5 Hacks to Start Thinking in English

By Brandon Stanley

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Have you ever wondered what true English fluency was? It’s all about communicating with other English speakers in the most natural way possible. To make the communication effective, you have to get rid of the habit to translate the things you hear and the things you want to say at the back of your mind. You’re so used to your native language that it can kill your fluency in English no matter how many new words you learn.

Today, we’ll tell you how to get rid of the mental translation habit. These 5 tips will help you start thinking in English:

 1. Ditch the Bilingual Dictionaries

The dictionary is a highly effective tool in language learning. However, it can also be an obstacle. If your native language is Spanish and you’re using Spanish-to-English dictionary all the time, you’re just reinforcing the bad habit of translating sentences in your mind before you express yourself. You can use such a dictionary only when you’re a beginner.

When you go over that point, it’s time for a more serious dictionary, such as the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. It’s all English, and it encourages you to build your vocabulary upon the English terms you already know.

As you keep learning and practicing English, you’ll come to a point when you can let go of the Oxford dictionary, too.   

2. Use English to Think about Everyday Objects

Are you used to making daily to-do lists? Do you make a list before picking up groceries? It’s time to take your English language learning practice to the next level: write these lists in English.

When you’re at the store and you’re looking at different items, try to think of their English terms. Don’t use your native language to translate the words; just think English. This is the simplest way to get your mind into English-thinking mode.

3. Write!

You don’t have to write an entire research paper in English if you’re not ready for that yet. However, a simple daily writing routine is definitely useful. Start by writing personal essays. It’s the best format, since you can write about yourself and all the topics that interest you. 

Sure, you won’t break the habit of translating words in your native language when you write a single essay. It takes practice. Pay attention to your thoughts while you’re writing. Are you translating too much? Try to force yourself to think in English and stay focused. With time, the thoughts will come naturally.

4. Start with Words and Progress to Sentences         

If you’re a complete beginner, it’s almost impossible to think with entire sentences in English. It’s okay. You can start with single words.

As you’re building your vocabulary, think of the English word for an item whenever you see it. “Aha, a toothbrush. Fridge. Sun. Day. Knife.” You get the point, right?

If you’re able to read this article in English, then you’re already dealing with complex sentences. Congratulations! You’re ready to start thinking in complete English sentences. “This sandwich is really good. Maybe I should take a soda, too!” Whatever you’re thinking, try to do it in English.

5. Connect with Native Speakers                           

You can try communicating in English with a friend, but the conversation will go slow if you’re both non-native speakers. You’ll give each other more time to think about a sentence before speaking up. When you communicate with a native speaker, that won’t happen. You’ll be forced to think and respond as quickly as possible.

Thanks to technology, connecting with native English speakers is easier than ever. You can do that via Facebook or Skype, but you can also use a specialized service that connects you with natives. 

There’s an even better way to connect with native English speakers: travel! If you can afford going to an English-speaking country, do it! You’ll get completely immersed in the language and you’ll catch yourself thinking in English sooner than you expect.

Think in English; It’s Important!

Why should you make all these efforts just to start thinking in English? Isn’t speaking more important? It is. However, thinking leads to speaking. When you gain this skill, it means you don’t have to think about words and sentences before speaking up. It means you’re becoming more fluent. Isn’t fluency what learning English is all about.

 mWC3UWm-VRs1About the author : Brandon Stanley is a professional independent journalist. He is interested in writing articles concerning language learning and self-improvement. Apart from that, Brandon loves traveling and playing the piano. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter


P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
Sources of images:

  1. https://www.pexels.com/photo/analysis-blackboard-board-bubble-355952/


P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out the English Harmony System HERE!

English Harmony System
  • Hansy

    I am not a verbal thinker, I think with pictures and patterns, I don’t have an inner monologue. I am an abstract thinker, how can I think in English with my unique way of thinking?