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Learn English -The Fun Way

Learn English


Struggling with learning English grammar? Or are you growing weary of your course book? The key to imbibe English aptly is never to cease. But how can you stay piqued when you’re ennuied?

Try something novel.

Here are some theories to make you learn English in a more lively and conducive manner.




Scrabble is a classic board game in which players use random lettered tiles to create words in a crossword fashion. It’s a phenomenal manner to intensify your English glossary. Playing Scrabble challenges you to really comprehend in English as you attempt to produce different words with your set of letters.



Get more English conversation practice by searching for English friends online. You might be able to connect with another language learner in your area, or even just exchange emails, instant messages or have Skype conversations in English.

In a language exchange, you have conversations with an English speaker who is studying your native language. This way, your partner practices speaking your native language with you, and then you get to practice speaking English with him or her.



Joke books are surprisingly pragmatic learning tools. Emphatically, to have English conversations, not only do you need to speak the language, but you also have to fathom the English culture. Humor is very culture-specific; something that’s humorous in one country might not make sense in another.

Reading a joke book is also a nice way to practice tricky concepts like puns and idioms. You might find the joke book entertaining, and they will teach you how English speakers laugh and have fun.



Learn a few English songs and sing along with them. It might be intriguing to eventually learn the essence of the lyrics to some of your prized English songs. You can get some like-minded friends to accompany you to go and sing at a karaoke bar. Singing English songs is a stupendous mode to practice speaking and intonation, additionally you can have fun singing songs that you already know and fancy.

Simultaneously, you can also watch English movies and TV shows and play a host of other games like Hangman, vocabulary games, missing letters, etc.


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Conquer your Fear of English Speaking

Why fear English


Claustrophobia. Acrophobia. Hydrophobia. Most of us are afraid of something or the other. While some of us manage to get rid of our anxieties and fears with time, rest of us avoid coming face to face with our greatest fears throughout our lives. Surprisingly many of us, whether we accept it or live in denial, are extremely afraid of English. We constantly remain aware of our inability to speak or write well in English and thus keep looking for easy escapes.


How can you conquer your fear of English language ?


The very first step to battle any sort of fear is to first invite it at your doorstep. Why wait for your fear to turn up at your windowpane one morning and sneak into your house? Why not confront it and turn the cards in your favor?

So, no running away! Why would you run away from yourself anyway? The greatest fear lies right in your eyes and if you look closely at your image in the mirror, you shall come to realize that this fear has actually been a mere illusion. It’s needed on your part to come out of the shell woven by illusionary threads and step forward.

English is not only a language but also a way of life in today’s globalized world and must be treated as an integral part of life. After you cross the very first obstacle of confronting your fear, your next step should be to build strategies to eliminate the fear.

“Apart from taking English classes, you also require to spend some time introspecting.”


How essential is learning English for you? The moment you answer this question, things begin to fall into place. Do not impose the language upon yourself because that in the end shall bring back the fear. Learn to live English. Learn to love English. Allow English to seep into every bit of your existence.
Once you accept English as an inseparable part of your life, English shall scare you no more! Listen to some fine English music. Pick any artist of your choice and hum along the lyrics.While you travel in the metro or sit in the office alone for a couple of minutes, flip through the pages of an English newspaper. When you’re tired and need a break at home on a lazy afternoon, download an English movie. The moment you feel the urge to be heard, make pen your weapon and put down your thoughts in English on a piece of paper.
What is important is to nurture English, not as a language but as your very own child. You must learn and grow with it. You must learn and grow through it.

Why fear English? Why not befriend it and turn from foes to best of friends?


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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Understanding Silent Letters in English Language



Understanding silent letters in English Language


A silent letter is simply a letter in a word that is written, but not pronounced, making things very difficult for non-native speakers

Some examples: ‘K’ in Knife, ‘W’ in Write, or the ‘G’ in Gnaw.

So, why do we even have these letters in the words at all?

It has to do with the evolution of the English language and merged influences from other languages, especially Latin and French. However, these new words from the other languages caused problems because they didn’t follow the same grammar rules as English. So, even though the spelling of these words remained the same, some letters had to become silent to conform to the rules of the English language.

Significance of Silent Letters

-They help the reader to distinguish between homophones in/inn, be/bee, to/too/two, know/no, whole/hole, knot/not.

-Magic ‘e’ – if you add ‘e’ at the end of short vowel sound words it elongates the sound – rid/ride, cop/cope, hat/hate, tap/tape, at/ate, mat/mate.

-Sometimes people might pronounce certain letters or they might not depending on their accent, for example the ‘t’ in ‘often’ can be pronounced or need not be.

