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25 Strategies for Acquiring Basic English Proficiency

Updated: Feb 21

a woman and a man sitting in a lounge speaking together
Practice your speaking


In this article, I list 25 simple strategies you can use to get basic English skills.

Many of the points emphasise strategies for learning English.

But, remember that practice makes perfect and I can help you with that.

So, I will suggest several of My 'simply better' Methods Modules. They will help you practice your English skills.

Strategies for Acquiring Basic English Proficiency

Acquiring basic English proficiency can be a rewarding journey.

It will open doors to communication and opportunities for you.

It doesn't need to be daunting; with the right strategies, anyone can make steady progress. Here are the essential strategies for achieving basic English skills.

1. Vocabulary Building

Vocabulary is the cornerstone of language.

Start by learning common, everyday words.

You don't need to know thousands of words right away.

Some people say that a vocabulary of 2000-3000 English words is enough to 'get by'.

Begin with basic categories like 'family', 'house', 'food', and 'colors'.

Use flashcards or language-learning apps to help you remember and practice.

Read my other articles to help you increase your English vocabulary.

2. Regular Reading

Reading is an excellent way to improve your English.

Begin with simple books, children's stories, or news articles.

Reading helps you encounter new words in context. It also exposes you to correct sentence structure and grammar.

Don't worry about understanding every word at first; focus on the meaning of the sentence.

For more practice in reading comprehension, subscribe to my free Monthly Newsletter.

You will find the form at the Home page.

Read my article that explains the benefits of reading my Newsletter.

3. Listening and Speaking

Practice listening to spoken English.

Watch English-language TV shows, movies, and YouTube videos with subtitles.

Try to mimic the pronunciation and rhythm of the language.

Be careful, though. If the subtitles are voice-generated, mistakes are sometimes made. The program gives subtitles based on what it thinks it hears.

Do engage in conversations, even if they're basic. Speak with friends, language partners, or even yourself, to gain confidence.

4. Grammar Basics

While grammar can be challenging, understanding some basic rules is essential.

Learn about:

verb tenses (past, present, future)

sentence structure (subject-verb-object)

common prepositions (in, on, under etc.)

Grammar workbooks or online exercises can be helpful.

If you need a refresher, I provide basic grammar, especially the tenses in My 'simply better' Method. 

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Practice all your skills and become more confident


Subscribe to my Newsletter to get my free PDFs of Basic English Lessons and Mini-Lessons.

5. Language Apps and Online Courses

There are many language learning apps and online courses available.

They offer:

structured lessons

interactive exercises

 and opportunities to practice listening, speaking, and writing.

Popular choices include Duolingo, Babbel, Rosetta Stone, and Coursera.

6. Daily Practice

Consistency is key.

Set aside a specific time each day for English practice. It could be as little as 15 minutes, but regular practice helps reinforce what you've learned. 

My 'simply better' Method is the perfect way to help you practice on a daily basis, anywhere and anytime.

I have written several articles that explain more about this unique method.

7. Language Exchange Partners

Connect with native English speakers or other learners for language exchange.

You can help them learn your language, and they can help you with English.

This is a fun and effective way to practice speaking. But, read my article that explains why chatting can be counterproductive.

To give you some other advice about speaking, read this article.

bearded man as part of a panel, speaking on microphone between other people
Get better pronunciation

8. Writing Practice

Keep a journal or write short essays in English.

Start with simple topics like describing your day, your favorite food, or your plans for the week.

Writing helps reinforce your vocabulary and grammar knowledge.

9. Join Language Classes

Consider enrolling in English classes at a language school or community college.

These classes often provide structured learning and opportunities to practice with others. Sometimes they are free.

 When you think you've learned enough, then consider getting My 'simply better' Method. It helps you practice the English you've learned.

Stop learning English and start practicing.

Your English will develop as you practice by yourself or with others. And especially if you've taught your partners the method.

10. Immersion

If possible, immerse yourself in an English-speaking environment.

Visit English-speaking countries.

Take part in English-speaking events

Or join English clubs in your local area.

11. Learn from Mistakes

Don't be afraid to make mistakes.

They are a natural part of learning. When you make a mistake, try to understand why it happened, correct it, and move on.

Learning from your errors is a valuable part of the learning process.

12. Use English in Daily Life

Incorporate English into your daily routine.

