How do I improve my English is a question I regularly get and I would like to share with you the secret of improving your English.

Boring Secret
It is a boring secret which a lot of people don’t like when I give them that advice. It is to read every day.

Practice Propels you Towards Perfection
In other words, the secret is to practice every day – to practice reading on a daily basis. A lot of people dispute whether practice makes perfect but one thing I know is that if you don’t practice you either stand still or you lose what you have. The adage use it or lose it is so true. You have been warned.

One Hour
If you really want to improve and maintain your standard of English you should allocate one hour per day for English improvement and use that time to read.

Stumbling Block
One hour – I have this and this to do! Yes making one hour on a daily basis will be a hurdle for most. So you have to incorporate English improvement as part of your lifestyle.

Double Win
Find English reading matter in your areas of interest and develop your career and English at the same time.

Reading Widely
In my home country of England – reading is considered key to developing English and vocabulary which is word and expression power. This is why when I was a child I was dispatched to friends and relatives and made to read out loud in front of them. You don’t have to have an audience to do that although if you can find a kind person to listen to you – it will make the reading more meaningful and perhaps deepen a relationship.

Phrase by Phrase
A phrase is a group of words, so two words can be a phrase. For example, “Have Lunch” is a phrase and a collocation.

Rote Learning
Despite what anyone tells you to the contrary – there is an element of rote learning (learning by memorization). For example, we “have lunch” but we “have a shower. The Americans, of course, have slightly different collocations – they will take it!

The Modern Complication of Learning English
I am British so I will always say learning British English should be the starting point of your English learning. Also if you really learn British English, you will know most of American English. However, if you learn American English you may not appreciate the deeper nuances (subtleties) of the English language that are best developed when learning British English. Mentality (way of thinking) plays a part in English development.

True Education
I think for true understanding of English these days we need to learn both British English and American English. Start with one and then develop the other but when using English in your writing decide which system you would prefer to express yourself in and don’t mix up the two.

The Most Important English lesson
Collocations are words that go together and when I teach English as a second language I always tell students understanding and developing your English through collocations is the most important English lesson and the key to understanding why the same word has different meanings. When you learn an English word you have to look at its associates (its associated words).

Associations and Associated Words
English cannot be effectively learnt through the word by word approach. It has to be learnt and developed through the phrase by phrase approach (which is actually the collocation by collocation approach).

Off By Heart Learning
I always tell my students that certain aspects of English have to be learnt off by heart (memorized) – so be prepared to do that. Good Luck in your English studies and do read daily. A good website for this is www.abetoday.com. Do read daily and do post comments of anything you don’t understand. I can then explain more.

Note to using abetoday.com
Many English articles are filed under the heading of IELTS – even if you are not taking this international test – do read the articles – they are all helpful when developing English and thinking. In fact that is another secret. Native speakers study English as a subject to develop their thinking and really there is no point learning English unless you are doing it for greater reasons: to be a more fully functioning person.

English Development Blessing
B: Brace yourself for the long haul: all speakers of English need to practice their English to maintain and develop it.
L: Learn what works best for you.
E: Express yourself in English at every opportunity you get. Expand your English by expressing yourself in speaking, writing and actively reading (a questioning form of English).
S: Snuggle up with a book or some form of reading matter that appeals to you and don’t go to bed until you have done your one hour, even if you end up falling asleep with a book in your hand.
S: Seize upon this secret of the greatest English speakers and that is always have a book on the go or some form of reading matter that appeals to you.
I: I believe in the double win and that is use the urge to improve your English to also improve your career prospects by reading English matter in your career field. Improvements will come over time if you are on the right track of one hour daily practice.
N: Never give up, just find ways to get nearer to your goal of better English and great career development.
G: Good Luck in your English development and do read daily. Good blessings for you and God be with you.

Author's Bio: 

I am an English specialist with I CAN READ. I have worked for major British institutions: British Council, British High Commission, British Railways Board and Linguaphone. I am a London-trained lawyer and have been the public affairs officer at the British High Commission, Singapore, as well as an editor in an international book publishing house and a national magazine. I am also co-author of two law books: English Legal System and Company Law, published by Blackstone, Oxford University Press. I am an Ambassador of Peace (Universal Peace Federation and Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace). Connect: Email susanmckenzie2003@yahoo.co.uk http://sg.linkedin.com/in/susanmckenzie https://twitter.com/#!/abetoday http://www.facebook.com/pages/Teacher-Su-McKenzie-English-Expert-Total-L...