In this free English lesson we’ll focus entirely on how to THINK in English. If you’re ready to stop translating in your head, here’s a power-packed mega-lesson to get you going. I’ll teach you tips and tricks and you’ll get lots of practice as well.
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You can take steps, you can practice. Thinking in a language that’s not your native language. You can! And isn’t that a huge part of what holds people back, speaking another language? Trying to remember the word, trying to remember the right grammar. Sure, you can build your vocabulary and you can study grammar but you can also work on the specific skill of thinking in another language.
Today I’m going to go over the steps needed to do this, and I’m going to give you exercises to do this in English for all my non-native English-speaking students out there. Before we dive in, click here or in the video description to get a free cheat sheet, the sounds of American English, it’s a great reference tool and even I use it quite a bit.
Thinking in English. First, we’ll go over six steps that you can use as part of your exercises. Then we’ll work on three different kinds of exercises to get your mind going in English.
The first tip is to start simple and name objects around you in English. I remember when I was learning German and I was doing this, I had to learn the article as well, der, die, das. We don’t have that in English, but it doesn’t hurt to really focus on the pronunciation as you’re thinking of simple objects. In fact, that’s why I started my YouTube channel and even my Academy – when I was learning German, French, and Italian as an opera student, I couldn’t find any resources that focused enough on pronunciation. And I knew that to be effective, I needed the right pronunciation right from the beginning. So I created my YouTube channel and my Academy to put pronunciation forward. So take a moment as you’re naming objects to think about pronunciation.
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And if you’re not sure about the pronunciation, listen to some native speakers. You can use an online dictionary.
Also, Youglish is a great resource for this.
They’re all saying with a flap. Compu– rarararara. A flap instead of TT, a T sound. Computer. Computer. Middle syllable stress. If you can add this step, of focusing on the pronunciation and listening to native speakers, awesome. If not, if you only have 15 seconds, and you’re naming as many objects as you can, that’s okay too. So that’s step one and it’s simple. Take a moment, look around you, and name all of the objects that you can in English. If you can do that very easily, then you can move on. But if that’s a challenge for you, spend some time on object naming. Every time you’re in a new room, a new environment, take a few seconds to do it. Note words you don’t know, look them up, learn them. The context will help you remember them.
The next step is to think in simple sentences. Stop right now and think of the beginning of a sentence: I’m—. I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’m working. Do it in English.
I’ll wait a few seconds. You’re starting with ‘I’m…’
Now look around you. What can you say about anything in your environment?
This chair is comfy.
The drawer is open.
My desk is messy.
That one’s easy because it’s almost always true.
If there’s something you can’t describe, look up the words you need in a dictionary, memorize it.
Memorize that phrase. Learning in context like this will help.
Speaking of dictionaries, see if you can do this. Get an English-only dictionary rather than a translating dictionary between English and your native language.
If you come across a word in English that you don’t know, use the English-only dictionary, a Learner’s dictionary. Can you see what we’re doing here? We’re building your mind to work in English mode rather than translation mode. There is a thing called a Learner’s dictionary, and it describes every word in English, in simple words and terms. Try it. Merriam-Webster has one, Oxford, Cambridge. If you have to learn and understand a Not as a translation of your language. word by reading in English, by studying what it means in English, then you’ll know it as an English word. So you’ve named single words, and you’ve made simple sentences. The next step is …
Have small conversations with yourself in English. With yourself? Yes, you don’t feel pressure to speak quickly, to come up with the next thing. You can keep the pace slow, relaxed. I absolutely did this when learning Spanish. In fact, I remember a car trip I did by myself from Sarasota to Gainesville where the whole time I spoke to myself in Spanish. If this is hard for you, stop and give up. No! It will get better and easier with practice. Do it every day. Set aside 2 minutes every day to have a simple conversation with yourself.
