Category: Learn English Online

these are some useful fluency tips

5 Useful Fluency Tips

Do you feel like your speaking skills are getting rusty?  Are you looking for some fluency tips to help you sound more natural and confident when you speak the language you’re studying?  I am going to give you some examples from my own study routine.  

As many of you know, my first language is English and I am learning Spanish and Galician and I also speak Portuguese, so fluency is something I work on regularly.  When I don’t practice, I feel my speaking skills become weak and it quickly becomes tough to remember words and have good pronunciation.  Here are some tips I’ve come up with that you might benefit from. 


repeat the pronunciation of a native speaker
Repetition is key to improving your pronunciation


#1 Repeat Quickly to Improve Pronunciation 

Repetition is essential when you are learning new words.  You need to repeat the word and say it many times before you become able to remember it and use it in conversation.  

Listen to a native speaker say the word and then practice saying it slowly, then speed it up to mimic the intonation of the native speaker.  Try to repeat the native speaker’s musicality.  You can do this with audio books, podcasts, TV series, or with the audio that comes with language textbooks. 


For instance, I recently took a 1v1 Skype Spanish class with one of my Spanish teachers on italki, Salvador in order to practice vocabulary for an interview.  After the class, my notes looked like this: 

write notes from a 1v1 lesson and then listen to the audio to practice your speaking skills.
Ask your teacher to make an audio for you to listen to and practice during the week.

I was staring at my notes the next day and realized that it wasn’t going to be too useful to study these notes in order to improve my speaking.  So, I asked the teacher if he could make an audio for me in order for me to practice the sentences and possible answers on my own.  

That way, I could practice the sentences while I walk the dog and keep listening to the sentences over and over again.  I listen to a sentence, pause the audio, then repeat, first slowly, then more quickly. The technique was effective, efficient, personalized, and highly motivating because it applied to my situation, my level, and my needs.  My friend Shayna offers wonderful courses to improve your pronunciation on her site, Espresso English. 

speak with native speakers and non-native speakers
Speak as much as possible with as many people as you can.

#2 Speak with Native Speakers and Non-Native Speakers

I recently spoke to a student who told me she didn’t like to practice speaking English unless it was with a native speaker.  I truly disagree with this mentality because, despite who we are speaking with, we learn by speaking. 

So, the more you speak, whether it be with a native speaker or a non-native speaker, you will improve your fluency.  You may be surprised that you learn more from non-native speakers than from native speakers because they understand the language from a different perspective. In my opinion, we should copy the intonation and pronunciation of native speakers, but when it comes to practicing our skills, it is best to practice with anyone you can, as often as you can. 

A young girl came to live in my city in Spain from the United States and she wanted to speak Spanish with me, instead of English because she wanted a true immersion experience and really wanted to improve her speaking skills in Spanish.  I thought this was a smart decision on her part because most people would speak with me in English if that was their first language.  

So, I came to this realization while participating in a Spanish-speaking club.  In the club, we speak with a partner in Spanish and practice weekly vocabulary about a theme we are focusing on.  While working with partners, I got to speak with Alex, a guy who lives in the United States, but who speaks Spanish very well.  So, I actually became even more inspired by speaking with him because I realized you can become fluent even if you don’t live in a Spanish-speaking country. 

One thing to keep in mind, though is that you might find yourself comparing yourself to other non-native speakers.  If someone speaks much better than you, you might find yourself getting down on yourself and feeling frustrated because you wish you spoke that well.  Before you start getting stuck in that mentality, you have to realize that comparing yourself to others only impedes your language growth.  You don’t know how long that person has been studying that language or what their situation is.  Try to cultivate an energy of hope and of positivity.  Look at the person and think to yourself, “That is awesome and they speak so well!”  Then, envision yourself speaking the language really well and getting compliments about your speaking abilities.  It is better to think about how much you have grown and on your own goals.  Think about what steps you need to take next in order to improve your language goals. 

write first, then speak
Writing can be an entry point into practicing speaking with more confidence.

#3 Write first, then Speak to Improve Fluency  

I’ve written a long blog post about the “Write Speak, Speak Right” method that I’ve coined from working with one of my students.  The method helped my student break through the C1 barrier to reach the C2 level. She has been able to process information through writing and translate the words to her spoken English.  She told me that the writing method we used gave her time to think about how she wanted to express herself. Our focus during class was on writing, but she also said the sentences out loud and noticed an impressive jump in her fluency.  Writing can be an entry point into clear, effective communication.  

