How To Keep Improving Your English at Higher Levels

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Do you feel the way you use English is good but not as good as you’d like it to be? Does it feel like you’re not making as much progress as you used to?

The same happened to me. 

When I got to a higher level of English, everything slowed down and it felt like I was not advancing anymore. 

Yes, I could communicate quite well and make myself understood. Yes, I could participate in conversations and understand others, native speakers included.

But I didn’t feel 100% happy about the way I used English. There was still something I hadn’t mastered that made me think that my English was somehow incomplete.

Do you feel the same way? 

Maybe you’d like to use more idiomatic language instead of always using the same old words, or it might be that you can’t build sophisticated sentences. Perhaps you can’t come up with the most accurate word when having a conversation and get stuck. 

For me, my Italian accent and relatively limited repertoire of expressions were the two main things that kept me awake at night. 

I wish I’d known this little formula: 

further progress = specific problem + focused practice

Translated, this means that if you’re not very specific about what you want to improve, you can’t direct your focus towards specific action that will help you make further progress.

You’ll be likely to waste your time doing things that won’t actually contribute to the achievement of your goal in any considerable way.

Let’s say you want to be able to write longer and more expressive sentences. 

Great, this is a very specific goal. 

What would most help to accomplish it, participating in general conversation classes or spending time analyzing beautifully crafted sentences you’ve come across in a book that you like? 

You know the answer.

So, hone in on 1 area you want to improve and stay laser-focused on that only.

Want to grow your vocabulary? Make this your sole priority. Everything you do must aim at growing your vocabulary. Forget about pronunciation or grammar. 

So, if you know you’re going to have a conversation in English, set yourself the goal of coming out of that conversation with at least 1 new expression.

Watching a movie? Set yourself the goal of having at least 5 new expressions noted down by the end of it.

Direct all your actions and energy towards one single language goal.

Proudly ignore all the rest.

This is how to keep making progress at more advanced levels.

Any comments? Please send your thoughts in the box below and wait for my reply.

Fabio Cerpelloni is an easy-going English teacher who helps adult learners speak better English through personal storytelling classes and book discussions. You can join his private email list by clicking on his glass of beer in the photo.

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