Learn English Hub
Every year, over 100,000 students choose to learn a language by taking 1-on-1 lessons with Preply’s friendly tutors. We’ve learned a thing or two about teaching English and wanted to share it!
To help learners like you on their journey to English fluency, we put together this bank of free study tips and how-to guides.
Reasons for learning English (with useful links!)
If you’re learning English, you’re in excellent company. There are 1.5 billion English speakers on the planet, but only about a quarter of them are native speakers. That means, the vast majority of English speakers battled through grammar exercises, vocabulary lists and pronunciation drills, just like you.
Learning English for your career pays off — literally. English speaking professionals often gain higher-paying jobs in global companies. In fact, according to one study, people who know a little English earn an average of 18% more than people who don’t speak it at all.
If you completely master English, it pays off even more: fluent English speakers earn an average of 30% more than nonspeakers! That’s definitely a good investment. If you’re learning English for business, here are some articles you might find useful
✈️To prepare for life abroad
Hundreds of thousands of people move to English-speaking nations every year: some to be with family, others for better job prospects, and a few just to experience a new culture. If you’re making a new life in the United States, Canada, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, or somewhere else where English is widely spoken, these articles will be useful.
Preply was developed because 1-on-1 language tutoring sessions are super effective.
This makes it significantly easier when students have to use what they have learned in real-life conversations. Ready to try it out?
🖋For exam success
Many people need to pass an English test before they can reach another goal. Several world-leading universities require would-be students to pass the IELTS or the TOEFL before they can take a degree. Jobs in industries which are very international set English language entrance tests. Some English-speaking countries require migrants to take an English language test to qualify for residency.
Whichever reason, learning English for exam preparation will give you a focus that will significantly change your study methods.
💬For speaking to new friends
20% of the world’s population has at least some English language skills. Plenty of sociable students learn it primarily to be able to talk with more people! After all, it’s the language of the internet, of international universities and of medicine. If you like to travel, speaking a little English will be helpful wherever you go: those late-night hostel conversations, on adventure tours, and during air travel.
Learning English because you love people? The following links have useful advice for real-world speaking situations.
Are you learning English at high school or college? Maybe your child is learning it at elementary school? Good for you! Several famous studies have proven that it’s easier to learn a language when your brain is young. Work hard now and you’ll experience the benefits of knowing English for the rest of your life.
We have online tutors in more than 50 languages
Preply is one of the leading educational platforms that provide 1-on-1 lessons with certified tutors via the exclusive video chat.
5 challenges of learning English
English can be a tricky language to master! If you are struggling to achieve fluency, there are extremely valid reasons why.
English is a mish-mash of different languages
English is a real language soup. In the 5th century, the people of England spoke a Celtic language. Then they were invaded by Germanic tribes who spoke a version of German; by Normans who spoke a version of French; and by Romans who spoke Latin. Words and rules from all of these languages mixed together to create a new one. After many centuries, the UK invaded half the planet and took this jumbled-up language with them.
Languages from neighboring countries are often similar. German and Dutch speakers can understand each other quite easily; so can Spanish and Portuguese speakers, and Thai and Lao speakers. Due to its confusing origins, English has no cousins — it’s tricky for native speakers of any other language!
English pronunciation is confusing
New words learned in English must be learned twice: first, you must learn how it looks on a page, then how to pronounce it.
Rules about English pronunciation are confusing with many exceptions. “Break” doesn’t rhyme with “speak” but “speak” does rhyme with “freak”. “Food” “blood” and “good” don’t rhyme at all. “Read” is spelled the same whether used in past or present tense, but is pronounced differently in either case! What a nuisance.
English has a very large vocabulary
It’s often said that English has the most words of any language — yikes! Technically, there is no way of knowing whether or not this is true. When comparing languages, it’s surprisingly hard to judge what should “count” as a word — compound words? Plurals? Words that are no longer in use? Slang?
