Rule 1 For Excellent English: Always Study and Review Phrases


Rule 1 For Excellent English Speaking

Hi, I'm AJ Hoge, one of the teachers of Learn Real English. And welcome to our video course.

Now, let's get started with Rule 1 or Secret 1. And Rule 1 is to always learn English phrases, and to never, never study just individual words. So in this course we're going to teach you a totally new way to learn English, a totally new way to study English, so that you can speak English quickly, easily, automatically, powerfully, confidently.

So what's the old way of learning English? You know it because you learned it in school. You've been using it for years and years and years. You sit in a classroom. You've got a textbook. You memorize lists of vocabulary words. You study lots and lots and lots of grammar rules. You do lots of reading and little fake conversation drills and activities. And this is the traditional old way of learning English but we have a totally new and different way of learning it. And we're going to teach you each part of that, one part every day for a full seven days.

So let's start with Part 1, Secret 1, Rule 1… learn phrases, not individual words. Now, of course, a phrase is a group of words. It's a group of words that naturally go together. This is very important. You see, when you only study individual words, you are doing a number of things that make learning difficult. Number one, when you study just an individual word like a vocabulary, something in a vocabulary list, or even in your notebook you write one single word and then you write the meaning or the translation, here's the problem. That word has no connections to anything else. Therefore, it's difficult for your brain to remember it.

That's why you have to keep repeating again and again. You look at that list and you try to memorize it. And then the next day you forget and then you go back and you try to memorize it again and again and again and again and again. And maybe after a very long time you might remember it. But most likely you're going to forget it, especially long-term. And yet that's the way most students are learning English and studying vocabulary.

Here's another problem with just learning single words. When you study just single words, you're not learning any grammar. But when you study phrases, you are actually learning grammar. It's kind of an effortless, easy way to learn grammar. You don't need to think about rules. You don't need to think about anything. And yet, you will be learning correct grammar when you study groups of words instead of phrases.

Let me give you an example of this. Let's just, y'know, take any phraselike, um, a simple, simple sentence. He was a bad dog. He was a bad dog. Now, let's imagine that you're a new English student and the word bad is new for you. Of course, I know you know it, but let's just imagine you go way back to the very beginning and your first year of learning English and bad is a new word. Now the normal way of studying that, you would write it down, bad, it would be in a little, y'know, a list. And then you would study bad means not good, bad means not good. You'd probably translate it to your own language. And then after lots and lots and lots of time, maybe you would remember it.

Well using our system, you do something very different. You would write down that whole phrase. He was a bad dog. That's actually a full sentence. Or you could just write down was a bad dog or he was a bad dog, whatever. And then every single time you study or review, you would always, always, always study the full complete phrase. You would never just study that word, bad. You would study the whole thing.

Now by doing that you're getting free grammar. How do you know? Well, because first of all you're getting that verb, was, right? Was, and that's just going to stick in your brain, he was, he was, he was. You're also learning articles. You don't need to remember what that means. You don't have to even worry about it. And yet you know that it's correct to say, in this situation, a bad dog. He was a bad dog. Some people say a, he was a bad dog. Both pronunciations are correct. So he was a bad dog. He was a bad dog.

A lot of students have problems. When do I use a, or a? When do I not? When do I use the? And you're trying to memorize all these super complicated rules and situations for it. Forget that. It's too complicated. You'll never remember it. Just study phrases and you'll start to feel when to use it, when it's correct, when it sounds correct and when it sounds strange, when it's not correct to use those things.

And, of course, this is true for all grammar; all phrases; all vocabulary. By studying a full phrase or even a full sentence, always, always, always, you're going to get lots of grammar. You're going to learn which vocabulary words go together naturally. And you're going to know when to use them in which situations. Because sometimes, for example, there might be a situation where there are many words that mean the same thing. And yet we typically use one of them.

Like, we might say he was a bad dog. That's a common phrase, a bad dog, bad dog. We use that word bad to describe a dog who's naughty, who's not good. But we don't usually say horrendous. Now horrendous means super super bad, really terrible. And yet we don't usually say he was a horrendous dog. It sounds strange, even though the meaning is basically correct. Yet, in normal real English, not textbooks, but real English, we just don't use that word to describe dogs, not usually. I don't know why. There's no real rule about it. It's just that's what we usually do. And every language has these kind of word combinations that are more common, and other word combinations which just aren't used typically.

