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6 ways to Learn English and Build Fluency that will NOT work!

Here are some of the methods of English learning that I have seen people using, but are never effective:
1.    Dictionary Learning: I had seen a tutor advising her students to take 10 words from English alphabetically and learn them. Learning words from dictionary in an alphabetical order will never, simply because it is only a way to improve the vocabulary, it will not in itself improve your complete language. After doing this exercise for a few days, the students will have a better vocabulary though, but they still will not be able to string the words together to make sentences.
2.    Meetings, talking with other speakers: Hmmm, this works- to some extent. But it has its limits. Meetings, discussion, and chats are actually a slow, error prone process. It might seem to work, but talking about something on your own will take time. Another problem is that you will not be able to clear any doubts that arise. Conversations are really good as long as people with good grasp over the language preside over the meetings. They should be able to differentiate between correct English and bad English grammar and usage.
3.    Grammar Learning: Not everything can be learned through Grammar. Popular expressions and usages need not be grammatically correct. A common sentence like “Long time no see” is utterly incorrect grammatically.
4.    Watching Movies: Movies hardly have true to life conversations. In real life, how often do you walk on the street, with a pistol shouting, “You just don't get it, do you?”More over repetitions of dialogue and conversation will not produce language.
5.    Translation: Translating from and into mother tongue will make you a good translator, not a fluent speaker.
6.    Simulated Conversations: Conversation at the Chemist, conversation at the airport and similar conversations do not help, since you will never be able to create your own sentences.

Don’t get me wrong, all these methods work—to some extent. But they all fail due to one simple reason-they all help you learn existing sentences, but they do not help you to create your own sentences. ALL THESE METHOD WILL HELP YOU TO IMITATE EXISTING SENTENCES, BUT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CREATE YOUR OWN CORRECT SENTENCES.

You may learn some English, but you will never be fluent in English with these methods. In later posts, I will describe how to learn and attain English Fluency using the correct method.

Author: Jims Varkey
-English Quick Tips Page


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Learning to speak English by watching movies: does it really work?

I’ve heard many English gurus give this insane piece of advice: watch some Hollywood flick to learn how to speak in English. But is that so simple. I don’t think so.

 Here is what you can and cannot achieve by watching movies:


1) If you already have some idea about English, your KNOWLEDGE or UNDERSTANDING of the English language can improve by watching movies. You can get a general idea of phrases, pronunciation of individual words and most importantly, intonation.

 2) Your vocabulary might improve a bit- say 10 words per movie. But even an average English class can fetch you those many words. Reading simple articles can give you a much better result.

 3) Common phrases and usages are easy to acquire by watching a movie. Learning that otherwise would require much more time.

 4) You can also understand how the natives use the language and how it is different from the English that we have learnt from schools.


1) Fluency. It will NOT improve beyond a point. Fluency is a …

English Pronunciation Quote

Author: Jims Varkey

Software for online teaching/learning

It is been a while since I took up teaching English online, and often people ask me about the software that I use for communication. While they think of some exotic software, my answer is quite a dull one: Google Drive and Skype.

Why Skype? Why I can't I use any other collaboration/online education software.

Why I give a thumbs up to Skype:
Its popularity: Everyone knows something about it. Skype is installed in many systems to get in touch with their relatives. So, it is not huge technical leap for them.

Skype is intuitive. My borther's 5 year old son uses it to call me. Nothing more to be said on that. It stores chat text, so it is always easier to go back to what you have taught.It automatically reconnects after a break in the net connection.And the biggest advantage: Crystal clear voice. It is very important for teaching pronunciation and intonation.

Now the thumbs down:

It gobbles up bandwidth. Even if you cut the video, which I use only for rare occasions, call dropping …