The “write first” method can be especially useful when it comes to exam preparation because you have a chance to brainstorm vocabulary from a variety of topics that will surely help you on the speaking and writing sections of your exam under pressure.  

You can write a paragraph response based on a writing prompt, potential ways to respond to questions at a job interview, or practice telling a story in your target language.

read comics out loud
Since comics have natural language, they are useful tools to practice speaking.

#4 Read Comics Out Loud for Greater Fluency

Reading comics out loud is a brilliant language learning tip that you probably have never thought of.  Comics show real dialogue and the characters use slang, common expressions, and authentic language. If you practice reading what the characters say out loud, your fluency will see a big leap forward. 

I thought of this while working on Galician.  I have a book that shows some natural, colloquial dialogue between characters in comics.  I started reading the sentences out loud and I realized how nice the method was to improve my Galician fluency skills.  Then, I tried it with Spanish and Portuguese and I found a comic in English and looked in the speech bubbles and mimicked what they were saying.  I started using this skill more with students in my English classes and it worked incredibly well. My students started feeling emotions while they read because comics show sadness, happiness, joy, anger, and surprise. 

netflix can help your fluency and speaking skills
Watch series in your target language, pause the audio, and repeat phrases and sentences with better intonation and pronunciation.

#5 Pause the Audio on Netflix, Repeat

 Recently, I got a great fluency trip from a friend who uses an approach that seems obvious, but that few people actually use.  He said he watches his favorite show in Spanish, La Resistencia with subtitles, pauses the audio, and practices saying the expressions out loud.  I find this to be extremely motivating and brilliant. I started trying it in my target languages and realized how effective it is because, first of all, you’re learning real expressions that are commonly used. Secondly, you’re repeating the intonation and pronunciation just like native speakers.  Thirdly, it is a fun way to improve your fluency because it is pleasurable to watch Netflix. Below, you will see a recent Reel on instragram I made using this method!


These five tips will help you move towards speaking more naturally and confidently in your target language.  Don’t forget that you actually have to open your mouth and speak to improve your fluency.  Listening isn’t enough.  In fact, think of ways you can transform a listening activity into a speaking activity or a writing activity into a speaking activity.   Finally, try to design your study routine where everything you do leads to speaking. 

language learning integrating all of the skills
Make an effort to integrate the four language skills into your training and connect every activity with speaking and fluency

If you’re looking for more information about the conversation club I offer in English, you can find it here! 




The Definite Article in English


When Do you Use the Definite Article in English?

➡️In English, there are two kinds of articles: definite articles and indefinite articles.  An article is a word that comes before a noun.  However, there is just one definite article: “the” in the English language. There are two indefinite articles: “a” and “an”.  Are you comfortable knowing when to use the definite article? It is actually very complicated and I notice that some of my students who are learning English who are from Russia or from countries in Asia have more difficulty with this concept because articles are used differently in their native languages. 

✅In simple terms, we use “the” in English in front of nouns that are singular and plural to describe something that is unique or when there is only one of something.  For example, “We live on the second floor of our apartment.” Also, if you are talking about a capital city you could say, The capital city of the United States is Washington D.C.” 

😁There are many differences in geography that you need to be aware of when using the definite article.  You can see in the visuals that I’ve created that the article is used for rivers: The Wapsi river, BUT NOT for lakes: Lake Monroe.  However, if it is plural, you use it: The Great Lakes.


When Not to Use the Definite Article in English 

For the most part, we DO NOT use the definite article in English when we talk in general about something and we DO use it when we describe specific and particular things or groups of people. 

🎸We use “the” for musical instruments.  “I play the piano and I have been playing the violin my entire life.” However, you could talk about musical instruments in general and use the plural form without “the.” Take this example: “The shop sells many different kinds of guitars and I am looking forward to buying an electric guitar. Nonetheless, I see the shop features the electric guitar in its catalogue.” In the previous example, the catalogue refers to the general type of musical instrument, while the one the person wants to buy is one particular guitar, which is why it doesn’t require the definite article.

🤖Also, we use the definite article in English when describing machines, appliances, and inventions.  You could say, “I really enjoy using the new vacuum cleaner.” Also, “Thomas Edison invented the light bulb.”

