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Want to THINK in English during conversations? Are you tired of translating in your head all the time? I got you!
Today we’re working on the skill of thinking in English. This means you can come up with what to say faster, join the conversation faster, and join in more easily with more confidence. You don’t have to translate in your head. You can just jump right in to an American English conversation in English.
This is one of the biggest problems my students say they have. Thinking of what to say when in a conversation. I can relate to that. I had the same problem when I was living in Germany. I was stuck at an intermediate level, and I had a hard time jumping into the next phase, the next level where I was more comfortable joining into a conversation spontaneously.
The good news is you can actually train your brain to think in English. I made a video recently where I went over some strategies. And in this video, we take one of those strategies and we go deep. It’s a training video. While we train your brain to think in English, we may discover some words you don’t know yet, great! It’s going to be a vocabulary builder video for you too.
Now, if you like this video or you learned something new, please like it and subscribe. It helps a lot.
So today, we’re working on your ability to put together descriptive sentences. We recently did a video where we looked at a picture and named objects that was just nouns. So now, we’re going to be moving on. We’re going to be using verbs, adjectives, maybe adverbs in addition. 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 pajama.
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 it 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. In the next video in this series where we’re training you to think in English, we’re going to be taking a step forward, a step higher, and it’s going to be conversational prompts. So not just describing sentences, but actually answering a question in the moment.
I make new videos on the English language every Tuesday. Please subscribe with the notifications and come on back. We have fun together. Let’s watch videos together again on Tuesday. The next video you should watch now to keep on learning is this one that YouTube has picked for you out of all of my videos. It thinks it’s a great match for you. I do too. Click it and watch it. That’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English!