Give yourself 30 days. Do this every day for 30 days. Don’t take a day off. If you have five minutes one day, do it for five minutes. A whole conversation, as simple as it needs to be, in English. In 30 days, you’ll see. Wow. I did improve. This is worth my time. And rededicate 30 more days. Once you’re able to do this, I think you’re able to do step 4, which is really exciting. Change at least one of your everyday life things to English. Everyday life things? What’s that? Switch your calendar to English. Use the English months and days of the week and write what you’re going to be doing in English. Or do you do to-do lists? Try it in English. A grocery list. Or change your Facebook settings so that your language is in English. Everything you see, you’ve got a friend request, and so on, will be in English. Maybe try internet searches in English. Or read an English newspaper, or listen to news in English. Do you write a journal? Try writing it in English. Yes! I love this. Take one thing everyday thing and do it in English. Switch your brain. Every morning when you wake up, before you get out of bed, take two minutes to think about your day in English. Here’s another idea of an everyday thing you can do in English: take one thing like getting dressed, making breakfast, getting from your car to your desk, cleaning up. As you’re doing it, in your head, narrate in English.
That’s light, that should go there.
Let’s see. Does this need to be sprayed for stains? Yeah.
Better spray it. Al l right, let’s load up the washing machine.
That’s too light, that should go there.
Okay, shove it all in.
Let’s get some soap. Where is that?
Here it is.
Put it in there, close the door, press ‘start’, there we go!
And here’s another one I love: learn how to do one thing in English. It can be really small, like, how to poach an egg. Research it and learn about it in English only, watch only English videos and read only English instructions. Or maybe it’s something bigger, a bigger project like how to knit or how to draw. Take an online course in English only on that topic. Pick something you’re dying to know how to do anyway. This will make it a super-enjoyable lesson. The next step is something you’re actually going to want to be doing all along, with all the steps, and that’s…
Keep track so you’re doing it every day.
Once you choose that you want to think English and stop translating in your head, write down every day what you do. And of course, do this in English. It could look like this:
Today I named everything around me that I could think of in English two different times. I watched a 3-minute news story in English. Just having a place to write it down can motivate you to do it. And the last thing is something you can do every night after you lay down for bed, motivate you to do it. but before you fall asleep.
Recap your day in English.
You’re taking advantage of this opportunity that you’ll have every day, no matter where you are or what your day was like: no one I know falls asleep the moment their head hits the pillow.
What a lovely day that was. I got to meet my mom for lunch, go for a walk in the afternoon, and I even had time to watch a movie after I put the kids down to bed. And who knows, by putting your mind in English mode just before bed, maybe you’re even setting yourself up to dream in English, continuing your practice. The brain does amazing things with what it’s learned that day while you sleep.
Step one is object naming, so let’s get into that. But first a huge thanks to all my supporters here on YouTube, everyone who has joined my channel, they get special badges to make their comments pop, early release of videos when available, access to members-only posts and videos, and the top tier gets a free monthly audio lesson. Thank you! Click JOIN to learn more.
The strategy we’re going to use today is naming objects in English, and we’re going to use our visual flash cards. This is the first step in training your mind to think in English. We’re going to take a picture, and you’ll be prompted to name different things within that picture. You won’t see the word written, you won’t hear it in your own language, you’ll just have the picture, and your mind will recall the word in English. We’re going to strengthen that ability to think in English by concentrating on it with simple objects.
If you see an object and you’re not sure of the word for it, don’t worry, at the end, we’re going to go over each word so that you can learn the vocabulary that you don’t already know, we’re going to build your vocabulary too. And because you learned it with a picture, you’ll have a visual for it, and that’s going to help you remember the word. If you already know all the words, great! Then this is just a practice in seeing something and recalling the word in English, training your mind. Later in this series, we’re going to train you on sentences and engaging in conversation. Let’s practice. Remember, you’re going to see something, and you should name it in English in your head. You don’t have to say it out loud, just think the word. Ask your mind to get into English mode, and to let go of your native language. A lot of these will be words that you know. So you can see it, think it. See it, think it. Build that connection to thinking in English.
