I receive regular inquiries about English fluency improvement, and many of those e-mails contain the same sentence “I’m sorry for my bad English” or “I’m sorry for my mistakes”.
And the funny thing is, not all of those e-mails are riddled with errors, some of them are written in very good English, so obviously it’s the writer’s confidence that needs a little bit of an improvement, not so much their English!
Of course, I’m also getting inquiries from beginning English learners and in some of those e-mails it’s obvious where that person has struggled to pick the right word and where the sentence structure isn’t probably as good as that of an intermediate or an advanced English speaker.
Still, it’s not a reason good enough to apologize for your English. No matter what level you’re at, you have to focus on what you CAN say or write instead of focusing on what you CAN’T!
Focusing on Your Abilities Gives You Power
If you’re a foreign English speaker, you’re bound to make a mistake here and there in both writing and speaking. And even if you’re quite an advanced speaker and you rarely make any grammar mistakes, you certainly have situations when your choice of words is somewhat awkward – especially if you have to speak fast and you don’t have much time to plan in advance.
And that’s totally OK as far as you’re learning from those mistakes and you’re English fluency is experiencing a constant improvement over time.
But here’s what else is important – your mindset and your disposition towards your own mistakes.
Basically it’s very important to have a positive outlook on yourself as a foreign English speaker in general, and a very good place to start is to stop apologizing for writing and speaking in English with errors
The very fact that you assign such a bit importance to your mistakes that it makes you apologize for making them implies you are thinking way too much about what you CAN’T do in terms of spoken or written English performance.
If you focus on what you CAN say or write, it means you’re looking forward.
If you focus on what you CAN’T, it means you’re looking back.
CAN’T is a weakness.
CAN is a strength.
If you focus on what you CAN say or write in English, you’re putting yourself in a position of power
Don’t Allow Your Mistakes to Determine Your Success (of Failure?)
From now on, my dear fellow foreign English speakers, whenever you feel like apologizing for your mistakes, try to suppress that desire and try to focus on improving your English without feeling inferior.
Some of you may think that’s it’s no big deal.
Some of you may think that it’s just being polite and it’s rather to do with a person’s upbringing and cultural background than lacking confidence as a foreign English speaker.
I’ll say – it doesn’t really matter what it is.
Just the very fact that you allow your mistakes to be so important in your own perception will determine your success as an English learner and improver!
It’s much easier to acquire new knowledge if you have a completely open mind and you don’t limit your performance with constantly checking your speech or writing for mistakes.
And please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying you shouldn’t care and that you should keep making the same mistakes over and over. If you aspire to become a truly fluent English speaker, you’ll quite naturally adopt correct English speech patterns over time, and looking back in time you’ll realize that your English has improved big time!
The message I’m trying to communicate to you today is quite simple – accept yourself as an English speaker the way you are.
It’s Really That Simple – Just Do It!
If you’re happy with your English – there’s obviously no need to apologize!
If you use the English language only occasionally to contact authorities or to attend your child’s class meetings and you live in your native language bubble for the rest of your time – it’s your choice and you’d better accept it and be in peace with yourself.
And if you live in a foreign country where there are little practical opportunities for you to use the language on a daily basis – fair enough, no-one has any rights to judge your level of English!
But if you’re not happy with your level of English and you feel like apologizing for it – DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT
Spend a lot of time reading, writing and speaking in English and every time you take some action, your English is going to improve a little bit.
But do it with a positive outlook and don’t give a chance for others to take a pity on you.
Who else is going to believe in yourself if not you?
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!