Lessons for better English


in Beyond the Basics, Tools & Techniques

Lessons for better English is a collection of Successful English articles – organized like a textbook or course outline – for English students and teachers. Its goal – to help you improve your English by helping you understand and practice successful language acquisition.

Someone once told me that you need to know three things to successfully complete a project. You need to know:

  • What to do;
  • Why it’s important to do that; and
  • How to effectively use the resources or tools you have to get the job done.

This collection of readings from Successful English explain the what, why, and how of language acquisition. And, as a bonus, I’ve added three stories that tell how different people have successfully used these ideas to acquire, or pick up, English and other languages.

   I. What you need to do

If you only read one article in Successful English, it should be The power of reading and listening. It clearly describes what you need to do to improve all aspects of your English – reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

 II. Why that’s important

Successful teaching and learning need a solid foundation. There must be good reasons for what teachers and students do. The basics, a series of short essays, briefly explains the theory and research behind the ideas you find in Successful English – why they’re important and why they work.

III. How to work effectively and solve problems

Even when you know what to do and why it’s important, you may still have questions. Here are answers to some of them:

 IV. Success stories

Case histories – the experiences of people or companies – are popular in many university management programs. Here are three case histories to encourage you and give you more ideas for improving your English:

Warren Ediger

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Andreu Martínez February 3, 2012

Hi Warren,

Maybe this three things are the things that leaders do. Anyway I wanted to comment your very interesting article. I see that this summary of different articles, a summary about your philosophy also. You know that I am an English learner and that I agree totally with your methodology. I agree because I know a practical case: myself. I’ve been following this advices and this methodology for several years and it works.

Let me explain one curiosity about learning through listening. There are tribes that don’t speak to their children the first years of their lives. When they were asked why the asnwer was that they don’t speak to their children because their children can’t speak. We speak to our children since they are born and we try to speak like we were waiting them to start speaking the sooner the better. The children from these tribus learn the language listening it from their parents even if their parents don’t speak to them. It doesn’t matter.

I’ve recommended several people to read this article because is a compendium about how to learn English.


David Monteiro February 5, 2012

Hi, dear Warren!

I would just like to share a “little” part of my English journey with my fellow readers of Successful English and tell them that I am one of the alive and real proofs that your methods really work. That’s incontestable! Well, I just want to reinforce what I related a few months ago:

I used to study English from grammar books and textbooks for over 4 years all by myself – reading dialogs, doing exercises, but no listening at all. That time, I used to think that I could perform a real dialog easily and effortlessly, based on what I had learned from those books. I was very convinced that my English abilities were great. But when I first tried to talk to an American guy (from Kansas) personally, I got tongue-tied, froze, and couldn’t get the message. Also, his accent and pronunciation were very hard to understand and he spoke really, really fast. I could only grasp what he said after he started to speak slowly. I was very frustrated and disappointed, and thought seriously about giving up. But I knew I couldn’t, because speaking English was a dream for me to realize in life. So after that, I decided to do some research on how to improve my English skills and communicate effectively and instantly. Thank God I lucked into this heavenly website and came to realize that listening and reading other things are vital in learning any language, even my own one, and not only grammar-related studies would be enough (This is what most English classes here in Brazil do: Teach from grammar books). Your explanations about the importance of reading and mainly listening are so successful and compelling that made me reflect on something very logical…: “How could I speak a language or learn some other thing I never heard of before?” (That question comprises other areas in life as well). There’s only one word that best answers this question, and the word is IMPOSSIBLE!

To conclude, I really felt deep down that what I had done until that moment was not enough. Then I began to proceed exactly as you have suggested us and everything changed for the better. Today, I know the real value of listening and reading and how they can significantly improve people’s skills, as of my own experience. I do it for at least two hours a day, for my own pleasure of fulfilling my desire of reading and listening to what I really like, and not to show off at all. So, I’m in seventh heaven and proud to have followed your advice because the more I do it, the more enjoyment and satisfaction I get from it. Also, I often tell my friends that Warren Ediger is my mentor I’ve never met. The man who’s helped me to expand my horizons… Thank you very much, dear Warren!

Well, that’s all for today. Hope everything’s okay with you and The Successful English Team.


David Monteiro (Bahia – Brazil)

Jody February 5, 2012

David and Andreu, you are living proof! I can tell you, without equivocation, that many, many native-born English speakers do not express themselves as well or write as well as you do. I hope more people pay attention to what Warren and learners like you say about this important shift in thinking about acquiring a language. Keep reading!!! It’s working!

David Monteiro February 7, 2012

Thanks a lot, Jody! I’m extremely elated to read your comments and realize that my efforts have paid off! I confess that they really give me strength and a lot more motivation to go on. Thank you very much!

Best regards,

David Monteiro

Warren Ediger February 7, 2012

Andreu and David, thanks for sharing your stories (David, I grew up in Kansas!)! And Jody, thanks for the encouragement.

The good news: anyone can do what you two are doing and many already are. I’m delighted that Successful English can be part of the process.

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