How do you learn that? Well you can't learn it from any rules because there are no rules about that. You have to learn it by studying phrases always. Always, always, always study phrases. Review phrases. Whenever you learn a new word don't just write down that individual word. Write down the full phrase, or even better, the full sentence that it's in. Always include the words that are around it. This is going to help you improve your English speaking ability much, much, much faster.

Even better, when you write down the phrase, also write down where the phrase came from to remind yourself of the whole situation. So you might, let's say you find a new word in a newspaper article. Well first of all, let's say the word horrendous. You're reading a newspaper article or you're listening to the radio and you hear that word horrendous. Hm, that's new, what is that? And you write it down. But you're not going to write down just that single word.

You're going to write down the whole phrase that it was in. And then you're also going to make a note, you're going to put down, y'know, this came from a newspaper article about the economy. And this is going to trigger you, it's going to remind you, give you a memory cue, a memory reminder, of the full situation. So now you're not only getting just this single word. You're getting the full phrase or sentence that it's in and you're also reminding yourself where that sentence came from. What was the general topic, what was the general situation.

And in this way you're getting a lot of extra grammar which you're learning unconsciously, easily. You don't have to think about it but you're learning it anyway. Your brain is learning it, even though you might not know that. And you're also learning when certain phrases and certain words are used and when they're not used. You're learning which situations it's used, or they are used in. And you'll, of course, know that in other situations you don't use it.

Because as you learn more and more and more phrases, you begin to get this feeling of correctness. And you begin to know when to use certain words, how to use them, and you're also, how to use the grammar correctly as well.

This is so important. It's such a simple, simple little secret, a simple little trick, a simple little rule. And yet it can totally change the way you speak English and learn English. It's very, very important. So never, never, never study just an individual word, one word, always study the phrase or the sentence. And always, always, always make a note where it came from. And you want those phrases and sentences to come from real English, which we'll talk about more later, not from textbooks.

Here's another advantage of studying phrases and full sentences and always knowing the situation that they came from. Phrasal verbs, you guys know about them. You know all about phrasal verbs that are a frustration for so many students, right? Y'know, to be knocked out or knocked up, have totally different meanings, right? Knocked out is a phrasal verb, it's a two-word verb, it's a verb phrase. And to be knocked out means to like, it's like in boxing or sports, you get hit and ugh, it's like you're asleep, right? Boom, knocked out on the floor. To be knocked up means to become pregnant. We use that for women. Now there's no way if you just look at the individual words to know the meaning, right, knocked out, knocked up. It's not logical. You just have to learn each one individually.

But if you just try to study lists and lists and lists of phrasal verbs, you're going to become very confused. You'll start confusing one with the other. You're going to forget and it's horrible and you don't want to do that. It's not effective. It doesn't work. But if you learn those phrasal verbs from real situations, real sentences, real articles, real audios, real speech, and then you always study them in the whole sentence. So then you know the situation, right?

If you, if you get the whole sentence, the fighter knocked out the other fighter. And you're always studying that full phrase or sentence, the fighter knocked out the other fighter. You're going to just naturally know. Y'know, you've got that word fighter in there, helps you to remember the situation. And it helps you to remember the meaning of that phrase, knocked out.

Or you could say the woman got knocked up by her boyfriend, right? So now you're like, ah yeah, boyfriend, it gives youit gives you a clue. It gives you an idea of the meaning of that phrase. And you'll know that you always use that phrase in situations that describe pregnancy. This is much better than studying lists and lists and lists of phrasal verbs.

So what's our first rule, what's our first secret? Always, always, always study phrases, groups of words. Always write down a note about where the phrase came from to remind you of the situation. And no more, never again, study just individual words. And that's all. That is powerful Secret 1, Rule 1 for learning to speak fantastic amazing English. Start using this rule immediately today, okay?

We'll see you tomorrow for Rule 2. Bye-bye.