16 tips from 2016: clean up your English and learn like a master

16 Tips from 2016 - clean up your English and learn like a master

2017 is about to start and I’d like to ask you a question:

“How good will your English be at the end of 2017?”

Think about it for a second.

It’s amazing how much you can learn and how much you can improve in just one year. And the best thing? It doesn’t have to be hard work.

When learning a language, the most important thing is to practice regularly. Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference.

Today, I’m looking back at all our posts of 2016 and bringing you the best ones.

What I’m asking from you is this:

Choose a few pieces of advice from these posts, and work on them every day in January. Then send me a message: How did you feel? Did it motivate you to continue regular practice?

While looking back at all our posts, I noticed that the most popular ideas fall into four different categories:

  1. Big grammar — full grammar lessons on one topic
  2. Big vocab — big vocabulary lessons
  3. Little grammar hacks — simple grammar tricks that you can use immediately
  4. Self-study — tips on how to include English into your daily routine

So here they are!

Big grammar

1. The conditionals

two people and a rabbit

I never understood why most course books teach the conditionals (“if” sentences) separately. They all follow the same rule.

In this blog post, we look at how the rule works and how it changes depending on how “real” the situation is.

There’s also a very dangerous rabbit in this one. So watch out! Click here.

2. Is it “a” or “the”?

three elderly gentlemen

Articles (“a,” “an” and “the”) are often quite confusing for learners of ALL levels of English.

In this infographic, you can see how articles work. There’s a logical way of looking at it, and a way that’s more about the feeling. You’ll also learn most of the irregular uses of articles — all in the same infographic! Click here.

3. The passive

The cat was chased by the rat.

The passive in English is much easier than you think it is. In fact, there’s actually just one rule.

In this post, I give you the one rule you need to be able to use the passive like an expert. Then we look at examples that include a mouse chasing a cat. Click here.

4. Present perfect

Oh my God! You've changed your hair!

This tense is probably the most famous English tense.

I love this tense. I find it really beautiful because it’s a way to express the past and the present at the same time. There are several different situations when we can use the present perfect, but they all work on one simple principle.

After you read this post, you’ll have a much stronger general feeling for the present perfect. Click here.

5. The Future

a girl making a prediction

When you talk about the future, which tense do you use?

Do you always say “will” for any future situation? Did you know that there are at least 10 more ways we can talk about the future?

In this post, you’ll learn 10 alternatives to “will” and how each of them works in different ways. Click here.

Big Vocab

6. Proverbs

When in Rome, do as the Romans.

Proverbs are a great way to “feel” a language. They give you a window into how the culture of the language works.

They’re also great fun to learn and when you use them, people will admire your English!

In this post, you’ll learn 5 common proverbs. But that’s not all! I’ll also show you a trick you can use with most proverbs that makes you sound like an expert English speaker. Click here.

7. Personality adjectives

The Good-With-People Guy

I often say that words are just like people. And they are! When we make characters for our new words, they can be easier to learn.

Describing people is a very useful skill to have in English. But people are complicated.

In this post, I help you learn the most common personality adjectives and the types of people we know. Click here.

Little grammar hacks

8. When to use “-ing”

a girl and a tank

Sometimes, there’s a simple rule that can solve 100 problems.

In this post, find out how to get “-ing” right 80% of the time with one simple trick. Click here.

9. “In,” “on” or “at”?

I'm on the street.

Believe it or not, there is a bit of a system behind three of the English language’s most common prepositions.

In this post, we see two different people use different prepositions for the same place. Why? It’s all about the feeling that these prepositions give us. Click here.

10. Blue-red-blue

Everything is blue / red / blue

There’s one part of English that I think is the most important when you want to speak clearly and like an expert. If you can control this part, then you have the tools to master the language quickly and easily.

What is it?

It’s getting the words in the right order!

Fortunately, I have the perfect hack to help you see how it all works. (It’s really simple.) Click here.

11. “Make” or “do”?

make friends!

This is one of the most common questions I get from learners. “Make” and “do” are very common verbs that we use in lots of different situations.

Most languages only have one word, but we have two. How do you know which one to use?

It’s quite simple with this basic hack. Click here.


12. Sing in the shower

two men singing in the shower

When learning a language, routine is very, very important. We don’t all have a lot of time to dedicate to studying.

But fortunately there are tricks to make the most of the time you have.

This one is proven to increase your confidence, grammar, vocabulary, writing skills, listening skills and speaking skills.

And it’s fun! Click here.

13. 8 surprising tips to make your English study more powerful

woman drinking tea

There are lots of small things that you can do to work on your English today.

I put together some of the most unusual and surprising, but excellent, advice you can take to get your English where you want it to be.

Even if you only choose one of these tips to do every day, you will quickly see your English improving. Click here.

14. What should I watch in English?

English teacher talking to a cat

Watching “real English” can drive you crazy because it’s sometimes sooooo difficult to understand.

But watching “learner English” isn’t satisfying, because you know it’s easier than normal English.

What should you do?

In this post, I explain how to get the right balance between easy and difficult, and show you some great places online where you can practice my advice. Click here.

15. Activate your English

Collocations with "commit"

There are over 1,000,000 words in English. This means that no one can ever “finish” English, which is good news, right?

Remember, learning a word is about more than learning its meaning. You need to learn how to use it. In this post, you’ll learn how to use a simple piece of modern technology to get a really “deep” understanding of a word.

Words are just like people. If you really want to know them, you have to meet their friends. Click here.

16. How to improve your English writing and happiness in 10 minutes a day

smiling man

What if I told you that there was a very simple exercise, which only takes 10 minutes a day, that you can do to improve your English writing skills AND that makes you a happier person?

You’d try it for sure, right?

This post explains this simple technique and some of the science behind it. Start making yourself happier today! Click here.

So thanks for being a part of this, for reading and for commenting (and for sharing)!

I’m really looking forward to continuing writing these posts and helping you with your English in 2017.

10 thoughts on “16 tips from 2016: clean up your English and learn like a master

  1. Thank you for this excellent summary! I have enjoying reviewing your posts. All of them have great and helpful tips.

  2. Great summary and fantastic lessons! I’ve found this post accidentally and I’m happy to have these lessons in my collection:-) What I love the most in your lessons is that they’re always interesting, useful and easy to understand! Thank you so much! You make a difference!

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