💦When you use “the” it provides more specificity to the item you are referring to. In fact, It describes a particular item.  Rather if you use “a” to describe the same machine, it is more general.  For example, “I really need to buy a new vacuum cleaner for my house.” This example contrasts with an example that talks about the particular machine/invention: “The vacuum cleaner is a useful invention that we use to clean our carpets.”

🦉When describing specific kinds of animals, we use “the.”  For example, the Great Horned Owl is a large owl native to the Americas.” However, if you mention animals in the plural, you would simply say, “cats, dogs, geese, or birds” without the article. Also, if you want to point out one particular animal that you see, you could use “a” or “an”: I went to the zoo last week and saw a giraffe eating a leaf from a tall tree.” 🦒


Examples of the Definite Article in English

💵You can also use “the” when talking about currency: the dollar, the yen, the peso, the real, the ruble.  For example, “The peso’s exchange rate is 2% higher this week.”  Compare that sentence which talks about a particular currency with this one: “I have a peso in my wallet and plan on buying a few candies at the candy store.”  Again, when I use the indefinite article, I am highlighting the fact that there is one particular peso in my wallet. 

🌎On the other hand, when you are talking about countries, continents, cities, towns, street names, squares, and names of avenues, you don’t need to use “the.” For example, It is my dream to visit Tokyo, Japan, which is located in Asia. I might visit  Yoyogi Park and Hachiko square.  ⭐️There are a few countries to be aware of.  Ukraine doesn’t need “the” anymore because it is no longer a republic of the Soviet Union.   Also, The Gambia is named after a river, so it does have the article.  

🏙The truth is that I lived in New York City for a number of years and I became familiar with some of the landmarks that make the city so unique.  I toured the Empire State building, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and ate at Giovanni’s for dinner. These are examples of buildings, monuments, and landmarks (article more often than not), and a restaurant named after a person (no article).

👵🏽👵🏽When we talk about groups of people, we use “the” as well.  Some examples to illustrate this point are: “The injured, the poor, the elderly, the young, the rich, the unemployed.”  However, if you talk about one person in that group, you would specify and say, “I saw an elderly man yesterday” or “Did you know that she is a poor girl?”

☘️The same rule applies to talking about different nationalities. For example, “The Irish are vibrant and funny people.”  However, you could mention one Irish woman and say, “Silvia is an Irish woman.”  Remember, though, that you have to say a Frenchman or a Frenchwoman because you can’t ⛔️ say “A French.”


A PDF about the Definite Article in ENGLISH

Here are some exercises with the definite article in English.  Write “the” if it requires the definite article or “x” in the blank if it doesn’t require the definite article.

  1. Do you play _____ trumpet? 
  2. Could you please pass ______ salt. 
  3. Have you ever been to _____Michigan?
  4. What is the exchange rate between ____dollar and ____peso?

Would you like to do more practice exercises.  I would like to direct you to my wonderful resource that explains the use of the definite article in detail.  You will finally understand this tricky grammar rule once and for all after you do the exercises. English


Watch a Video about the Definite Article

In this video, I provide you with some clear examples of when to use the definite article in English. I give some example of geographical features, places in the city, and names of hotels and buildings.


Would you like even more practice?

Check out the link to the BBC’s website about the definite article. You can complete a few dialogues that will allow you to better understand this concept.


Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz


To Give Away

  1. To give something away= to give something you no longer need to a person or an organization as a gift or a donation.

For example, “I am going to give some of my old clothes away this weekend.”

2. To give something away=to reveal a secret, often accidentally.

For example, “Jeff gave away the surprise birthday party and basically told everyone he knew about it.”

3. To give away someone= to hand over the bride to the groom on their wedding day, usually performed by the father of the bride.

For example, “Bradley gave his daughter away to Simon on their wedding day.”

4. To give yourself away= to accidentally tell or share some news that you wanted to keep private.  

For example, “Susana was pregnant, but she was keeping it a secret.  She gave herself away by rubbing her belly continuously.”

To Give Back

  1. To give something back to someone=to return something to someone.

For example, “Timmy gave his pencil back to Quin.”

2. To give back=to donate time or money to help society.

For example, “We decided to give back to the community and organize a tree  planting in the local park.”


To Give In

  • To give in= To agree to do something even though you don’t really want to do it.  For example, “My son always begs me to take him to the mall until I give in.”

To Give Out

  • To give out= To distribute flyers, papers, and worksheets to people. For example, “The workers gave out the flyers about the labor rights protest on Sunday.”
  • To give out on= to stop working. “My coffee grinder gave out on me last week.”