What was that like for you? Was it easy? If so, that’s great! That means you’re already well on your way to having the habit of thinking in English. I’m going to see if I can stump you with some vocabulary later in this video. If that was hard for you, don’t worry, wherever you are, your starting point is okay, and the training starts now. Doing this, doing the training is how you will get better. Let’s review the words now. I’ll say it out loud in case you don’t know the word, you can hear a native speaker saying it. See the object, hear the word, repeat the word in your head, think it.
Okay, so this is how it’s going to go. We’re going to train your mind to think in English. Let’s go to the next picture.
Were there any words there you didn’t know? Don’t worry, in the second half of this video, we’re going to go over all the words. But for now, we’re just going to go through a bunch of scenes in a row with objects for you to name. Some will be pretty easy, and some words might be harder, a little bit less common, don’t get frustrated if you can’t do all of these, that is your starting point, and by investing the time here now, you’re taking your first step to improving. Alright, let’s do it.
How are you doing? I’m checking in on you. Are you doing okay? We’re halfway through. Let’s keep it up.
Are you still thinking in English? Great! Okay, let’s review. There might have been some words in there that you don’t know.
That one’s less common.
Did you know that plant?
Or maybe you just said this singular, bicycle.
Or maybe you said stadium, court, or basketball court.
Or maybe you just said screen.
Or you could have said fans, or maybe just people.
Or maybe you said clouds.
Or maybe you said team.
Huddle is the word we use when you put your arms around each other like this and gather in a circle.
Did you know this herb?
Or maybe you said mug.
Or maybe you said woman.
Or maybe you said man.
It’s their wedding day so they’ll often be referred to as bride and groom.
Or maybe you said teeth..
Or maybe you said nail polish.
This is also called a lemon wedge.
Or maybe you said picture.
Or walking path.
Or maybe you said bow.
This part of the shoe is the sole, and it’s a homophone with the word ‘soul. They sound exactly the same.
How was that? Did you already know all of those words? If so, awesome. You’ve got a great vocabulary. Let’s jump to another video that goes over just naming words that describe what you see.
First, you’ll see a picture with different sections highlighted like this.
And when you see it, you’ll think in your head: wing. Then something else will be highlighted and each time you see a different highlight, think the English word. If you don’t know it, don’t worry just wait for the next one. Let’s keep going with that image.
Then you’ll see this.
And you’ll have three seconds to come up with a verb to describe anything that’s happening in the picture. Any verb, any action that’s happening. And then you’ll see this.
And you’ll have three seconds to name an adjective. An adverb would be fine too. Then at the end, we’ll go over everything like this.
Wing, beak, claw. Or maybe you just said foot.
Flying or landing.
White, or maybe you said graceful.
I’ll suggest verbs and adjectives that you could have said, but of course you may have come up with something totally different from what I say, and that’s okay. There are no wrong answers here if what you’re saying describes anything that’s happening in the picture. Now if you saw that image, and you said something like drinking Coke. Then that doesn’t actually describe what’s happening, but hey, if your mind said that in English, that’s something! We’re going to move pretty quickly. So just relax, open up your mind, and let the English come in. Remember, you want to direct your mind to go to the English word first. You should know most of these words already, we’re building the skill of recall. We’re going to do a bunch of pictures and then we’ll go over all the words.
Okay we’re halfway through, and I’m checking in on you. How are you doing? Is it fun? Stressful? Let’s take a minute to reset our minds, clear it out, think English only, keep going.
Great! Were the verbs and adjectives harder? It was less about naming something you see, and more about making a decision about what to say. That’s definitely a little bit more challenging. Let’s go over some possible answers now.
Did you know this part of the car is called a grill? I didn’t know that until I was older. Probably high school. I have a whole video that goes over vocabulary for the car. I’ll link to it at the end of the video.
Windshield. Notice here the D comes after an N before another consonant sound. It’s very common to drop that D sound and I did. Windshield. Windshield.
Laying. Chatting. Maybe you said laughing. Friendly. Wait, what happened there? Again the D comes after an N, before a consonant, very common to drop that D. I didn’t say friendly, but there’s no D, friendly. Or maybe you said dirty, talking about the truck, old, or maybe happy talking about the girls.
Swimsuit. Maybe you said swim trunks, or just trunks, or maybe you said shorts.
