How to Activate Your Passive Knowledge of English?


"I understand but I cannot speak! I block! I get stuck! I can't say anything! I can't organize my thoughts!"

Sounds familiar? I'm sure it does! You are not alone. Most people have this problem. It is, actually, a very common problem. But, just as any other problem, this one has a solution, too. And one that you'll like and find really easy and logical. So let's start!

Why does it happen?

This happens when you are not confident enough. And you're not confident when you don't know the basic rules. If you play a game without knowing the rules, you can't play! As simple as that. In my Starter English Course, I give you the rules of the game. In this course, you will find everything explained in detail. Here are some great tips that I will give you right away so that you can start improving your English from this very moment.

What can I do?

Listen and observe

I'm serious. First, you have to hear the language you are acquiring, hear the sounds, the structures, the words, the phrases. And to do that, you must listen to or watch something: music, films, TV shows, the news. I'm a big fan of the news because the same structures, words and tenses repeat over and over again, day after day. So, after a few days, you WILL memorize some phrases and also situations in which they are used. And DO NOT try too hard to understand everything! Just play something in the background while you're doing something else. You will be surprised how much you can learn without even trying when you are repeatedly exposed to it.

Play with structures

When you see that you've memorized some phrase, write them down somewhere (in a notebook, or in a word document...). And then, try to write some more phrases by changing just one part of the phrase. For example: We started a new project. Now try to substitute a new project with something else and make a new sentence. Something like this: We started some new projects. We started a team project. We started a new game. We started working out. And this is how you will definitely memorize: "We started" and most of the parts that you added yourself

Use what you've learnt

Unless you use what you've learnt, you will never be able to speak with confidence. That's why you have passive knowledge in the first place. You never use what you know. So, start using what you know, even if you think it is not much. Trust me, even a little is a lot! How can you do that?

  1. Speak to yourself (we all do that every day, so why not do it in English?)
  2. Speak to your friends (just a few things every day is more than OK)
  3. Keep a diary (maybe not every day, but 3-4 times a week is enough; just 2-3 sentences about your activities)
  4. Join a chat and exchange messages with other English learners

If you would like to receive more useful tips, more information about language acquisition or more exercises that can help you improve your English, contact us or join some of our courses. Stay safe and be happy!

Daniela Kraljic