To Give Up

  • To give something up=to stop doing an activity that you regularly do. For example, “Brian gave up beer because it was giving him a stomach ache.”
  • To give up on someone=to no longer be concerned with a person and what they decide to do. For example, “I gave up on Seth because I realized he wasn’t going to take my advice about getting off drugs.”


To Give Off

  • To give off=to radiate or emanate. For example, “The sewage system is giving off a bad smell.”phrasal-verbs-give

To Give Forth

  • To give forth=to emit or release something. For example, “The roses give forth an uplifting fragrance.”

To Give Over

  • To give over=to deliver a person to the authorities. For example, “The teen gave over her neighbor to the authorities because he had been seen robbing someone in the street.”   
  • To give over=to transfer control or to hand over.  For example, “The small fruit company wasn’t doing well and was given over to the larger, international company.”

Phrasal Verbs with Give Quiz

Test your Knowledge of these Phrasal Verbs with Give


Do you want to learn more about phrasal verbs? Check out this awesome Youtube video: 

Conversation Questions with Phrasal Verbs:

1) Do you give up easily or are you persistent?
2) What kitchen appliance recently gave out on you (broke)?
3) Do you give in easily when other people want to do something that you don’t really want to do or do you “stick to your guns?” “Stick to your guns” is an expression that means you refuse to compromise or change your mind.
4) What is one bad habit you want to give up this year?
5) How often do you give clothes away?
6) Is it more likely for you to keep a secret or give away a secret?
7) Do you give back to your community and volunteer or donate money to local organizations?


Common Idioms with Body Parts: Practice Exercises

Add Flavor to your Conversations with Idioms

Idioms are common expressions used in everyday life in the United States.  They are fun expressions to use in spoken English because they add creativity and vibrancy to your conversations.

They demonstrate your fluency skills and help you sound more like a native speaker. Today, we are going to practice 6 idioms with body parts.  In fact, I’ve designed a fun quiz for you to take to test your knowledge of these idioms and practice them a bit more.

twist someone’s arm

get off someone’s back

see eye to eye

pick someone’s brain

bare bones

play it by ear




Take this Fun Quiz on Idioms and Practice Using them in Everyday Conversations

Welcome to your Idioms Practice


I'm not really sure what we are going to do this weekend. Let's just ___________________ and not try to plan too much stuff.


I don't really want more apple pie, but if you _________________, I might indulge and eat another slice!


I know you don't like the way I live my life, but can you please just ____________________ and give me some space.


We have different political beliefs.  She's conservative and I'm liberal and we don't _______________________ on the health care issue.


I need some serious motivation to figure out how the business world works.  I am going to talk to my sister and __________________ about some marketing strategies.


I am confused about where we are going with this massive project. Can you please give me a _______________ description of the plan?


Here are some more great videos and links with more idioms practice:

Idioms practice for IELTS

Idioms video on Youtube




Online English Classes

Online English Classes are for YOU!

Busy Schedule? English Classes Designed for You! 


Are you busy and do you have the weight of the world on your shoulders?  You have to make choices to maximize your time and to focus on improving in the areas of your life that are important to you.  Do you want to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself?  You often start going to in-person English classes and then easily give-up after you realize that you can’t dedicate 3 hours a day to language study. Or, you decide not to sign-up for in-person classes at all because you have a very complicated schedule.  You travel for your job and find yourself unable to maintain a normal routine and take classes at a language school.  You want to continue dedicating time to your language goals, but you need to fit the classes into your busy schedule.  What is the solution? Online English classes that fit your busy schedule.  


Private Classes Help you Learn English FAST


Many students are nervous about learning English online and are a bit uncomfortable about the idea of taking a class online.  Most people are used to the conventional approach to learning a language: sitting in a big classroom with 20 other people with the teacher in the front of the room.  Although these traditional classes can be fun and personal and a great way to meet new people, they don’t offer the language student an efficient way to improve their language skills.  Online English classes offer a comprehensive approach that will help you improve your speaking skills very quickly.   


How do Online English Classes work? 

I teach online English classes on both Zoom and Skype.  We will also login to a platform where we will access the lesson and materials for the class. We then connect through live video and live chat.  I try to create a warm, friendly environment and make an effort to make the student feel comfortable.  I introduce myself and we do a warm-up for the student to start thinking in English.  We might talk about a recent news article from the top headlines we might share a story from our day-to-day experience.  After that, we look at the students’ writing assignment in google docs.  We read the assignment aloud and the teacher and the student brainstorm ways to improve the writing.  