Or maybe you said container
Or maybe you hate being splashed, so the word you thought was: mean.
Bench, hat, book, ear, finger.
We call this smallest finger, the pinky.
We call this kind of clothing, which you’ll see a lot on doctors, nurses, dentists, and veterinarians.
There is a TV show in the US called Scrubs that ran in the 2000s.
Cleaning. Fixing. Working.
or maybe you said: blue or yellow, describing a color in the photo, or scared because maybe you hate going to the dentist.
Laptop. Or maybe you said computer.
Braid. Or maybe you just said hair.
Hair tie. We’re getting detailed here.
These are also called elastics.
Stripes. This pattern is called stripes.
Or maybe you said shoulder since that’s the part of the shirt that I circled.
Playing. Pointing. Winning.
Maybe you said cheering.
This article of clothing is called a vest.
I have a whole video that goes over vocabulary words for clothing.
I’ll link to it at the end of this video.
This part of the shirt is called the sleeve, or maybe you said arm since that’s the body part that goes in the sleeve.
Zipper. Polka dots.
This pattern is called polka dots with a silent L.
Blowing. Playing. Trying.
Concentrating. Young. Engaged.
We use the word engaged to describe committing to marry someone, but we also use it to mean engrossed in something, really concentrated in it.
Paying full attention.
Quartet. When I drew this, I was thinking quartet, but maybe you said men or players or musicians.
This instrument that’s a little bigger than a violin is called a viola.
There’s another word spelled the same way but pronounced: bow with the OW diphthong.
That’s something that a performer might do at the end of a concert.
Performers will bow during the audience applause.
Stand or music stand.
Column. This word has a silent N at the end.
Watch. Belt. Collar. Lapel. Tie.
This can be called a jacket or blazer.
Again the D after an N before a consonant.
That D will usually be dropped. Handshake. No D sound.
Shaking hands. Making a deal. Agreeing. Committing.
Teddy bear. Tablecloth.
Or maybe you said lace, since that’s what it’s made of, or table since that’s what it’s covering.
Or maybe you said hands.
Again D after an N before a consonant in the word hands. We usually won’t say that D sound. Hands.
Notice the letter T here makes a CH sound.
I think a lot of people would probably misspell this word putting in a CH.
Luggage. Or maybe you said suitcase.
Sign. Or menu.
Waiter, or server.
Eating. Dining. Talking. Working.
Or if you’re describing the two umbrellas maybe you thought open and closed.
The more you do this kind of thing where you walk into a room or look at a picture and try to describe everything in English in your head, the quicker you’ll be able to think in English when you’re in a conversation.
You don’t need pictures, of course, to do this exercise. You can do it at any time. Let me show you what I mean as we do more training with single words.
Let’s just start with me. For ten seconds, think of every word you can that describes what you see in English.
They can be very basic words. Ready? Go.
There’s so many things you could have said. Woman, hair, gray hair, gray streak,
shirt, white with blue pattern, plain background, eyebrow, hairline, nostril,
ear, ear lobe, neck, chin, jaw, lips, smile.
Maybe you went into words that describe things you can’t see like teacher. Maybe even you
Use the word friend. Were any of these words new to you? Watch this part again, pause at the new word and make up a sentence using it. Close your eyes, think of a sentence, think the picture. This will help you remember. Now, the same thing only not me, do yourself. Think words in English that describe your appearance. What you’re wearing. Ten seconds. Go.
Now we’ll look at my environment, where I am now, my office. It’s a little bit messy, it always is
no matter how hard I try. So this is a little seventeen second clip, a scan of my office. Let your
mind bring up all the English words for what you’re seeing.
Now let’s go over some of the words you may have said. Tree, window, window sill,
window pane, office chair, storage cube, light switch, blinds, power lines, tree, shelves, books,
plants, planters, cactus. I have a lot of plants don’t I? Maybe you notice I have some of them up
on two yoga blocks. And some on mixing bowls I turned upside down. I even have a pair of tiny
dumbbells so I can do a quick little ten-minute arm workouts when I need a break from work.
Laptop, door, door knob. What’s this?
It’s a sign I put outside my door when I don’t want to be disturbed.
It’s like a do not disturb sign, only since my kids can’t read,
it’s just an X. What else?
Hinge, floor, baseboard, corner, rug, lights, equipment, cords, outlet, ring light, overhead lights, pull cords for my ceiling fan, magazine, glasses case, poster, flowers, vase, desk, stamps, tissues, papers,
calendar, water bottle, hard drives, candle, lamp, coaster, computer, daybed, pillow, duvet, vent, wall, ceiling, fan. And maybe you saw some things that I didn’t even notice. Maybe some of the things you saw, you didn’t know the English word for. And now you do. Now, you’re going to do
this for yourself, your own environment. An exercise like this is great because it’s simple
and it can have a couple of benefits. First, when you tell yourself I’m going to think
of these things in English. It trains your brain to do just that. To think in English without
having to translate from your own native language. The other benefit is you’re building
vocabulary that is incredibly useful to you. Because you’re using words in your
life relevant for you. For example, the word ring light. From my office is not relevant to most people. But around you, everything is a word that it would be useful for you to know in English. First, do the exercise for just ten seconds where you name things in English, go!
Now take a minute to look around your environment
more, is there anything that you don’t know how to say in English? Think just three of these
things and look them up in a translator. Get the English word, think it a few times or say
- Look at the object. Close your eyes and visualize yourself making the scan around your
room again. And thinking the word in English. If you have a method of tracking and learning
vocabulary, add these new words to your list. Now, let’s take a scene from a movie. We’re
going to watch it together. It’s a short scene, it’s full of objects. Tell your mind now, name
the things you see in English. Let’s watch.
Hi, how are you?
This scene by the way is from the movie “Good Will Hunting”. A few days ago, I posted on Instagram asking you to suggest movies, TV, even specific scenes to use to learn English and Good Will Hunting is a movie that came up. Thanks everyone for your suggestions. Let’s go back now and name some objects. Okay, we have a lot of people. They all
seem to be men in this shot. We’re in a bar, I see a lot of baseball caps or baseball
hats. He’s wearing a jacket, these are taps, they’re for pouring draft beer out of a keg.
We have a lot of glasses. This looks like it might be an ashtray. You can’t smoke indoors
in the US anymore but this movie is pretty old. Pendant lights. There are a couple of neon
signs. A string of colored lights. This guy has on a watch. He just grabbed a glass of
beer. We start to see another character. Woman. She’s wearing a tank top. It could also be called a camisole. When a shirt or dress has really thin straps like this, we call them spaghetti straps. She has her hair on a ponytail. Now we see another character. She has a bar barrette and you can see the part of her hair. She has on a T-shirt, it’s striped. The flag above also has stripes. He has a cut on his face. He has a logo on his shirt. You can see her collarbone.
You can get really detailed. And don’t forget to look up words you don’t know. This is such a great way to build your vocabulary. Your assignment is:
Do this at least once tomorrow whether you’re at home or somewhere totally new. Take a minute to think of the names of things around you In English. Then put in the comments below where you were when you did this exercise. And if you love it, do it every day. The more consistent you are with asking your mind to think in English, the easier for your mind to go there and respond in English. Now, we’ll review all the words we went over together. See the object, read the word and think the word in your head. Build that connection.
One thing I love about this exercise is how simple it is. Do it while watching TV. Pause it, take a few seconds, and in your head name what you see in English.
Ok let’s step you up to something more advanced, simple sentences. You’ll be using verbs, adjectives, and so on.
Let’s do one together. We’re going to see a photo, this is of my son Stoney, and my niece Emily, on a recent trip to Mexico. You’re going to see it for ten seconds. And I want you to think in your mind, come up with one sentence in English, it can be as simple as it has to be. Now, maybe you can come up with much more than one sentence. Great, keep going, keep coming up with sentences until that timer is done. But if you can only do one sentence, that’s fine too. Okay, here it is.
