How You Can Start Thinking in English

Thinking in English helps you learn to speak and write in English faster and easier. When thinking in English, rules and pronunciations don’t get in the way, so you’ll feel less pressure if you’re just starting to learn English. Read on to see how you can start thinking in English today.

Just a Word or Two

A woman looking up while thinking in New York, NY

Apply one or two words to what you see, feel, or happen to be doing. When waking up in the morning, for example, look out the window and think, “bright sun,” “gray sky,” or “rain falling.” You can even write notes with these types of descriptions around your home to help you remember to think in English throughout your daily routine.

Describe Your Day

As you go through the day, describe it as if you’re watching yourself. For example, “He closes the door behind him, locks it, and walks to the car. He settles into the driver’s seat, fastens his seatbelt, and then drives to the office.”

This will help you start to internalize the language, which means that the words will start to come more naturally to you instead of needing to translate in your head from your native language.

Start a Conversation

When you’re thinking in English, it’s better to be alone. In fact, you can practice with an entire conversation in your head. Start one between yourself and an imaginary person. You’ll feel no pressure and will probably double the words you use with this type of exercise. The topic is totally up to you, whether you’re pretending to order food at a restaurant or imagining that you’re talking to a friend about the game you just watched.

Fill in the Forgotten Word

When you can’t think of the word you want to use, hint at it in a sentence or two. For example, imagine you’re leaving your dorm room with friends and cannot find your wallet. If you can’t think of the word “wallet,” then say something like, “I don’t know where I put the thing that holds my money.” That way, you’re still using English rather than using your native language to work around tough words.

Use an English-to-English Dictionary

Once you’ve become more comfortable thinking in English, use an English dictionary with English definitions to build your vocabulary. The less you translate, the more you’ll think, speak, and learn English.

There are numerous other innovative and rewarding ways to think and learn English, even when you’re short on time! ALCC American Language is here to help you find a path to gain the English language skills you need for school, work, life, and beyond. Browse our available courses to find the right option for you.