I then ask the student many questions about a video I assigned the student to watch at home.  We might talk about their opinions and their reactions about the video. We use the rest of the class to speak English, review key grammar points, study idioms and common expressions.  It is so important for students to listen to native English speakers and to also have conversations with native English speakers.  Many students complain they live in a rural area and don’t have access to native English speakers. These conversations help the student speak English more accurately.  The student learns to express him/herself freely and talk about a variety of topics.  These speaking opportunities help expand their vocabulary.  Also, since the student wrote about the topic at home before the class, they are already learning and embodying the new words, which they retain in future conversations.  I use interactive lesson plans from Off2Class, fluentize and ESL library that are well-designed and comprehensive, covering the 4 language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. 


Online Classes Motivate you to Speak English 


Many traditional English classes focus on grammar, writing, listening and reading and may dedicate the last 5 or 10 minutes of the class to a speaking activity.  This doesn’t give students the amount of time they need to practice speaking the language.  The truth is, speaking English is the most important and practical skill that will serve you in many different situations.  However, you need the kind of class structure that prioritizes speaking and communication. In my online English classes, I prioritize speaking and help you reach your goals for improved fluency. 

What is your English level?

Before you begin taking classes with me, it is important that I test your overall level and see how fluent you are in English.  I do this by testing your grammar, speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in a 90 minute test that you take on your own at home.  The test will tell you what level your English is, based on the European framework for language proficiency or CEFR, which organizes language proficiency in six levels, A1 to C2, which can be categorized into three broad levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Upper Intermediate and Advanced. You can try to determine your own level by doing this self-assessment.

The level test then helps determine your learning program.  I create an individualized program for you that is designed to strengthen your weaknesses and challenge you at the level you are currently at, without frustrating you with lessons that are either too difficult or too easy. If you sign-up for a consultation with me, I will send you the placement test to complete before we meet.

Corrections Help you Learn from your Mistakes  

Making mistakes is a very natural part of language learning.  However, many times you don’t realize you make a mistake and native speakers are too polite to correct you.  So, you keep making the same mistakes over and over again.  You don’t improve very quickly and reach a kind of plateau with your language learning.   Online classes are very effective because I can give you live corrections if you make any mistakes.  I can correct you verbally and I also write your corrections in the chat bar. You can save these corrections and practice saying the words and sentences throughout the week.  Sometimes, you have to make the mistake many times before you stop making it again, but the native speaker can help you realize you are making it and quickly help you correct it.   By using this live method, you will feel your fluency advancing very quickly.  



Shy Students Excel in a Live Classroom 

I’ve noticed in large classroom contexts, shy students tend to listen more than they speak.  The talkative students dominate the conversations and the shy students say very little.  This prevents the shy students from practicing as much as they need to.   Learning English online gives these students the opportunity to practice speaking, to improve their pronunciation, and to benefit from a more personalized learning experience.  

Improve Pronunciation with Audio Feedback 

After the class, I will record my voice saying the words and sentences that you said incorrectly.  These corrections will help you learn efficiently because you can focus on pronunciation, repetition, and accuracy.  Not all teachers leave audio feedback for their students and many times the students forget the words they said incorrectly.  So, the audio feedback pushes students to review what they learned in the class and become more aware of their language production.  Audio feedback is brilliant and I have noticed that my students retain the words I teach them and make faster progress towards fluency in English.  


The Google Classroom as the Ultimate Learning Tool

I use the google classroom to organize the class materials, homework, writing assignments, and audio feedback.  The google classroom is an excellent tool that will help you visualize what we have completed. The classroom also shows the homework you need to complete.  Many times, teachers just send students homework via email, but they don’t see how much progress they have made and they can’t remember the kind of activities they completed in previous classes.  The google classroom has so many innovative tools that will always keep you excited about learning. Tracking your progress is essential and will help you maintain movement forward.

How can I schedule classes and how much do they cost?

You can sign-up for a free 30 minute consultation and then we can discuss the class package that would be best suited for you.  You can take classes 1x, 2x or 3x a week with me and I offer availability from 18:00-21:00 Beijing time.







A Youtube VIDEO INTERVIEW ABOUT THE ADVANTAGES OF LEARNING LANGUAGES ONLINE IN SPANISH: (Una Entrevista conmigo sobre las ventajas de aprender un idioma online con Blabla Español)