Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 18 – Your Accent

Many students have problems related to their accent when they speak or learn English. This usually happens because the vowel sounds in English are so different to the sounds in their native language. I want to remind you that even in the UK, there are so many different accents and if you do come to study English in the UK, you will come across many different accents. My first piece of advice is, LOVE YOUR ACCENT. Embrace your accent. Feel comfortable with your accent. If you can communicate your ideas and other people understand you, then everything is just fine. Of course, your accent will depend on where you are from, so sometimes an accent can be so strong that people might not understand what you are saying. This is particularly important in business or exam settings too.

It is okay if you want to reduce your accent. Here are some tips to help you reduce your accent:

  • Find a teacher. Yes, of course this isn’t always viable, but they can help you work on your accent through repetition, imitation and correction.
  • Listen to YouTube or watch TV programmes, especially interview shows, such as The Graham Norton Show. This is very useful for imitating, particularly with local accents. You can watch or listen and then repeat and there are so many British or North American shows you can find for free online.
  • Record your voice. I’ll write another post about this but this helps to compare what you are saying with what a native person is saying. You could listen to a TV programme, repeat a sentence that you hear and listen back to it to see where the differences are.
  • Use an online dictionary. They always have the phonetic spelling and an example you can listen to, although not all of them sound very real so be careful!
  • Focus on intonation, rhythm and speed of what you are saying. Sometimes, just lowering your intonation when you approach a comma or the end of a sentence sounds more natural. Again, a teacher can help with this a lot or watching a lot of TV!
  • Read aloud to yourself. You can read more about this in this blog post – click here.


Below are some books you can browse. They are all to help you with your accent!

Most of all, I want to remind you to LOVE YOUR ACCENT AND YOURSELF!

You can learn to reduce your accent with me! I give accent reduction lessons to help you speak more confidently. CLICK HERE TO ASK!

Follow on Instagram


Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 17 – Listen to audiobooks

What better way to enrich your vocabulary and practise your listening skills than listening to audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks can help many parts of your English language learning. When you allow your imagination to run free, you are more likely to enjoy what you are listening to and therefore remember more. Some benefits of audiobooks include:

  • listening practice (you can choose books read by British people if you want!)
  • pronunciation of words (listen and repeat method)
  • increase your vocabulary base
  • enjoy yourself while exposing yourself to English!
  • you can learn anywhere! On the bus, on your daily commute, while riding a bicycle, while walking…


You can find all your favourite books in audio form. And a great thing about this is that if you use your imagination and relate it to language, you’re more likely to have an entertaining experience, so you’re even more likely to remember words or grammar structures. Even just listening to anything in English tunes your ears in. And you can allow your imagination to wander. And there is so much choice out there!

Audible has a free 30-day trial – just click on the link below to have a browse.

AND if you would like to take online or in person lessons with me, contact me. CLICK HERE!

Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 16 – Watch and listen to English films and music

Most people in the world listen to music and watch films and TV series so one of the best and most entertaining ways to practise your English skills is by watching films or listening to music. How great is that?! It’s useful for so many different parts of English, for example,

    • listening skills – listening to natural, authentic speech,
    • pronunciation – repeating what you hear,
    • vocabulary – songs and films use a lot of colloquial and slang terms,
    • grammar – you can review grammar structures
    • authentic English – you can see how people use gestures and language authentically.

There are quite a few different methods you can use when you watch a film or TV series. If you have a lower level, you can watch animation films for children and use subtitles – that’s right, children’s material works! If you have a higher level of English, you can watch films or a TV series with or without subtitles. All levels can try watching a film and understand the main idea of the film without understanding every single word, however, subtitles can help you if you don’t understand what is happening AT ALL. You can also play and rewind it to listen to how words are pronounced. Imitation is such a useful way to reduce your accent and improve your confidence with pronunciation.

In terms of music, you can have a great time! You can read the lyrics as you listen, and you can imitate what you hear to practise your accent and pronunciation of words. Music is also useful for expanding your vocabulary base, you will find so many slang words and language that you don’t hear in most conventional classrooms.

So start today!

You can email me on to ask about lessons – we can have a quick and friendly chat. And if you would like to have ENGLISH LESSONS ONLINE or in person in Manchester City Centre, CLICK HERE to contact me and have an informal chat.

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verb: to brush up on (something)

Me and my friend were just having a chat about getting a new job. He wants to become a driving instructor. This was part of our conversation:

“I’m not a very good driver though,” he joked.

“Yeah, you will have to brush up on your skills!” I replied.

I said this to him because it means to improve and revise something you have already learnt, to update your skills so that they comply with a particular standard, or the skills are up-to-date. He took his driving test around 10 years ago, so he would need to update his skills, he would need to brush up on his driving skills, in order for him to pass his driving instructor test. He would need to make sure he knows all the new laws and all of the little skills you need to drive. Most drivers who took their test a long time ago probably wouldn’t pass if they had to retake their test now! They would all need to brush up on their driving skills!

