Some helpful tips － 几个有用的提议
1. Be curious and inquisitive
As discussed above, when reading (or hearing) some new words and/or phrases, make it a habit to ask about the meaning and/or usage; or if no one is available, write it down and then check it out later. In addition, with the rapidly growing popularity of web
access in China, it is also very easy to find the meaning/usage from the web
2. During initial stage, nearly everyone learning a foreign language would need time to translate in the mind, whether it be reading, writing, listening and speaking. The most important is that this “time” should be reducing as time goes on, indicating improvement
in the language skill. An interesting point to note is that this should happen unconsciously, like learning to swim or ride a bicycle… at first, one is conscious of drowning or falling, but after a while, after more practices and mistakes, this should not
even be a concern.
3. Due to the popularity of computers, a lot of people now choose to “practice” their written English on a computer using word processing software that will auto-correct spelling and grammar mistakes, hence usually with little or no improvement. And sadly,
many people of English origin (western) had also come to rely heavily on these tools, especially the new generation, hence with terrible spelling and grammar skill.
It is not realistic to NOT use these tools, because for most “office workers”, word processing software is a part of their daily life. So one possibility to work around this issue is to practice “writing” without a computer, or avoid using the word processing
software, for example both NotePad and WordPad do not have spelling and grammar check.
4. Get as many opportunities as possible to practice
a. This particular web site has many different forums and articles in relation to learning and improving English:
There are also some useful tips on this next web site, which suggests meeting new friends from abroad to exchange “languages”:
b. One particularly useful way to improve “listening” skill is:
i. Listen to the audio recording
ii. Write down what was heard, replay the audio recording if necessary
iii. Compare it against the original text of the audio recording
iv. If not 100% correct, repeat steps (a) to (c) to try again
Many commercial products are designed with this method in mind, hence packaged with both audio (tapes or CD) and text. There is also a huge volume of material readily, and freely, available from the web, that can be used with this method, for example commercial
web sites such as http://www.imakenews.com/TheLinguist/ has a lot of short text with MP3 file to download.
c. Internet chat room and Instant Messengers such as MSN, Skype and QQ are actually great for practicing “conversation” English (via the keyboard), especially when the other end is willing and able to help with any correction of spelling and grammar.
However, many IM and chat room users (western or otherwise) demand conversation-like responses, i.e. “quick”, hence typing the complete word/sentence is less favorable than the use of abbreviations, such as:
i. “88” = “bye bye” – commonly used among Chinese and Asians
ii. “r u” = “are you”
iii. “cu” or “c u” = “see you”
iv. “2” = “to”
v. “4” = “for”
Just because this is common and accepted, by certain standards, it is by no means correct. Therefore, make it a habit to NOT use abbreviation, maybe except when:
i. the abbreviation is considered standard English, e.g. TV (television), A.D. (“Anno Domini”) and B.C. (“Before Christ”)
ii. the abbreviation is used to express feeling, e.g. “lol” means “laugh out loud” – but this is NOT proper English and should not be used in business document
d. Practice Englis