How to make a plan to improve your English


So your dream is to improve your English. But how many times have you failed?

You have spent a lot of time dreaming, thinking or talking about what you want. But you haven’t taken the necessary steps to achieve it.

It’s not because you are lazy or incapable. It’s because perhaps you are confused or you don’t know where to start. You don’t have a PLAN yet.

English learning plans, can serve as a roadmap or guide to making your dreams a reality.

An English learning plan can help you if:

  • You are confused
  • You feel that your learning progress is out of control
  • You feel your learning progress is stagnant
  • You struggle making the right decisions
  • You feel lost and lack direction
  • You have tried many things and nothing has helped
  • You are tired and want to give up

What is an English learning planing?

An English learning plan is both a roadmap and a reminder of your goals. It helps you realize your dreams and the things that you need to do to make them true.

An English learning plan can help you to become aware of your strengths and your weaknesses.

Your English learning plan doesn’t need to be super detailed. It should be flexible so you can adapt it according to the circumstances.

Don’t forget that LIFE IS UNPREDICTABLE. Things happen. Your plan needs to leave room for unexpected changes and crises.

Making English learning plans can help you achieve your goals easier than if you are confused and have no idea what to do.

5 benefits of having an English learning plan

1 An English learning plan helps you make your dreams a reality

An English learning plan gives you the confidence to take action and be proactive.

2 An English learning plan helps you prioritize

Making an English learning plan helps you identify what you want and focus on things that move you in the right direction

3 An English learning plan helps you make better decisions

When you know your goals it is easier to make the right decisions that help you accomplish your goals

4 An English learning plan keeps you motivated

When you write down your goals it’s easier to stay focused and motivated.

5 An English learning plan makes you recognize your strengths and weaknesses

An English learning plan is a tool that makes you think critically and reflect on your learning needs. It helps you identify the skills that you master and the skills you need to improve to achieve your goals.

How to make an English learning plan: step by step

1. The most important thing to making any plan is, to BE HONEST with yourself.

2. Take a moment to reflect on your habits, your learning story, your circumstances, your strengths, and your weaknesses.

3. No one but you can identify the things that are easy for you and the things that are challenging for you.

4. You are the only one that can identify the things/ habits/ beliefs that are preventing you from moving forward.

5. Finally, remember that becoming fluent in English is a goal that will require that you spend a lot of time and resources. If you are not willing to pay the price then it will always be a DREAM.

6. If you are not willing to organize your life, give up unhealthy habits or if you can’t change your lifestyle to accommodate time to practice, then it’s going to be very difficult to improve your English.

Now it’s time to make your own learning plan

Below you can see a template that will help you reflect and create your own English learning plan.


How to Write a Formal Email for the B1 Preliminary Test or IELTS General Training


Formal emails are the ones that people write to people they don’t know well. The language used in these types of emails is more formal and polite.

informal emailformal email
family members
people we know well
people we don’t know
bosses or managers
doctors, teachers and professors

Formal emails have a standard format, so they must include the following parts:

  1. Greetings

We say hi to the other person. Depending on the kind of relationship we have with the person we are writing to, we can use the following greetings:

  • Dear Mr./Mrs./ Ms. + Last name,

For example: Dear Mr. Smith,

  • Dear Sir/ Madam,

If you don’t know the name and last name of the recipient

  • To whom it may concern

This is a more generic formulaic expression.

2. Introduction

In this part, we must indicate briefly and clearly the reason for writing. It should be consistent with the subject of the email. We can use the following introductory phrases:

  • I’m writing with regard to … (email subject)
  • I’m writing to … (ask, inform, request, send, confirm, etc)
  • I’m writing in reference to … (email subject, e.g. a job post, an advertisement, a website, etc)

3. Body

There are no formulaic expressions or conventional formulas for the body of the text because the information that we share in the body of the email varies according to what you need to communicate.

There is one general rule for this part: it should be divided into short paragraphs.

4. Closing paragraph

There are various ways to end your email. The most common formulaic expressions are the following:

  • I look forward to hearing from you soon / at your earliest convenient time.
  • Thank you in advance.
  • Thank you for your attention.
  • If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
  • Please let me know if you have any questions.

5. Goodbye

Here you can find a list of the most common phrases to end a formal email:

  • Sincerely,
  • Kind regards,
  • Best regards,
  • Yours faithfully, (only if you began your email with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’)
  • Yours sincerely, (only if began your email with ‘Dear Mr./Mrs./ Ms. + Last name)
  • Regards,

6. Signature

We write our full name (name + last name)

Now that you know which parts should be included in a formal email, let’s see an example:

Ana has read an ad about some English courses on a school website.

  • She is 23 years old. She has graduated from college.
  • She wants to take an IELTS course in July.
  • She needs to get information about dates and prices.
  • She wants to stay with a host family.
  • She wants a room for her and her friend.
Language School

Come and study English at our school!
Summer and winter intensive courses
Highly experienced teachers
One month courses for all levels
Reasonable prices
Accommodation with host families
Pro tips for writing formal emails
  • Use the standard format that English speakers use to write formal emails.
  • Use formulaic expressions.
  • DO NOT use contractions (I’m, I’ve, I’d, don’t, can’t, won’t, etc.).
  • