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Think in English

One of the best ways to improve your fluency is to think in English. Most non-native English speakers are still translating from their own native language into English in their heads. This can lead to unclear conversations because, as you’ve probably seen for yourself, not all words or phrases translate exactly from one language to another. But, if you can train your brain to start thinking in English, you just might find that conversations become a little bit easier. So, in order to get you started on the path to not just speaking and reading in English, but also thinking in English, I’ve created some tips that might help:

Start small

This is as simple as using the words that you know. And it’s as easy as thinking “I want an apple for breakfast” or “Should I go to the store today?”

Start slow

Take your time and speak slowly to yourself in your thoughts. You could begin with just one short sentence and repeat it over and over for a few minutes.

Memorize a short meditation

Remember those positive thoughts we talked about in the “mindset” chapter? Repeat those to yourself in your mind several times for a few minutes, meditating on the meaning as you say them to yourself.

Learn a song

Song lyrics are easy to remember because the tune and rhythm helps the words “stick.” Think or sing a favorite song to yourself! Is there a real-life situation where you might use the words in the song?

Use an English-to-English dictionary

When you want to find the meaning of word, never use a bilingual dictionary if you can help it. You’ll be able to think in English faster if you start learning new words in English with English definitions and examples.

Be Imperfect

It’s totally fine to make mistakes, I mean; you’re in your own head so who’s going to know?

Identify objects

Start making note of what’s around you; on your desk, the parts of your car or bike, in your kitchen. Start labeling those things in English, in your head.


Plan for the future, plan a trip, plan your day. But do it in English.

Make up stories

This one is my favorite! Start with a short story that you might tell a child and see how complicated you can make it only using the English words you know!

Make up conversations

Is there a conversation you would like to have? Maybe a situation you are anticipating? Imagine a conversation in your mind based on what you would say the next time you have the chance to speak English.


Your mind is a powerful visualization machine! Think of words or phrases and images to go along with them. You could identify objects in your mind, or imagine the phrase spelled out in your mind like text in a book.

Note what you don’t know and find the answers!

Whenever you are unsure, write yourself a note with your questions about grammar or vocabulary. Then, find out the answers. You can do this by asking help from your friends who speak the language, ask your teacher or search online.

Make nonsense

It’s ok if your thoughts don’t make sense in English. Even in our native language sometimes our thoughts don’t make sense, right? The important thing is to think using English words. So, try making a weird and wacky nonsensical poem, or just let your mind wander freely in English! The crazier, the better! Go wild!

Try free writing

Free writing is when you let your thoughts go wild on paper. Using paper and pencil, or your laptop, just write anything that comes to mind in English. Time yourself. Start with 10 minutes and add more minutes each time you do this exercise. Don’t stop until the time is up! This is a good way to push yourself to stay in English and produce more thoughts without stopping.

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