I am not very good with the English language. I have three questions:

  1. While talking to others, most of them ask me why I am talking in much too complex a fashion (that is, they are not understanding my English). They suggest that I try to speak simpler English. I don't know how to talk simple English to make others understand me quick & easy.

  2. I am not able to understand American slang.

  3. Myself, I want to improve my communication and written skills.

Can someone suggest me how to improve these skills? My mother tongue is Tamil.

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    Welcome to the community. One question we often are asked is "How can I improve my English?" Fact is, there's no magic formula, just much usage and much practice. These questions get closed because ELL (actually, all of Stack Exchange) is designed to address answerable questions, not questions that can be answered with an array of valid opinions. So, for example, if you see some slang you don't understand, feel free to ask about it here. If you want to tell someone something in English, but you're unsure how to word it, ask that question here. I hope you stick around, and I hope we can help.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:23
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    Also, you might find this list helpful, and this explanation as well, which talks more about what I was saying.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:24
  • And once you got enough reputation points (about 20, I believe), you can visit our chat room here. I will help if I can. --PS. Whatever J.R. said. :) Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:25
  • Bala, just watch pogo channel. Learn the simple sentences in use and chant some of those often used in real world. After that watch english movie channels with subtitles. Very quickly you'll get enough confidence for speaking english. Its that easy as you learnt Tamil. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 11:44
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    I think there is exactly one rule of thumb: the faster you learn something, the faster you'll also forget it again. That's an actual phenomenon that has been researched a lot, though I'm too lazy to go fetch references right now. But the bottom line is: do not rush it. English is not a programming language du jour, it will still be around in a decade. Just don't stop learning, either. Slow and steady wins the race.
    – ЯegDwight
    Commented Dec 27, 2013 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


My short answer: Don't worry.

Here is my longer answer. I was exactly in your shoes in the first few years I started to work with people from other countries. Some of them mentioned that I tended to use too many words. My sentences were too long, and so on. And, if I wanted to say something complex, it was too easy that they will not understand my English too.

Back then, I didn't know how to solve the problem on my own.

But I found that the more I watched movie, the shorter, and more natural my speech became.

I'm lucky because I'm a movie lover.

But I believe that if you can find what you like, and keep watching it, or listening to it, and stick with it, your English will improve little by little. (Here is my big tip. If you want to improve really fast, focus on your listening.)

  • I believe that today, you have another good alternative: chat rooms. You can find a chat room on about everything. Just find a chat room that you are interested in its topic. Freenode is a good starting point. Mingling with people in chat rooms can improve your English too.

Fix your speaking first, writing skill will improve naturally. And, when you are confident enough with your speaking, you can start taking grammar seriously. At that point, grammar will not be something irrelevant anymore.

Good luck with your learning. :)

  • Thanks for your reply. But I had a question here you told fix your speaking first. While I am talking to other with wrong grammar. Myself feel shy & fear how I overcome from it. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:15
  • Just bite the bullet. Be brave and talk to them. And you might be surprised that they are more helpful than you expected. Most people will understand that you speak English as a second language. If most of native speakers close to you are your bosses and supervisors, then find people who share your interests (face to face is ideal, but chat rooms can also be a good start). Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:24
  • @Bala - You'd be surprised how that shyness can go both ways. Sometimes, a native English speaker won't want to correct a non-native, for fear of sounding rude, even when the other person would welcome such corrections to help improve their English. A good thing to do is tell your friends, "When I say something that isn't good English, please tell me a better way to say it." That way, they know you won't be offended, and they will feel free to give you a lot more advice during day-to-day conversation.
    – J.R.
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:56
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    @J.R. Please correct my English too, whenever you can. I know that I slip into non-standard English from time to time. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 10:59
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    @J.R. Thanks for your correction. I will remind that and use always I commit. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 15:26

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