8 things you should try to avoid when learning English

Charlotte Guest
Friends studying together around one big table
Reading time: 4 minutes

Learning a new language is an exciting and rewarding journey, but it can also come with its fair share of challenges. As English learners, it's important to recognize and overcome the common pitfalls that could hinder your progress. Here, we provide advice and guidance on what not to do to make your English learning experience as smooth and successful as possible.

Things to try avoid when learning English
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1. Avoid listening to people who say learning English is difficult

English is spoken all over the world and is often a top choice for those wishing to learn a second language. That means that a lot of people have already had success learning it. English is sometimes considered a hard language to learn due to the number of exceptions to rules, irregular spelling and pronunciation, and the variety of different accents and dialects. But by maintaining your motivation and breaking up the task of learning English into manageable steps, you can achieve success, too.

Remember, many learners have successfully mastered English despite these challenges. With the right approach and mindset, you can, too.

2. Try not to separate English from the rest of your life

Going to English lessons is a great basis for learning, but don’t switch off your use of the language as soon as you step out of the classroom door. To be a successful English learner, try to immerse yourself in the language outside the classroom. This works particularly well if you also involve your own interests, so listen to English-speaking songs by your favorite artists or watch movies featuring your favorite actors.

There are plenty of other ways to pick up new words or to keep up your learning motivation – have a look at our blog, ‘6 easy ways to learn English’, for more ideas.

Integrating English into your daily life helps reinforce what you learn in class and makes the learning process more enjoyable and effective.

3. Stop comparing yourself to other learners

No matter what level of skill you have, it’s almost certain that your fellow language learners won’t be at exactly the same level as you. Everyone learns at different paces – and that’s ok. Whatever level you’re at, you’ve worked hard to reach it, so be proud of that fact and keep going. And don’t feel you have to apologize for being at a different level.

Comparing yourself to others can be demotivating. Instead, focus on your own progress and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.

4. Avoid waiting too long to speak English

Learning English is a skill and, just like other skills such as driving a car or playing a musical instrument, you need to practice it. It might be that you’re waiting for the confidence to speak in English, but don’t wait too long – the sooner you try out your English, the faster your ability will improve.

Speaking English early and often helps build confidence and solidify learning. Don't be afraid to make mistakes; every conversation is a valuable learning opportunity.

5. Try not to fear making mistakes

Don’t live in fear of opening your mouth to speak English and making an embarrassing mistake. Nothing bad will happen if you do say the wrong word, and fear can be a strong barrier to overcome. Instead of worrying about how people will react to your attempt to speak English, have the confidence to try it out – and simply learn from any mistakes that you do make.

Mistakes are a natural part of the learning process. Embrace them as opportunities to improve and grow more proficient in the language.

6. Avoid getting tangled up in grammar

Every language has grammatical rules, and getting used to them is just part of the process when learning a language. But many languages have easy aspects of grammar, too, so don’t focus on the harder parts of the English language but try to continue your progress by learning the easier bits first. For example, did you know that English has a simple past tense? It isn’t a hard and fast rule, but you can find the simple past tense of many English verbs by adding “-ed” at the end. Yes, there are a handful of irregular verbs – but not many – so once you’ve memorized those, you’re all set.

Focusing on the simpler aspects of grammar first can help build your confidence and provide a solid foundation for tackling more complex rules later on.

7. Don’t rely solely on translating

While it may be tempting to use an online translator to translate everything from your primary language to English, this practice can actually slow down your learning process and lead to misunderstandings. English has its own unique structures and idioms that don’t always have direct equivalents in other languages. Instead, try to think in English as much as possible and immerse yourself in the language.

By reducing your reliance on translation, you'll start to understand the language more intuitively and improve your fluency.

8. Avoid staying in your comfort zone

Learning a new language is full of challenges, and it's easy to stick with what you already know. However, to truly improve, you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone. This could mean speaking with fluent speakers, trying to read more complex texts, or watching films without subtitles. The more you challenge yourself, the more you will learn and grow.

Embrace new experiences and challenges as opportunities to refine your English skills and become more confident in using the language.


Learning English requires dedication, persistence and a positive mindset. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can make your learning process more enjoyable and effective. Remember, every learner's journey is unique, so focus on your own progress and celebrate your achievements along the way.

For more tips and advice on learning English, be sure to check out our other blog posts.

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