6 Things NOT to Do When Learning to Speak English | RPI College

1. Don’t Be Embarrassed to Speak

There is only one way to learn how to speak English, and that is to open your mouth and speak English! You can make excuses for why you don’t want to speak, like saying that you’re too embarrassed to speak, but these won’t get you any closer to your goal of achieving English fluency. It doesn’t matter if you have a small vocabulary, or if your pronunciation isn’t perfect. The only way to improve is to open your mouth and speak.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of Making Mistakes

Another thing you shouldn’t do when speaking English is to be afraid of making mistakes. Nobody speaks perfect English. Even native English speakers make mistakes. The only way you can avoid making mistakes is by not trying at all. If you aren’t making mistakes, you aren’t practicing your speaking enough.

3. Don’t Apologize for Your Proficiency Level

As a native English speaker, I don’t understand why someone would apologize for how much English they speak. I’ve never been offended by someone’s level of English, and I don’t get upset when someone makes mistakes. Personally, I would rather have someone genuinely trying to speak English in an effort to practice and improve it, than be timid and apologetic in regard to their proficiency level. Achieving fluency in any language is a process that takes time, and you can’t expect to become fluent overnight. Whether you’ve been studying English for years or only for a few months, you’ve put in a lot of work to get where you are, so don’t underestimate yourself.

4. Don’t Get Frustrated with Yourself

Learning English will come with a certain amount of frustration. At some point you will come to a stage where you won’t be able to fully express yourself like you would be able to in your native language, and there will be times when you won’t be able to find the right word to say. Everyone who learns English goes through this phase; it’s just a natural part of the language learning process.

5. Don’t Take it Personally when People Don’t Understand You

At some point in your English-speaking career, you are going to speak to someone who, no matter how hard you try just can’t seem to understand you. Due to the large number of English speakers in the world, there is a wide range of accents, some of which are hard to understand. For example, I have a hard time understanding Irish accents, even though they could be speaking perfect English.

6. Don’t Compare Yourself to Other English Speakers

No matter what level your English is at, you had to work hard to bring yourself to that level. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished and don’t be too concerned with what other people think about it. They don’t know how many hours you’ve had to work to get to where you are. This also means you shouldn’t go around comparing yourself to other English speakers. Everybody is different; some people learn languages more easily than others and some people have spent more time working to improve their English.