Seven Common Mistakes While Learning English

Seven common mistakes when learning English

Seven common English-learning mistakes to avoid and the best English-learning method to start making progress!

Have you spent years studying English without making much progress? Are you looking for the best method for continuous English learning that will allow you to improve quickly?

Almost every English-learning method makes the same promise, that "you will learn English quickly and for free, without effort, easily, like children do!". These are promises they cannot keep. Don't forget that fake promises only work on those who hear them, something any politician knows all too well.

Now, let's cut to the chase, in this article we will debunk the bad English-learning methods so that you don't waste your time.

Disorganized Learning:

Do you ever learn random vocabulary and grammar? By knowing cat one day and hypercholesterolemia another, you are not following a logical pattern. Learning the difference between who and whom though you haven't yet mastered the Present Perfect won't be of much use to you.

Have you focused on reading without knowing enough about pronunciation? Learning a language without reading, just by speaking, is a recipe for disaster. Because English is a living language you have to immerse yourself in it! Focusing on spoken language is not only relevant, it can be liberating.

Every good English-learning method should have a structure that you can follow to get to your goals quickly. There is a natural order that we must respect. Consider how a child acquires fluency in his or her own native tongue. She learns spoken sounds first. After that, she'll focus on written composition. We learn spoken language first, and only then focus on writing. When it comes to vocabulary, we need to prioritize the most commonly used English words and then, the rarer vocabulary that we don't necessarily use on a daily basis. For grammar, you must first master the basic structures and only then move on to more advanced ones.

Learning Everything Through Text:

Text, text, and more text! In school, you may have tried to learn by stuffing your mind with terms and language that proved useless for communication. If that sounds familiar, don't make the same mistake when learning English on your own.

If you only imagine how words are pronounced instead of actually knowing it, you risk ending up with an understandable accent in English. And if you develop bad pronunciation habits from the get-go, you'll have a much harder time getting rid of them later.

This point is related to the previous one. The English language is not phonetic, words are not pronounced the way they are written. That is why you should not focus too much on the written version.

OK, let's leave the text aside for a moment. Add audio to your studies! With the internet, it's super easy to find the correct pronunciation of words and you can even choose if you prefer the American or British standard. Here are some useful resources:


On these websites, you have access to phonetic flashcards, which will allow you to learn exactly how words are pronounced. The most popular system, the one we use at Click and Speak and on this blog, is IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). If you still can't read it or need some help, you can check out our interactive infographic!

The way to learn to pronounce correctly is very simple. When you learn a new sentence, think of it like music. Pay attention to timbre, rhythm, stressed parts, and articulation. Don't neglect these aspects, because by working on the sounds in English, you are also working on your pronunciation. This is the only way to learn to speak clearly, and also eventually achieve a near-native pronunciation.

Practicing English only once per day:

Human memory is not perfect, it deteriorates. Our brains are not designed to remember everything, they are designed to understand what seems unimportant to them. This is why we can sometimes find it hard to remember things we learned hours, minutes, or even seconds ago!

How can you avoid forgetting? By regularly reviewing new information, we reinforce it. If we keep seeing a word over and over again, we're going to remember it better than if we see it once. That is why it is better to practice English several times a day as opposed to only once. With multiple study sessions each day, the information stays in our brains.

You might be thinking - "But an hour a day learning vocabulary is better than nothing, right?" Sure, but it's not an effective English-learning method. , whereas if you use a full-day training program with regulated intervals between sessions or a distanced repetition system

Attention, you no longer wasted your time learning vocabulary to review it again, simply because you waited too long.

I stress the importance of revision and revision. Even a few minutes a day is better than nothing! Review vocabulary on the subway, on the bus, and even in the bathroom... Dedicate time throughout the day. It will be more effective and lasting.

Getting bored:

Boredom is the enemy of concentration. It is hard to learn things without focus. If you feel bored while studying English, you can be sure that your method is not well adapted and will not bring you the desired results.

Most of the time, especially in school, the curriculum focuses mostly on grammar - Past perfect, Present Perfect Continuous, and Future Perfect ... These subjects aren't exactly exciting, are they? When people try to learn through self-study methods, it can be really challenging to find appropriate material that suits their current level.

How do you avoid boredom and keep language learning fun?

Thankfully, English is all around us! Enjoy one of your passions in English. There are lots of resources available and this will allow you to make studying an enjoyable experience. Tailor your search to your interests. To improve your reading comprehension, choose internet articles or books that you are curious about. Depending on your listening comprehension, movies, TV series and podcasts are rich in vocabulary and will allow you to practice English everyday.

Do what you love to do, but do it in English.

passive learning

Although I just said that watching movies or TV shows is a good way to improve your English, you absolutely shouldn't say to yourself - "Well, I spent 3 hours watching Netflix, it's going to improve my English." enough to make". No, this method is very passive. If you do this on your own, it will not bring you effective results, because you will do nothing but listen to the information, which often happens very quickly. You are not directly involved in the learning process, which explains why you don't memorize much.

To avoid this, focus on more active methods of learning. Engage yourself in the learning process through activities such as discovering, analyzing, communicating, creating, thinking about, or using new information.

While watching movies, podcasts, and TV series are good for improving listening skills, they are not enough by themselves if you want to speak English fluently. To learn to speak English in real life, you need to learn specific tasks such as writing, speaking, thinking. In short, you need to prepare yourself for real life scenarios that require the use of English. Don't hesitate to fully engage your brain in the learning process!

learning words without context

Do you learn individual words without context? Have you ever wondered why you can't use them in daily communication? Do you ever try to remember book and to run one after the other? You are really wasting your time.

Memory works powerfully through associations. If you study words out of context, meaning it's impossible to make connections between them, it's ineffective for your memory and makes learning English even more difficult. The worst thing you can do is study them in alphabetical order... you'll just confuse everything!

On the other hand, having words that are related to semantics plays an important role in a good English-teaching method.

Know the words that go together, that you can use together, jointly... and they will reappear together, ready to serve you whenever you need them. For example, learn the words rabbit , hunter , rifle at the same time with the sentence The hunter aimed his rifle at the rabbit. Your English-teaching method should teach you vocabulary in context.

no inspiration

If you try to learn fifty words every day and are torturing yourself with grammar that isn't even relevant to your level, take a step back to think about your approach to learning English. Are you sure you don't dislike English yourself? Be careful, because it will destroy your motivation.

As a polygamist myself, I know what a devastating effect a lack of motivation can have. It, along with boredom, is the worst enemy of concentration.

Learning a language works much better when it's fun! In that case, it is a wonderful adventure that opens new doors and gives you new opportunities. Without motivation, you won't remember what you're studying, and you won't want to start again. So, you are wasting your time.

On the other hand, if you prefer the "extreme" method we just mentioned, great! everyone is different. Of course, there are going to be some things that work for you but not for others.

For those of you sinking deeper and deeper in the throes of demotivation, don't panic! your method

Try changing or adapting your language and remember the reason you decided to learn English in the first place. Never forget what your ambitions are and never give up on your studies. You've already come this far! It would be a shame to stop improving now.


In short, what are the bad ways to learn English?

If you are...

disorganized learning

learning through text only

Practicing English only once per day

feel bored while studying

passive learning

study words out of context

not feeling motivated

... then you definitely will not have quick and effective results.

Thankfully, the solution to these problems is presented to you in this article! :) These methods are not revolutionary, you just need to work smart and be patient. There are certainly others on the Internet, such as the famous method of learning English in your sleep, but I'll leave the English-learning scams for another blog post!

Stops working, so, go go! Read more: the best way to learn to speak English fluently

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