Important: change your phone and computer settings to English.

Label items around your house with English words. This helps reinforce vocabulary in practical contexts.

Keep a notebook handy to record new vocabulary.

13. Expand Your Horizons

Explore different aspects of the English language.

Learn about idioms, slang, and cultural expressions. These nuances can make your English more natural and relatable.

14. Learn from Native Speakers

Listening to native speakers is vital.

It helps you understand accents, pronunciations, and colloquialisms.

Watch or listen to interviews, podcasts, and radio shows featuring native English speakers.

15. Be Patient and Persistent

Learning a new language takes time.

You won't become fluent overnight. Be patient with yourself and keep practicing, even when progress seems slow.

I urge you to get My 'simply better' Method to practice all your English skills.

16. Set Goals

Create achievable language-learning goals.

Having clear goals gives you something to work towards.

Here's a goal for you: aim to have a five-minute conversation in English with a native speaker in three months.

17. Celebrate Your Progress

Acknowledge your achievements along the way.

Maybe you, ordered a meal in English.

Or understandood the words of a song.

Small wins are important motivators to keep advancing.

18. Cultural Awareness

Are you planning to move (or travel) to another English speaking country?

It's beneficial, then, to become familiar with the culture of that country.

Understanding English-speaking cultures can enhance your language skills.

Learn about:

  • customs

  • holidays

  • and traditions

They will improve your ability to engage in conversations with native English speakers.

19. Self-Study

Take initiative in your learning.

Explore English websites, read or watch English news programs, and watch documentaries or educational videos. There are vast online resources to aid your progress.

Subscribe to my Newsletter. It's easy to do and takes minutes to sign up at the Home page.

As a subscriber, you get my Basic English lessons and Mini-lessons. Plus many other benefits.

20. Get Feedback

Don't be afraid to seek feedback from native speakers or teachers.

Constructive criticism can help you focus on areas where you need to improve.

21. Use English in Your Hobbies

Integrate English into your hobbies and interests.

If you enjoy cooking, follow English recipes.

If you love music, listen to English songs and learn the lyrics.

22. Learn the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA)

Understanding the IPA can help you with pronunciation and accents. It's a handy tool to learn.

I teach you this alphabet in My 'simply better' Pronunciation Module.

23. Study Common Phrases

As well as individual words, learn common phrases for various situations.

For example, what would you need to learn to say:

  • as greetings or farewells?

  • while shopping?

  • asking for directions?

Learn phrasal verbs, idioms and other expressions to develop your vocabulary. Search online for these. There are many resources available.

24. Keep Learning Fun

Learning English should be enjoyable. Learning grammar rules can be boring and difficult.

So, to take a break, engage in activities you find fun.

Watch English cartoons (great for listening comprehension practice).

Play English word games (ideal for practicing and developing your vocabulary).

Or trying English cooking recipes (wonderful for reading comprehension).

But be very careful here: know what a tablespoonful or a pinch of salt means!

25. Seek Professional Help

Often, there is only so much you can do by yourself to get better at English.

If you're struggling, think about taking lessons with a tutor. They can provide personalized guidance and address your specific needs.

Be aware, that working with a personal tutor or taking classes can be expensive.

Do keep in mind that I have available My 'simply better' Methods to practice all your skills.

They are very affordable and for just one payment.

Practice by yourself, or with a friend.

Free and Friendly Learning Support is available if you have problems.


Remember, the journey to basic English proficiency is different for each individual.

What's most important:

  • staying motivated

  • consistent practice

  • and using the strategies that work best for you.

This article has provided 25 practical strategies you can do.

I have explained that Apex English Tutoring has solutions too.

My methods will guide you on your journey to getting great English.

Get My 'simply better' 4-Step Plan to Get Great English. The form is at the Home page.

With dedication and patience, you can achieve your goal of basic English proficiency.

And unlock a world of opportunities for communication and personal growth.

Further Reading

© Apex English Tutoring - First published Nov 2023 - Updated Jan 2024

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About Me

Hello and welcome!

My name is Michael Finemore and I am the owner-operator of Apex English Tutoring.

As an experienced English Teacher, I'm passionate about helping people turn their 'poor' English into great English, with easy and effective ways to practice.

If you liked this article tell your 'tribe' about it.  Click any of the 'socials' below to share it.

Let's connect!

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