How to learn English for free: 3 common tools and detailed instructions for each

    Learning English has long been a business. The speed of study is measured in money, and many tutors argue that learning English on their own is even harmful - you will have to relearn.

    But in fact, you can learn English cheaply or even free of charge. And even the most commonplace methods can be turned into effective tools for learning.
    True, we immediately warn that for independent study you need excellent motivation and willpower. Indeed, in fact, you are the only controller of your training.

    The main requirement for independent studies is systematic. If you often feel the urge to be too lazy or postpone classes for later, it is better to spend money and hire a tutor or go to a language school for group classes.
    In this article, we have compiled the top 3 most effective ways that you can learn English for free. You know them for sure and you probably use them yourself, but we have developed detailed instructions on how to use these methods for the greatest positive effect. Go.

    Method 1. Reading books, newspapers, and magazines

    The most obvious way that brings tremendous results. Reading develops several important aspects of the language at once: the use of grammatical constructions, the accumulation of vocabulary, and understanding of the context.

    At the same time, reading various kinds of print and Internet publications develops different skills:

    • Books - especially classical literature - develop vocabulary and fluid language. Only with the help of books can you appreciate the real diversity of the language and learn the subtleties of its use.
    • Newspapers will help develop the brevity of the language and the logic of the presentation of thoughts in English. After all, the news format is aimed precisely at giving as much information as possible in the shortest possible volumes.
    • Magazines develop the ability to describe events, people, objects, and also improve the brightness and versatility of the language. After all, journalists are masters in using bright epithets, unusual phrases and phrases.

    How to read for maximum benefit.

    English texts cannot be read the way you read Russian. Once here is not enough, even if you have a dictionary at hand, and you are promptly looking for unfamiliar words.

    For good results you need 3 readings. Therefore, we recommend breaking large texts into small fragments of half or a third of the page.

    Of course, with such a duplicate reading, the understanding of the plot will suffer a little, but the language will be fully understood.

    The first reading. Context, Grammar and Vocabulary

    When you read a text for the first time, you should grasp its general meaning. Understanding what the author writes about is the main thing. You may not know the meaning of individual words or idioms, you may not fully understand the grammatical constructions or use of tenses.

    If the text is not clear at all, then it is better to take something simpler. It is not necessary to rape your brain with a completely incomprehensible text - this will not be useful and will only kill the motivation to study.

    A little trick. While reading, mentally mark unknown words and phrases and using logic or intuition try to guess what they mean. This is a great exercise that will help you in the future to fully understand the context of what is written, even if individual words are unknown.
    Let's look at an example from an excerpt from Francis Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

    "In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since. "Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, 'he told me,' just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."

    Assume that in this passage you have one unknown word (vulnerable) and two incompletely understood grammatical constructions. The general meaning is clear.

    You need to think about what the word vulnerable means, or at least determine its mood. It clearly refers to youth. And what can be young years? Inexperienced, immature, active, flowering. You do not know the exact meaning, but the main thing is to determine the direction.

    The second reading. Complete analysis of unknown words, phrases and grammatical constructions

    Here you need to arm yourself with English-Russian and explanatory dictionaries, as well as grammar guides. Or have the Internet with similar online resources at hand.

    It is necessary to fully illuminate all dark and incomprehensible places. The task of the second reading is to provide 100% understanding of all the nuances of the text.

    This is a little boring. Especially when there are many such nuances. But this stage is extremely important. Without it, reading will not be learning.
    First, analyze in detail unknown words. We have one thing - vulnerable.

    To begin with, we look at the translation:

    Vulnerable - vulnerable, vulnerable.

    The better you understand the context, the closer the meaning of the word will be in guessing.

    Be sure to look at unfamiliar words in the explanatory dictionary in English.

    Vulnerable - able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally hurt, influenced, or attacked.

    This will help you further expand your vocabulary and create associations with unknown words.

    Next, we see an incomprehensible grammar.

