An everyday thing is a task we do every day, like checking the date on a calendar, or looking at our phones. Try using a calendar in English, or writing your shopping list in English. You can also change the language of your phone or social media accounts to English.

  5. Be surrounded with English

    Listen to music, and watch videos, movies, or TV in English. Try to use English at home when talking to your family. Read English books, newspapers, and magazines a lot. Find a friend, workmate, or classmate to talk in English with every day.

It’s important to remember to do these activities every day. You can write a list before you go to bed. Write what you did and write down the date. This will help you see which activities help you the most. You’ll also be able to see how much you have improved.

Don’t worry if you forget to do them every day. Just keep trying. Seeing your English get better will make you want to keep doing these activities.

You can find more exercises to help you start thinking in English here: How to think in English …in 68 minutes! from Rachel’s English.
Sources: How to think in English, Rachel’s, and Train your brain to think in English, Alice Bryant, VOA Learning English. Accessed August 30, 2023.

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