Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth

By Robby

If you are new here please read this first.

This video is dedicated to Juhapekka’s last comment on my blog where he says that he’d really like to be able to think about the most sophisticated and complex subjects in English, but he’s not really able to.

Juhapekka is a Finnish guy and he’s a frequent commentator on my blog – he’s posted a good few comments and they’re very profound and I really, really appreciate his contribution to my blog.

So, thank you once more Juhapekka! 😉

But now let’s get down to the business and let me respond to the actual comment.

Let me tell you right up-front that it’s going to be useful to everyone – not just Juhapekka – so just watch the video above (or listen to the audio file just above the video in case you can’t access YouTube content) and you’ll definitely find something useful for your own English improvement routine.

Way back I posed an article on my blog called How to Develop Your Ability to Think in English It’s important because if you think in your native language and translate the whole thing in English when speaking, it’s not a natural process – that way you’ll just keep experiencing the same fluency issues over and over again and obviously in order to become a truly fluent English speaker you have to think in English.

So in the previous comment Juhapekka asked whether I think it’s possible to think the most complex subjects in English and in this comment he elaborates a bit further on it and here’s what he says:

Thanks. I asked whether it’s possible to think very sophisticated and complex thoughts in English because I spend a huge amount of my free time with my homework in Finnish but many course books are in English. So, anyway I have to read course books in English and I usually can “think” in English when I’m reading English books (it’s natural because when reading you haven’t time to translate) but when I have to do some real independent critical thinking, I always have to think in my native language. It’s a bit sad because it would be great opportunity to think in English and to speak my thoughts aloud but I can’t do that yet.

When I said in my previous comment that when you think, your thoughts – whether it’s your native language or English – tend to be a bit messy. It’s not as if there’s a very clearly structured process going on in your mind; your mind wanders.

Abstract thoughts appear here and there and everywhere, and your thoughts don’t really follow the same process as when you’re speaking. When you speak, you have to create sentences, you have to draw logical conclusions and even if it’s a self-practice session, you still go through a lot of reasoning and conclusion-drawing.

So when you speak, you’re actually forcing your mind to follow your mouth!

You do the entire thinking-speaking process with your mouth, but if you just allow your mind to think on its own, more often than not, the thoughts are scattered. I personally find that even when I have to find a solution to some problem in my native language, when I just think about it, I keep going in circles in my mind.

There’s a lot of interruptions and my mind wanders aimlessly.

So I personally believe that whether it’s your native language or English – as far as thinking just on its own is concerned, you’re much better off speaking out loud while thinking ❗

And that pretty much answers Juhapekka’s question – basically, thinking on its own just doesn’t cut it on most occasions!

And obviously when you’re a non-native English speaker and you’re trying to do the whole thinking thing in English, and if you’re trying to JUST THINK the most sophisticated thoughts and do the critical thinking process ONLY IN YOUR HEAD in English, it’s very, very difficult to achieve it!

You’re much better off doing the same thing I advise my blog readers to do in almost every blog post and every video I publish on this website:


Speaking out loud is the most effective way of putting a structure onto your thinking process and as a result you’ll be thinking out loud with your mouth.

Thinking inside your head alone isn’t effective.

Going back to the blog post about thinking in English I published years ago – I never actually meant that you have to be able to develop your ability to think in English inside your head.

To be honest with you guys, even nowadays I personally can’t think in English just inside my head with the utmost clarity of thought – and I can’t really do that in my native language either, for that matter.

I think that no matter what language we’re looking at, as far as you want to be able to do some critical thinking, there’s always some comparisons and conclusion drawing, and logical reasoning going on, and if you do it ONLY inside your head, your mind oftentimes wanders. Those thoughts tend to be rather abstract, and various words and concepts are popping up in your brain which actually prevents a clear, un-obstructed flow of thoughts.

So let me re-iterate it once more.

Speaking out loud is the solution, and there’s nothing wrong with that ❗

You shouldn’t have the following mindset – “I badly want to possess the ability to think inside my head in English, and if I can’t do that, I’m useless…”

Even if that’s what you IDEALLY want, real life is real life and you just have to do some speaking along with thinking inside your head.

Hope you find this useful, my friends! 😉



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

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  • Hi Shubham,

    The whole point of doing spoken self-practice is NOT to have someone else to speak with! You do self-practice with yourself, and if your knowledge in terms of vocab and phrases is limited, you make sure to regularly LEARN new phrases and then use them in your self-practice sessions.

    Please refer to this quick-start guide where I’m pointing out the things you can do in order to improve your fluency by way of using this blog and practicing with yourself!

  • shubham kumar

    hi robby,
    i am from India. even i face this problem quite often. what do i do to improve my fluency.. i know you would say practice as much as possible and don t think much while speaking english.. but the problem is my knowledge in terms of vocabulary and phrases is too limited.. besides i hv no one to speak in english with… please tell me a solution to this problem.

  • I’m really glad the video served its purpose and you got the message; I also hope this approach is going to bring you significant long-term gains in your oral English fluency!

    And of course, thanks for raising this issue and I hope you’ll keep sticking around my blog for months and years to come! 😉

  • Juhapekka

    Thanks very much! It didn’t even come to my mind that speaking out loud while thinking (instead of trying to think in my head in English and then speaking thoughts out loud) could be the answer. I had to listen and read your response few times to understand your solution fully. It’s very simple and somehow ingenious and elegant solution. I really appreciate, too, that you’re making detailed responses. I’m not sure yet how useful it will be but if I apply the tips successfully I can spend much more time to improve my spoken English and it’ll has huge impact on my English improvement. It takes time and patience as well-known proverb says: practice makes perfect!