-‘H’ is silent in a lot of accents. But the ‘H’ is silent in some words from French – hour, honest, honour, heir, herb (in American)

-They show the origins and history (etymology) of a word.

Some Examples of Silent Letters in Use:


A – artistically, logically, musically, romantically, stoically
B – climb, comb, crumb, debt, doubt, numb, plumb, subtle, thumb, tomb,
C – acquire, acquit, blackguard, czar, muscle, scissors, victual
D – handkerchief, wednesday
E – when added to the end of a word, it changes the pronunciation of the word, but is in itself, silent.
F – halfpenny
G – align, alight, champagne, diaphragm, gnash, gnaw, high, light, reign, though,
H – choir, exhaust, ghost, heir, hour, khaki, thyme
I – business
K – blackguard, knead, knell, knickers, knife, knight, knock, knot, know
L – calf, calm, chalk, folk, half, psalm, salmon, talk, yolk
M – mnemonic
N – autumn, chimney, column, condemn, damn, hymn, solemn
O – colonel – opossum
P – corps, coup, pneumonia, pseudo, psychology, ptomaine, receipt
R – butter, finger, garden, here, myrrh
S – aisle, apropos, bourgeois, debris, fracas, island, isle, viscount
T – asthma, ballet, castle, gourmet, listen, rapport, ricochet, soften, thistle
U – catalogue, colleague, dialogue, guess, guest, guide, guilt, guitar, tongue
W – answer, sword, two, whole, wrist, writ, write
X – faux pas
Z – laissez-faire, rendezvous


One way to start to love spelling and improve it is to take an interest in words, to discover the logic in the spelling system and to understand the background and history of words, and this especially is true for learning silent letters in English language.


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.


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How to be a Good Listener


How to be an effective listener


There are many guidelines that will help you to become a more effective listener.

• Find an area of interest

Listen with a purpose. Be interested. Try to organize what you hear.

• Judge content, not delivery

Do not stop listening just because the speaker does not meet your expectations. Listen to the words & look for the message.

• Hold your fire

Do not get over-stimulated by the message. Do not react until the message is complete. Keep your emotions in check. Do not interrupt because you believe that what you have to say is more important or more correct. There will be time for you to respond later. The speaker may surprise you and wind up saying what you want to say.

• Listen to ideas

Focus on the person’s central ideas. Do not get bogged down by the unnecessary details. Try to listen at a higher level. Listen for new knowledge or concepts.

• Be flexible

Vary the ways in which you attempt to remember the information. Concentrate on finding the best way to retain the information.

• Work at listening

Establish and maintain eye contact. Acknowledge understanding. Stay tuned-in.

• Resist distractions

Concentrate on the speaker. Tune out other things that may be going on. Turn off the things you can control, like the TV or the radio. Try not to do several things at the same time.

• Exercise your mind

Challenge yourself to listen very attentively. Try it for a short time and then make it longer and longer. See if you can listen to an entire presentation without losing concentration.

• Keep your mind open

Communication efficiency drops to zero when we hear certain trigger words, such as Communist, Democrat, or Republican. Everyone has words that evoke an emotional response. Effective listeners are aware of keeping their convictions and emotions in check.

• Capitalize on thought speed

Most of us talk at the rate of 120 words a minute. Our thinking speed is about 500 words a minute. That gives us a lot of spare time while a person is speaking to us. Poor listeners let their minds wander.


LOOK at the person who is talking.

LISTEN and don’t interrupt.

ASK questions to find out more.

NOD, or say something to show you understand.

REPEAT what you heard in your own words.


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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How to Master Workplace Conversation

Workplace Conversation


“Sensitize & Strategize – Navigating your way through workplace conversation”


Have you ever had one of those moments at work when a colleague says something that is in poor taste? It’s easy to spot a moment like that. It’s usually followed by ingratiating laughter or in some cases, just awkward silence.

Surely most of us have been at one end of this conversation at some point or another.

Workplace conversation can be a tricky act to master. Let’s think about it – you spend an average of 8 hours (or more) in a closed space with the same people, day in and day out. It’s like having a family. You don’t get to choose your colleagues and you’re expected to get along with everyone. Some of these colleagues might even be your friends and they often are. But your workplace doesn’t afford you one luxury that your family does – the luxury of saying anything and everything.