Did that timer in the corner stress you out? It’s going to be there because I want you to practice thinking quickly. Maybe thinking under a little bit of pressure just like it will be in a conversation. Practicing it makes it easier. Okay, now let’s go over that photo, and we’re going to come up with some sentences that you may have thought of.
Stoney is on Emily’s lap.
They’re sitting in a white plastic chair at a restaurant.
Stoney is eating pancakes with strawberries on top.
Emily has her sunglasses on her head.
They’re both smiling. They look happy.
The floor is tile.
Stoney has a fork in his mouth.
These are just ideas of course. You may have come up with phrases that are totally different but are accurate. There’s no right or wrong here. What we want to focus on here is clearing your head, and going from English. The sentence can be as simple as it has to be. Just start from a place of English from your English vocabulary as you describe what’s happening. Now, if you can’t yet put together a sentence, that’s okay too. Just go back to naming objects: table, chair, mouth. That kind of thing. That is still building the skill of thinking in English, and before you know it, you’ll be able to put together simple sentences too.
For everybody, building the skill of thinking in English is going to let you sound more natural when you’re speaking English, and it’s going to let you join that conversation faster. Okay, let’s look at another picture. You have 10 seconds. Take a deep breath. Get your mind ready to think in English. This is a picture of me, David, and Stoney.
I should have said David is my husband. Okay, now we’re going to go over that picture and come up with some possible sentences, and then I’m going to hit you with three pictures in a row.
They’re at Disney.
They’re all wearing baseball caps.
Rachel’s wearing a striped shirt.
They look excited to be there.
David has a beard.
It may feel silly to just describe a picture and state the obvious, but it does build the skill and it starts from a simple place. So that no matter your level, you can start here, and you can do this. Building the skill to think in English. It’s invaluable. Here are three photos in a row. Ten seconds each. Try to come up with at least one sentence for each, but maybe you can come up with four or five, or maybe even more.
Okay, let’s take a look at those pictures and go over some sentences that you may have come up with. Then we’re going to jump to video clips.
Stoney’s at the beach.
He’s playing in the surf.
The water is foamy.
He’s wearing a red hat.
He’s running out of the water.
This is an action shot.
They’re carving a pumpkin.
Rachel’s taking out the seeds.
Rachel’s wearing flip-flops.
Rachel is squatting.
Stoney is sitting cross-legged.
The boys are wearing matching pajamas.
Sawyer only has two teeth.
Sawyer has his hand on Stoney.
The pajamas are red and gray striped.
They’re sitting on a rug.
They’re both smiling.
Let’s do this same thing now with ten seconds of video.
This is a little bit more of a challenge because there’s more going on.
If it’s too much for you, then just clear your mind and just name one object.
If you find you can do that, and there’s still time then come up with one simple sentence.
Okay. What did you say about that?
They’re eating. Or they’re about to eat. Or Rachel is serving food.
There are lots of different sentences that you could have come up with.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong here.
Let’s go back and watch it and we’ll go over a few more sentences that you might have come up with watching this scene.
Rachel is serving beans and rice.
She’s sitting on a white couch.
There are two little boys in the video.
The plate and fork are green.
It looks like they got takeout.
Before we move on to the next clip, I want to go over a strategy that you can use every day to keep working on this skill. You don’t need to keep watching this video. Go to YouTube, find a video that you like, a person that you like, a channel that you like, and just watch a few seconds of the video, any video, then pause it and just describe it as much as you can in as much detail as you can. If you can’t describe it, if you can only come up with a few words to say, then say those words. And as you do this, your skill will build. Now, it’s great if you watch the video in English because then you’re going to be hearing English, and that’s going to be getting your mind into the English mood for thinking. Now if you see something and you want to name it, you want to describe it, but you don’t know the word, then look it up in your native language in a translating dictionary. I have no problem with that. But then take that word in English, take the new word you’ve learned, and go to a learner’s dictionary. That way you can also read the definition only in English, in simplified terms, so that you can think of the word as an English word. You can help yourself learn it by looking at the English definition and then of course, you’ll also remember because you had that visual from watching the video. Write it down, review it every day for a few weeks, then that word will be added to your vocabulary, and you can start using it again as you are naming objects or coming up with descriptive phrases, maybe that word will come up for you again. But this method, the steps to learn to think in English only work if you do them. So don’t just do them with me here. Do them yourself every day. Just a few minutes. Just commit to it. Okay, let’s take a look at another ten-second clip.
