Do you think you need to improve your English and you don’t know where to begin? Here are 7 aspects of English that you could improve to speak and write with more confidence.
1. Word Order
English is a language with a strict word order. The basic construction is Subject-Verb-Object (SVO). Example:
I ride a bicycle
In this example word “I” is the subject, “ride” — the verb and “bicycle” the object. Putting these words in a different order will make the sentence impossible to understand.
As simple and obvious this is, word order mistakes are common among foreign speakers. The reasons for this are many, the main one probably being that their first language has flexible or free word order.
The most common exception to this rule is use of adverbs. Lets put an adverb in the example sentence above:
I ride a bicycle quickly or I quickly ride a bicycle
Both are correct. If you have doubts about word order in a sentence you make — try googling it.
2. Phrasal Verbs
To go out, to look up, to beat down — all of these are phrasal verbs. It is a short and effective way of saying something. A phrasal verbs is a verb plus preposition construction that can have several meanings. Phrasal verbs are usually considered to be rather informal.
For more info on phrasal verbs check out this related article.
Getting your prepositions right isn’t as easy as it seems to be. Most foreign learners use their mother tongue to guess the preposition that goes with a certain word. Most of the times it doesn’t work. Check this article to avoid most common preposition mistakes.
Collocations are acceptable combinations of words in a language. For example “to run a company” is an acceptable collocation meaning “to be in charge of a company”. You can’t say “to drive a company”, even though it would be a direct translation from a different language.
Get to know this list of common collocations to get the idea.
English articles are very important to understand if you want your English to be natural and effortless. A misused article can change the meaning of a phrase dramatically. Similarly, a missed article can confuse your reader or listener.
Find out the basics of English articles to improve your language confidence.
Now this one isn’t easy at all, but important nonetheless. To have an acceptable skill of English you don’t have to know all twelve of them. But it is important to understand where and when to use Continuous and Perfect tenses as they play a very important role in the language.
Look up the basics of English tenses for a short explanation on most common cases.
Last but most certainly not least comes vocabulary. Enlarging your vocabulary is a lifelong mission each learner embarks on. You should never stop working on your active vocabulary. Remember, ten words learned every day come up to 3560 new words by the end of the year — a figure that is enough to communicate almost any idea.
Check this entry for some tips on how to increase your vocabulary.