Being friendly with colleagues often leads to friendly conversations. And sometimes people might say things that are disrespectful to another. There are several areas that are neither black nor white and these are the grey areas which are the knottiest. This is why we should steer clear of certain precarious topics


Here goes, workplace conversation strategy:




An area where conflict might arise is religion and religious practices. The rule of thumb is to always be respectful. An important thing to remember is to never make unfounded statements about another religion. Religion is a highly sensitive topic and must be handled with extreme caution.



We sometimes get a bit antsy when people start to go beyond polite relationship talk. People often talk about who they’re going out with or getting engaged to or married to. There’s nothing wrong with that between friends. But when people cross the genial talk line and end up on the other side, it can be intrusive. It’s getting increasingly complicated to discuss relationships in workplaces because relationships are complicated. It’s easier to stay away from getting too personal with colleagues about their relationship status, their hook-ups and break-ups.



You must bear in mind that politics and political views are often the only ingredients you need to start a fight. Discussing politics is understandably a great conversation starter, but it needs dexterous handling.


There is such a thing as being too friendly- often, people use their friendly status with someone to say things that clearly don’t belong in the workplace. Commenting on someone’s looks, favorably or otherwise is a no-no. Sometimes we hear comments like ‘You look hot’ or “You should lose some weight’ casually flying about. If it’s the former, it can be tougher to respond to. No one dislikes a compliment. But compliments, in many instances can be a mask for inappropriate comments.


Workplace conversation is a ground that must be tread upon carefully. Be aware, note and report any red flags. A safe work environment is one where respect is the definitive sentiment.


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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How to Prepare and Deliver a Speech Effectively


How to deliver a speech effectively



1.       Focus on the Main Message

If you’ve been asked to give a speech, the first step is to choose a focused message. Even if you’ve been given a theme for your speech such as “inspiration” or “strength,” this is more a general umbrella under which your specific points (and point of view) will fall. Make a short list of five ideas for your speech. It can be helpful to write them in command form. “Strength” a brainstorm of five speech messages could include: “don’t ever give up, “overcome failure,” “build physical strength” and “know your strengths.” If you feel stuck for ideas, a reference to your current political or social context can bring new insight to your theme.

2.       Build Three Supporting Points

By focusing on your central message with supporting evidence, you strengthen it. A stronger message will resonate more with your listeners. To come up with supporting points, ask yourself “why” about the speech message you’ve selected. For example, for “don’t ever give up,” you’d ask, “Why should you never give up?” Make a list of several possible supporting ideas. Read through your finished list, and at the end, cross off the weaker ones that don’t support your main point.

3.       Keep your Audience in Mind

After looking into the central message and supporting points for your speech, you can flesh out the rest by considering your audience. Knowing who your audience are and what they are expecting from this encounter can help you pick the right tone to optimal effect.

4.       Be a Tactful Speaker

Some speakers choose to generalize complex topics in a speech because they think it’s easier for the audience to understand. It’s actually better to do the opposite. Listeners tend to connect better with concrete examples and personal stories, so embrace detail in your speech. A personal anecdote about why one shouldn’t give up is more effective than just saying not to. Areas where your passion and knowledge overlap are generally the richest. If appropriate to the context, don’t be afraid to tell a joke about the topic. A little self-deprecating humor goes down well with the crowd, one can always give it a shot.

5.       Brevity Is The Soul Of The Wit

Some of the most effective speeches of all times have been brief. “The Gettysburg Address” was only 15 minutes, while “I Have a Dream” was for 17 minutes. Aim for brevity. A good formula is to speak for less time than you’ve been asked to, as people tend to overestimate the attention span of their audience.

6.       Feedback is Important

As the speech has to be delivered to an audience, it is important to get feedback from theoretical listeners. Read your speech to someone you trust and ask for some honest feedback. In particular, it can be helpful to ask if anything is confusing or unclear. Your speech will have more impact if the message is engaging.

7.       Eye Contact is Important

During your speech, look at your audience while you are speaking.  Put the content of your speech, either fully written out or in bullet points, so you are not staring straight down at a piece of paper while you speak. Engaging your audience visually makes you appear secure and confident.

8.       Use Appropriate Gestures

A well-placed gesture can add humor or aid greater understanding of your speech. For optimal effectiveness, punctuate your speech with gestures when appropriate. If you’re a very nervous public speaker, try just resting your hands against the podium. It will make you feel steadier.

9.       Walk When Required

If your speech is informal, walking from one side of the stage to the other can help engage people sitting in different parts. It will draw your audience in and enhance your confidence.

10.     Use Props

If appropriate, bring props to punctuate your speech for your audience. This can be anything useful such as a graph to handout to all attendees or even a personal item to drive home your speech’s content. Props can personalize your speech and add interest or humor. Limit yourself to one or two props maximum per speech.



EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter.

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Developing The Four Essential Skills–Listening, Speaking, Reading & Writing


Developing the 4 Skills

Why are the four skills useful?

In-order to become a well-rounded communicator one needs to be proficient in each of the four language skills. These four skills give learners opportunities to create contexts in which to use the language for exchange of real information, evidence of their own ability (proof of learning) and, most important, confidence. Listening and reading are the receptive skills because learners do not need to produce language, they receive and understand it. These skills are sometimes known as passive skills. The productive skills are speaking and writing because learners are applying these skills in a need to produce language. They are also known as active skills.



Listening is a receptive language skill which learners usually find the most difficult. This often is because they feel under unnecessary pressure to understand every word. The listener has to get oriented to the listening portion and be all ears. The listener is also required to be attentive.  Anticipation is a skill to be nurtured in Listening. In everyday life, the situation, the speaker, and visual clues all help us to decode oral messages. In due course of listening, be in a lookout for the sign post words. Thirdly one should be able to concentrate on understanding the message thoroughly. Listening Skills could be enhanced by focusing on making the students listen to the sounds of that particular language. This would help them with the right pronunciation of words. To equip students with training in listening, one can think about comprehending speeches of people of different backgrounds and regions. This intensive listening will ultimately help a student to understand more on the accents to be used and the exact pronunciation of words.



Language is a tool for communication. We communicate with others, to express our ideas, and to know others’ ideas as well. We must take into account that the level of language input (listening) must be higher than the level of language production. In primary schools elocution and recitation are main sources to master the sounds, rhythms, and intonation of the English language through simple reproduction. The manifestations of the language in games and pair work activities are encouraging source to learn to speak the language. This assists the learners to begin to manipulate the language by presenting them with a certain amount of choice, albeit within a fairly controlled situation. This skill could be improved by understanding para-linguistic attributes such as voice quality, volume and tone, voice modulation, articulation, pronunciation etc. This could also be further enhanced with the help of debates and discussions.



Reading is a learning skill. It helps you improve all parts of the English language – vocabulary, spelling, grammar, and writing. It helps to develop language intuition in the corrected form. Then the brain imitates them, producing similar sentences to express the desired meaning. Using skimming or scanning technique to read quickly is highly effective. While reading underlining of key words is a must. Reading Skills help the students grasp the content and draw conclusions. The students should also make it a point to familiarize themselves with the jargons and new words by making reading a habit be it reading newspapers, articles, books, magazines etc



Writing provides a learner with physical evidence of his achievements and he can measure his improvement. It helps to consolidate their grasp of vocabulary and structure, and complements the other language skills. It helps to understand the text and write compositions. It can foster the learner’s ability to summarize and to use the language freely. To write flawless language one should excel in the Writing Skills with the help of various methods. Importance should be given to composition and creative writing. One should also focus on coherence and cohesiveness when it comes to writing a language.

With these four skills addressed equally while learning English, the learners can be assured of having good communication skills, a great necessity in today’s competitive world.


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter


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How To Lead Phone Conferences?

Leading Phone Conferences

The conference call is one of the most familiar rituals of office life. Leading a conference call is just like leading any other meeting, only you are not able to see if people are engaged .What this reality demands is your usual mode of leadership accented with a slight mechanical bearing.

When the recession hit, many companies cut costs by greatly reducing the number of in-person meetings. This forced employees into using conference calls as an alternative means of communication. Conference calls can be a productive and efficient way to hold a meeting, especially for individuals who would otherwise have to travel long distance to attend meetings which may at times just be for half an hour whereas the travel time could even be 2-3 hours or more.

However if the call is not conducted in a professional and organized manner, it can be a waste of time for everyone. Chairing a conference call gives you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to manage & direct others.


  • Make sure all participants have the number to call with necessary details like why are you meeting, when and where is the meeting, who is attending, making sure that right people are on the call and starting and ending it on time is also important.
  • Begin with the summary of an agenda and purpose of the meeting. Have people introduce themselves quickly. Speak loud & clear.
  • Write down important points during the call, so you can raise them when you get a turn to speak. When not speaking, attendees should mute their phone/ mic, especially if they are in a place where there is a lot of background noise.
  • Everyone’s time is valuable, so it’s important to keep the meeting moving along and cover all agendas.
  • Review action items and other important take-aways at the end of the meeting. Confirm that everyone is in agreement with next steps.
  • Always sign off from a conference call with a formal goodbye. It’s a phone call after all, and you would do the same thing if you were talking to a person one to one.

EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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Saying the Dreadful “NO” Effectively

EnglishMate: How to say NO effectively


It seems to be a cumbersome task to say no to any person. Most of us face trouble while saying “No”, especially to our seniors. There may be cultural, gender, social, religious, or institutional pressure to conform and please. Often there’s a fear of rejection, a desire to avoid confrontation, or guilt over hurting others’ feelings. However, it’s important to say “no” when necessary, in order to protect our boundaries and maintain one’s own priorities. Saying ‘no’ may sound rude, like you’re rejecting the person. There’s a negative connotation to it or they may even feel they won’t be liked or will be perceived as uncaring and unhelpful. As a result, people usually go the path of least potential conflict and comply with others. If people do say ‘no’, they usually do it in ineffective ways that come with an excuse. To be effective in saying ‘no’, the first step in learning the dynamics involved in it.

1. Say It

Don’t beat around the bush or offer weak excuses or hem and haw. Don’t delay or stall either. Provide a brief explanation .The less said the better- This is the best possible way.

2. Be Assertive and Courteous

You might say, “I’m sorry I can’t right now but will let you know when and if I can.” This approach is polite, and puts you in a position of power by changing the dynamic. You’re taking charge, telling people you’ll let them know when and if you can.

3. Understanding Tactics

Many people and organizations use manipulation techniques, do not get intimidated by their manipulative ways. Be prudent in understanding people’s tactics and not to give into social pressure.

4. Set Boundaries

We need to evaluate our relationships and understand our role within the relationship dynamics. After understanding the concept of relationship dynamics, we usually acquire a position of authority and confidently say “No”.

5. Be Selfish

Put your needs first. If you prioritize that person’s needs over yours, you’ll find your productivity will suffer and resentment will mount. An unhappy you would turn unproductive and cranky.


Simple “no” scripts that you can tweak into your bit of conversation

1. “Let me think about it.”

2. “The idea sounds great! It’s just that … “

3. “I can’t today. How about [insert new schedule]?”

4. “I’m sorry, but I can’t.”

5. I ‘m going to say no for now. I would let you if there is a change….

6. I ‘m not able to commit to that right now…..

One should not hold back from saying ‘no’ as we have to be true to ourselves, our convictions, and our priorities. So saying ‘no’ is perfectly fine…..


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter

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Tips to Improve Body Language

Englishmate- Tips for Improving Body Language



You might be preparing for an interview, a presentation and wondering if you are ready for that. While doing so, most of the people focus more on content, audience, technical know-how and what not. To be sure about the success of your presentation or leaving a good impression during your interview, you need to take care of other important aspects as well such as body language. Body language is a part of non-verbal communication and plays an important role while communicating with someone. Let’s have a look at some of the tips to improve our body language.

1.     Body Posture

Your body communicates what you may not be aware of or a message that you don’t want to communicate. It happens when you don’t have the right posture to convey the intended meaning. Make sure you are aware of the postures you use while having conversation with someone. Try to have a comfortable posture that is neither too relaxed nor too rigid. Having a right posture makes you feel confident and formal especially during those formal meetings.

2.     Proper Eye Contact

Eye contact occurs when two people look at each other’s eyes at the same time. In human beings, eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and is thought to have a large influence on social behavior (Wikipedia). Speaking in front of an audience without making a proper eye contact makes your audience feel ignored or neglected. Experts are of the belief that proper eye contact helps in building trust and confidence during conversations.

3.     Don’t Fiddle with Anything

People tend to get nervous when they have to strike a conversation with someone or during formal meetings. It is normally witnessed in language classes that students get nervous and start fiddling with anything they have in their hands, a pen, key etc. when they have to face an audience. The students don’t seem to be aware of it but others can easily notice the restlessness. This problem can be overcome with practice and constant monitoring of one’s hand movements.

4.      Don’t Make Faces

Your facial expressions are crucial for a successful interaction be it an interview, presentation or a general day to day conversation. You might have a habit of making certain facial expressions that can put someone off and may even result in creating a negative image of yours. Try to practice making pleasing facial expressions and get used to doing so.

5.     Learn to Smile

Smile adds to your beauty and makes it a pleasing experience for the people involved in conversation. Smiling while talking to someone can be a welcoming sign and helps continue the conversation. A good smile doesn’t cost much but adds value to your face.

If we have the other things in place and keep the above mentioned points in mind as far as body language is concerned, it will definitely help in creating a lasting impression.


EnglishMate is a chain of English Speaking Institutes by Hindustan Times that offers a range of courses to help you speak better English and get smarter. 

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