In any case, there are more words in the Oxford English Dictionary than in the official dictionary of any other language: over 200,000! That’s a lot of flashcards…
English has a lot of special grammar rules
There are many special grammar rules in English. And by special, we mean infuriating! The rule about the word order of adjectives, for example, is ridiculously difficult. Descriptive words must be listed in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose noun. A native speaker would never talk about a “furry, black, small cat,” but always a “small, black, furry cat.” What?!
Even worse: every rule has a few exceptions. Many plurals break the common structure of “[singular] + s” (one dog → two dogs, but one child → two children). There are tons of irregular verbs in the past simple tense that do not follow the rule of “[verb] + ed”: the past conjugation of “sing” is not “singed,” it’s “sang.”
If learning English seems tricky, that’s because it is! Feeling frustrated from time to time is perfectly normal, and shouldn’t put you off. Remember that hundreds of thousands of people still manage to master it every year — and you could soon be one of them.
Methods of learning English
We’re passionately convinced that 1-on-1 tutoring is the future of language learning. If you want to learn to speak a language, common sense tells us that the fastest way is to practice speaking it. With 1-on-1 online tutoring from Preply, it has never been easier to find a patient, fluent English speaker to talk to!
You can search our database for the perfect English tutor for your needs, filtering by price, specialisms, accent and availability. There’s a tutor for every budget, with classes starting from just $5 per hour.
Lessons take place over video chat: if you have a laptop or a mobile, the classroom can come with you wherever you go. We have English teachers in several time zones, so there will always be someone available when you want to learn, even if it’s late at night, on the train to work, or during a lunch break. Our expert tutors will correct your mistakes, answer your questions, and encourage you every step of the way. We even have a dedicated English course that you can work through with your tutor, or you can focus on the skills you need personally. In short, 1-on-1 tutoring combines the pace of traditional language lessons with the flexibility of teaching yourself!
Group classes are the traditional method for learning a language. There are language schools in most cities, and many offer a choice of intensive courses or flexible classes for students to learn around work or school. Students get speaking practice, a structured path of learning, and the chance to meet other language learners. Most schools can reliably predict how long students will take to gain their desired level of English skills, which is another plus.
Some students find classroom teaching ineffective and dull, and language schools can be more bad value for money. This said, group classes are a tried and tested way to gain a language. They’ve been used for centuries for a reason: they work!
Language immersion schools
Need to learn English really fast? Got a huge budget to match your huge motivation? A language immersion school might be the choice for you.
These are educational vacations where students spend a few weeks in a purely English-speaking environment. There are intensive lessons in the daytime, but that’s not all. You must use only English 24 hours per day, even if relaxing with other students, eating breakfast or checking social media. No contact with your native language is allowed at all.
Throwing your brain into an all-English situation like this is really tough, but students gain skills fast! Unfortunately, most people who have the money to spend weeks on an immersion course can’t get the time off work, and most people who have the time to sit an immersion course can’t afford it. If you are rich, free and enjoy pain, go for it!
More and more English students are choosing to study without any kind of teacher at all. It’s easy to see why: there’s an incredible amount of resources for learning English available online. There are apps available for almost every aspect of English language learning, from perfecting your pronunciation, to polishing your grammar, to finding partners to speak with. There are many websites where you can gain advice from native speakers for free. There’s also an almost limitless amount of English language content on the internet to “learn” with, from Tiktoks to TV series!
How do I get started learning English?
Learning a language is more than memorizing common words and phrases. But that’s a good place to start! You have to have some basic vocabulary to work with in order to progress to more targeted study methods. Check out the vocabulary section for a bank of common English words and tips on how to learn them!
The number one mistake that holds new English learners back? Not getting any speaking practice! Some students study for months and months and learn plenty of English grammar and vocabulary in theory. But because they never practice their speaking, they still struggle to say a single sentence. Don’t fall into this trap! Try taking regular 1-on-1 lessons with a Preply tutor and you’ll notice progress within weeks.
This content was originally published here.