Here’s another example. Imagine that you’re travelling to the greatest city in the UK, Manchester, and that you haven’t practised speaking English for a long while. You would need to brush up on your English to make sure you could communicate with people on your holiday in the UK. You would need to revise and practise your English skills. You could join a speaking group or you could ask a teacher to help you to brush up on your skills. You could listen to vloggers from Manchester on YouTube to brush up on understanding the Manchester accent!

Another example: Before making this website, I had to brush up on my web design skills because I hadn’t done this for a long, long time. So, I had to remind myself again of how to design websites.

BE CAREFUL: If you haven’t learnt a skill, you can’t brush up on it, or you can’t revise it. For example, if you are new to driving a car, you can’t brush up on your skills because you are learning a new skill. If you haven’t studied English before, you can’t brush up on your skills. You can only brush up on something that you have done before and need to refresh your skills.

Do you get it? What do you need to brush up on? Is there anything you need to brush up on?

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verb: to chuck (something) away

Some of you readers may not know this but I have recently returned from a very long trip around south Asia. I brought some newspapers home to the UK with me from India because there were some interesting articles in them. I left the newspapers on the kitchen worktop but I went back into the kitchen to find they had disappeared. So, after looking and not being able to find them, I asked my housemates:

“Have you seen the newspapers that I left in the kitchen? Have you chucked them away?”

To chuck (something) away means to put something in the rubbish bin. It is exactly the same as “to throw something away”. After returning from India, I have chucked away many things from my bedroom that I don’t want to use anymore.

So, what have you chucked away recently? Are you planning to chuck anything away?

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verb: to suss (someone/something) out

Here’s the situation. My friend started a new job today and we were having a chat in WhatsApp.

Me: Hey, how’s it going?
Friend: I’m good. I’m just waiting to go in to my new office!
Me: Cool. Exciting times! How do you feel?
Friend: A bit nervous. I need to suss it out first.

MEANING: To suss (something) out means to discover or understand something. My friend wants to suss out his new office environment, which means he wants to discover more about it, he wants to know more about it before he decides whether he likes it or not.

You can also suss a person out, meaning to understand them more or know more about them over time. For example,

A: Have you met the new boss yet?
B: Yeah, he was very friendly. But I think I still need more time to suss him out. (I still want more time to understand more about him before I make any more judgments).

Have you had to suss anyone out recently?

Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 15- Immerse yourself and travel!

Immerse yourself in an English-speaking country – travel, take a course, stay with a friend, go to an English-speaking country. Okay, I know, this isn’t possible for everyone – people have work commitments or families. BUT, if you are fortunate enough to travel or take a course in the UK, it will help you and your language so much. Imagine the situation, everything around you is in English, restaurants, road signs, people speaking, literature… so you HAVE TO push yourself to speak and use English. Maybe you will need to ask for directions in English, or speak to people in a bar in English or even just talk to someone at a bus stop in English, you will have so many opportunities to practise speaking English. If you did travel to the UK, your brain would start to absorb a lot of local English phrases and your ears would start to understand accents. Some of my students who took an English language course in the UK improved from elementary (A2/B1) to upper intermediate (B2) and advanced (C1) levels. Don’t worry if you can’t travel so easily, there are many ways to immerse yourself in English on the Internet these days. If you can travel to the UK for a holiday or to take a course in English, then I advise that you do it. Take the first step!

Check out schools or take lessons with me. Click here!

Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 14 – Keep a vocabulary book

There’s many different ways for you to record vocabulary, for example, alphabetically. Or one great way to help you with increasing your vocabulary base is to write the equivalents of all forms of one word, for example, noun – possession, verb – possess, adj – possessive etc. Keeping a book of vocabulary is useful for you but it is also very important to practise using the vocabulary. When you find a new and interesting word, write it in your vocabulary book, and then you should write a sentence using the new word. This will help you memorise it and know how to use it correctly. You can also search online to see how the word is used in sentences. Below are some useful vocabulary books that you can click and buy!


Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 13 – Find a teacher you like

My advice as a teacher is to speak, speak and speak some more. This will improve your fluency and confidence while speaking and you’ll practise a range of vocabulary, however, if you want to improve your accuracy, it’s beneficial to find a teacher. If you want feedback and corrections, a teacher will help you with this. But it’s important to find an English teacher that you can feel comfortable around. If you want to speak fluently and naturally, then you should find a teacher that suits your personality. If the teacher makes you feel comfortable, you will feel more confident in speaking fluently and even making mistakes. A teacher can help you focus on what you need to improve on too. So what are you waiting for?

TRY A FREE LESSON WITH ME (Valid until December 31st 2018). CLICK HERE.


Tips And Advice

Tips for learning English: 12 – Meet English Speakers

Meet up with English speakers. In the UK, there’s an app to meet local people and be able to talk about many different subjects, it’s called Meetup. Many of my students have used the app successfully. Some students attended art events, social drinks and even knitting events! If you don’t have this app in your country, you can find out local places where English speakers hang out and speak to them. Yes, it sounds strange or quite daring to do. If you find the courage, it can really help your progress. ATTEND! BE PRESENT! Start a conversation. What better way to practise. Okay, so not everyone will be comfortable doing this but it will surely help you build confidence and practise your speaking. You could even take a friend with you. So check out the website, especially if you are learning English in Manchester or any city in the UK.