    I've been - this is the usual Present Perfect Continuous, which describes the action in the process.

    People haven't had- The usual Present Perfect in negative form. But the fact that the first have is used as an auxiliary verb, and the second as meaningful, can be confusing. Therefore, to be sure, we are looking for examples of sentences that use the same phrase. To do this, use the Context Reverso website .
    So gradually deal with all unknown words, phrases and grammar. After the second reading, you should absolutely accurately understand the entire text.

    Third reading. Integrity of speech, second meaning, humor

    With the help of the third reading, you can understand the subtext - if it is, of course, there is. When you read newspapers or magazines, you can skip the third reading - in periodicals there is no context in 99% of cases.

    But in classical literature it is almost always there. A third reading will help to imbue the work. And with its help, humor is much better perceived.

    Although classic English humor is extremely difficult to understand even from the tenth reading. So it already depends on the author. In some books, the question may arise: "Where can I laugh?" And this is normal.

    The third reading is polishing the language and an additional exercise for memorizing phrases that the author uses. So you can use in conversation not just new individual words, but whole phrases. In this case, you will absolutely know exactly when and how to use them.

    Really free?

    Now we’ll make sure that reading English literature, magazines and newspapers is free.

    There are many websites on the Internet where you can download literature in English. Works written more than 50 years ago are not subject to copyright. Therefore, they are available everywhere.

    For example, on sites:

    You can simply drive the name of the book you want to read into the search engine. It is more complicated with modern ones, but you can also find them if you wish.

    Online versions of magazines become available as early as six months to a year after release. Almost every official website of the magazine has free archives with old issues. Choose the ones you like the most. There are also separate archive sites on which various magazines are collected. For example, EBSCO .

    You can also read newspapers online on news sites - the information and style there is absolutely consistent with print media. We recommend CNN , The New York Times , Huffington Post and The Guardian .

    Tips for working with texts:

    1. Be sure to keep a special dictionary of unknown words and write down new words and expressions. You can conduct it online on special resources like EnglishDom , Lingualeo , DuoLingo .
    2. Work with texts thoughtfully, with maximum concentration, try not to be distracted from them. It is best to read at home, in a comfortable chair, but not in the subway or during the lunch break at work.
    3. Read every day at least 1-2 pages of text with its full analysis. This is 20-40 minutes of time, depending on the speed of reading and the complexity of the text. More is possible, less is not. But we also do not recommend reading more than 2 hours a day - attention drops dramatically and the result suffers from this.
    4. Read the literature that brings you pleasure. If you like Harry Potter or The Lord of the Rings, read it. But you should not learn English with the help of an English textbook on economics, even if very good.

    Method 2. Original movies and TV shows

    Another obvious method. However, it works just fine if used properly.

    Watching the movie also pumps up several important aspects of the English language at once:

    • The perception of speech by ear and understanding of the interlocutor who speaks at a normal pace.
    • Understanding acronyms, slang expressions, accents and dialects.
    • The perception of modern live speech, which is used now.

    Many English tutors argue that watching movies in the original is possible only with a language level of at least Upper-intermediate. Like, with weaker knowledge, the language simply will not be perceived. But this is a bit wrong. Now let's explain why.

    There are 2 ways to watch movies: with subtitles (of course, English) and without.
    Important! Do not try to watch English-language films with Russian subtitles. This is harmful for a comprehensive understanding of the language.

    How to watch movies with subtitles

    In some ways, it resembles working with text. Therefore, this method is suitable even for people who do not fully perceive speech by ear or do not understand it at all.

    You need to work with each replica separately to fully hear how it sounds.

    Here's what you need to do specifically:

    1. You listen to the line and read the subtitles. If everything is completely clear, continue browsing.
    2. If there is an unknown word or an incomprehensible phrase - stop browsing and look for the meaning in the dictionary.
    3. After the meaning of the word or phrase is found, write it into the dictionary, and again listen to the phrase.