All right, let’s think of some sentences together.
Sawyer is on a tennis court.
He’s wearing all red.
He puts a tennis racket in his mouth.
We pushed the racket out of his mouth.
He doesn’t seem to care.
And that’s it. You can do this. I know you can. The payoff is huge.
To be able to start thinking in English, to recall words and sentences in English, and not have to translate in your own head, is going to let you join the conversation so much faster, you’re going to feel so much more confident, so just do it, put in a little time to train this habit. You’re going to love the payoff.
Great. Ok, now we’re going to do some exercises where you’re going beyond describing what you see, and you’re answering questions.
Now we’ve already done a few videos where we started building the skill of thinking in English. We started with naming objects and then describing sentences. Now, you’re being hit with conversation. You’re going to be asked a question. And there will be ten seconds for you to answer. Now if you can’t come up with something, some questions will be easier than others, that’s okay. If you can’t form a whole sentence, just think of the words you might use when describing, when answering that question. So for example, if the question is: What would you do if you won $10,000? You could say: Mexico, beach, vacation. If you can’t come up with something more full. For example: I would take my family on vacation to Mexico. I’d get a house on the beach and we would all have the time of our lives. So whatever your level is, you can still respond in one way or another. Alright, let’s get started. Here is your first question.
Hey how are you doing today?
That’s a pretty simple question. You can answer with just one word. Fine or great. Maybe if you’re a little bit more comfortable with English, your mind went a little further and in your mind, you said: I’m great, how are you? That’s awesome! Wherever you are, it doesn’t matter, that’s your starting point and putting in the work will help you get better. As we go forward with these questions, you may find that you give very simple answers or that you can talk for days, that’s great! Pause the video and keep talking, keep working on that skill of answering in English.
Are you tempted to speak out loud? That’s actually okay. I’m fine with that. I know this video is about training your mind to think in English, but if you’re speaking it instead, that’s okay. The one thing to be careful of is that you’re not thinking it in your native language first, and then translating it. If you find that you keep thinking in your native language, then you probably need to simplify what you’re doing, so rather than trying to put together a sentence, just think of words in English that you would use in an answer, okay? So bring it back as simply as you need to, as far back as you need to in simplification, in order to be able to do it in only English, thinking in English, or speaking in English with none of your native language involved.
What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?
So what is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Maybe you answered in one word: bagels, or maybe you got more elaborate with your answer: For breakfast I love a David’s bagel, New York City cinnamon raisin toasted with plain cream cheese. Maybe orange juice with some pulp on the side. Okay, here’s your next question.
When’s the last time you needed an umbrella?
Okay so you see how this works. You don’t know the question ahead of time. You’re asked it and you have to think on your feet. You have to quickly jump in, answer that in English. And if you’re having too hard of a time doing that, and your mind keeps going to your native language, then drop answering the question and just say words that you would say in your answer like: bagel, or cream cheese, or whatever. Wherever you are, I’m going to keep saying it. Wherever you are, that’s okay, that’s your starting point. Love it and take one step forward by practicing. I know a lot of people like to learn about how to get better at something, but then it’s hard to actually put in the time for the training. And it’s a challenge. I’m putting you on the spot here. Question after question. But you can do this. You’re now going to get two full minutes of questions. If you get frustrated or flustered, just skip that question. Just take your breath, and just breathe until the next question, and start again from scratch, okay?
Here we go.
What shoes do you think are the most comfortable?
What’s your favorite movie and why?
What’s your dream job?
Did you sleep well last night?
What did you have for dinner yesterday?
Who is your favorite teacher and why?
Can you tell me how to get to the closest restaurant?
I love opera but what’s your favorite kind of music?
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go and what would you do there?
How did you celebrate your last birthday?
Tell me about your family.
