If you want to think in English, you need to make English a part of your daily life.
That’s all you need to do. If you use English a lot every day, you’ll automatically think in English. It will happen naturally.
How do I know this?
I know this because I’ve been using English for a long time. And when I think in words, I automatically think in English instead of thinking in my native language.
I don’t intentionally try to think in English. It just happens automatically.
This is because I’ve made English an important part of my daily life.
- I listen to English podcasts and audiobooks almost every day.
- I practice speaking English almost every day.
- I read something in English quite often.
- I’m writing this article in English.
If you use English all day every day, you’ll be able to think in English as well.
How to Make English a Part of Your Daily Life
It’s simple. Choose to do everything in English whenever possible.
Here are some examples:
- If you want to learn something, read English books & articles about the subject.
- If you have hobbies or interests, browse English sites related to those interests.
- Change the language of your phone, computer, and TV to English.
- Watch Hollywood movies in the original soundtrack (English).
Do you get my point? If something can be done in both English and in your native language, always choose to do it in English.
Some people like to do everything in their native language because it’s more comfortable. But if you want to think in English, you have to develop the habit of using English whenever possible.
When you make English a part of your life, thinking in English is easy.
Improve Your Listening and Speaking Skills (So That You Can Think in English)
You should spend some time each day improving your English, especially your listening and speaking skills. These skills are very important (and difficult to improve).
People don’t want to use English because their English is terrible. That’s why they rely on their native language so much.
If your English is excellent, you will naturally want to use English. And as you use English more and more, you’ll start to think in English.
Want to start improving your English? Read these two articles:
- How to improve your listening skills in English (even if you have no time)
- How to learn to speak English (the right way)
Translating – The Reason You Can’t Think in English
Some English students have the habit of translating between English and their native language when they use English.
This usually happens when they write and read in English.
If you have this habit, making English a part of your life is NOT enough; you also have to get rid of this bad habit.
Here’s how to do that:
1. Use English-to-English dictionary
Do not use dictionaries that explain word meanings in your native language (bilingual dictionaries). Use English-to-English dictionaries instead. These are dictionaries that explain word meanings in English.
When you start using an English-to-English dictionary, you might run into this problem:
- You look up a word you don’t know (word A).
- The definition of word A contains another word you don’t know (word B).
- You have to keep looking for the meanings of new words.
The cause of this problem is that the dictionary you’re using is not good; it doesn’t explain difficult words with simpler words. If you run into this problem a lot, just find another dictionary.
I once used a dictionary program called WordWeb. It was terrible. Whenever I used it, I often ran into the problem described above. So I switched to another dictionary, and I’ve never had the problem since then. (Today, I use the Oxford Dictionaries website to look up words I don’t know.)
Another benefit of using English-to-English dictionaries is that it improves your English reading skills. When you read word definitions in English, you’re practicing your reading skills in English.
2. Force yourself to write in English without translating
When some students want to write something in English, they write it in their native language first, then they translate what they wrote to English.
They tend to do this when they have to write a long email, passage, or article in English.
This is not a proper way to write in English. If you do this often, you must stop. If you have to write something in English, force yourself to just write in English from the start.
Here’s how you can think in English:
- Choose to do everything in English whenever possible.
- Spend some time every day improving your English (focus on your listening and speaking skills).
- Stop translating between English and your native language.
We don’t think in language very much (we usually think in abstract concepts). But if you follow these suggestions, you might find that, sometimes, you think in the English language.