    Let's get an example right away. Take the passage from the Lord of the Rings saga. If anything - we have a gif without sound here - a schematic example after all :)

    First you listen and read the text. In our case, this is:

    Let him go!
    Or I'll have you, Long Shanks!

    Suppose we are confused by the phrase “Or I'll have you . A translation like “I will have you” somehow does not correspond to reality. Although in the Russian sense it is even very good.

    Indeed, “Or I'll have you ” translates as “Or I'll make you .

    Next is Long Shanks. If it is capitalized, it may be a name, but from the context (which is not in the gif) it will be clear that this is something like an insulting nickname.

    And we turn out to be right, because “longshanks” are “long-legged”. That from the lips of a hobbit really sounds like an insult.

    We record both phrases and continue viewing.
    Of course, you have to stop the movie many times. Still, this is training, so you need to write out all the unknown words and phrases.

    This method is suitable for students already from the Pre-intermediate level. After all, the main load goes to work with the text, and listening to the voice is a bonus that allows you to hear the lively sound of phrases.

    How to watch movies without subtitles

    This is a completely different level of training. Watching and understanding a movie without subtitles is ten times more difficult than with them.

    Why is that?

    • You may simply not know the words or phrases that the characters use.
    • Heroes can speak inaudibly or too quickly, because of which it is impossible to understand what they are about.
    • An actor may have an emphasis that will further complicate the task.

    In general, there are many reasons why you may not understand dialogues at all. But for the training to bear fruit, one must still learn to perceive the language by ear in full.

    Therefore, there is a trick. Download a movie with subtitles and turn them off while watching. If after two or three views of the cue you don’t even understand what the character is saying, then just turn on the subtitles, read the text, and then listen to the passage again.

    If it is only a matter of speech, this is a matter of training. Soon you will get used to them and will be able to understand even fluent dialogs. If the matter is lack of vocabulary, then it is worthwhile to push books and online exercises, which we will discuss below.

    When watching movies, you don’t need to know the translation of 100% of the words. It is much more important to learn to perceive the context of speech when a native speaker speaks at her usual speed. If you understand the dialogues of the heroes without stopping the video and turning on the subtitles, then this will be a great training, even if some words remain unknown. However, you can always return to them a little later.

    Really free?

    Yes, many online cinemas have the option of watching movies with subtitles. But it's better to look at English-language sites - like BluRay Cinema - there is more choice.

    If you cannot find a movie with subtitles, you can download them separately and attach to the movie. On Subscene and Opensubtitle sitess you can find subtitles for almost any movie, even the newest.

    We hope you are in the know where to download films in English. If anything, a torrent to help you.

    Method 3. Sites for learning English in a playful way

    On the Internet there are a huge number of training sites where you can learn English in a playful way.

    The main advantage of such sites is that when you do the exercises and make a mistake, the system will point you to it. You simply will not have a chance to learn and use the wrong version of a word or phrase in the future.

    What are specialized sites uploaded?

    Yes, absolutely all aspects of English! Depends only on the exercises that you use. Although usually they are selected for a comprehensive study of the language.

    Let's look at an example:

    You see a personal account in which you are immediately offered to go through the exercises selected for you.

    The entire training system is based on the principles of gaining experience from online games. In fact, you complete the task, gain experience for it and fill the scale. When enough tasks are completed in one day, the system will tell you about it.

    There are many similar sites, but the most popular are 3 of them: EnglishDom , LinguaLeo and DuoLingo . In principle, you can take classes immediately at all - there will be no harm from this. But we recommend that you try all of them and choose one site that will be the most pleasant and convenient for you to use.

    All sites have a free and paid subscription. Paid really expands opportunities, but for good results it will be quite enough and free.

    We recommend using services to learn a language with a complex in the two previous methods - books and films. Together, the results will be remarkable, even despite some banality of these tools.

    Learning English without money is real. Even in such "ordinary" ways, like reading, watching movies and online classes. The main thing is to do all this correctly and systematically. Then the results will not be long in coming. - an online English learning platform

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