You’re still watching, you did it! You stuck with me and you trained your mind to think in English.
Depending on your level, this is easy and fun, or this is hard and tiring.
Either way, doing it every day will take you further down the road to where you want to be, to where you can join English conversation quickly, speak English fast, and just feel confident about your skills.
Oo, I liked that. And I think you can do more.
Ok, here’s another question: What’s one thing you hope to achieve this year?
You may have started your answer with “I hope to”, “I want to”, “I plan to”, or “I will”.
Or maybe, “One of my goals is.” Here’s my answer:
One of my goals this year is to get to know some of my YouTube audience a little more personally
through my YouTube membership. Hmmm, they might not know about it, I should tell them to click the join video below this video. Remember: some of you can put together endless sentences in English, and some can’t. Wherever you are, build on that. If you can only come up with a few words, that’s okay. At the end of this video, I’ll tell you how to build on that. Now I’m going to give you three minutes of
questions in a row. This is a good place to figure out your stamina for this kind of exercise.
The questions will just keep coming at you. Can you stick with it? If you get frustrated,
just wait for the next question. Each question is a chance to start new, bringing up a few words in
English in your mind that relate to that question. Ok, ready? Take a deep breath, let’s do this.
What were you doing this time last year?
Describe one of your best friends.
Name five things you’ve done today.
Why do you want to work on your English skills?
Tell me about one thing that you love about your job.
Tell me one thing you hate about your job.
What do you think is the greatest TV show of all time, and why?
Who are some of your favorite YouTubers and why do you watch them?
Are you satisfied with your financial situation, and, yes or no, why?
You’re going to be trapped on a desert island for 1 year and you can take one person with you. Who, and why did you choose that person?
What’s your favorite season of the year, and why?
Tell me about one of your most frustrating experiences.
If you could be any animal, which would you be and why?
Ok, that part is over, it’s done, and you did it. Let’s talk about a couple of strategies to improve your English based on this exercise. Actually, really quickly, first, I want to let you know that just two months ago, we launched a Think in English course as part of my online school, Rachel’s English Academy. My school focuses heavily on accent training, listening comprehension and spoken English skills. But we recognize that being able to think in English is an important part of that so we’ve added a course to help you train your mind with exercises like this one here to think in English on a regular basis. If you might be interested in this, please check out rachelsenglishacademy.com and sign up, I would love to have you as a student.
Okay, let’s talk about some strategies. First, let’s start with people who found it very hard to think in full sentences in English. You should probably spend some time going back a step, to a more simple exercise of naming objects. You can move on to verbs too. For example, if you see someone: You can think arm and scratch. Then you’ll have the building blocks for “She’s scratching her arm.” And as you look around you, and you’re naming nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, if you don’t know the English word for something, look it up in the dictionary, learn it, add it to your vocabulary list. In this video I do that kind of exercise with you. If you can think in sentences, but you want to get more sophisticated, then you’ll want to do some exercises where you are speaking out loud, recording your answers. Then you can go back and listen or watch your videos and find words that you use over and over again, look up synonyms, a different way to say something, now that you’re taking the time to figure it out.
You can use an online random question generator to give you prompts as you record yourself.
Take the challenge a little bit further. Record a 10-second answer in a video, post it to your Instagram stories, and tag me in it so I can share it. Let’s all do the work, and watch and support each other doing the work. Make this a daily practice and I guarantee you’ll get more comfortable thinking in English and in English conversation. It’s all about practicing spontaneously. When you don’t know what question is coming, you have to think on your feet. You can only use what you know, there’s no time to look something up. So you’ll get better at using what you know, and finding the gaps in what you know. And I can’t wait to have you build your confidence in English conversation. Right now, keep your learning going with this video, and don’t forget to subscribe with notifications on so you never miss a lesson. Huge thanks to all my YouTube membership supporters, I hope you’re enjoying your perks. To learn more about Rachel’s Circle and Rachel’s superstars, which includes exclusive audio lessons, click the join button to know more. Come back tomorrow and watch another lesson, I have over 800 videos here on YouTube. I love being your English teacher. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.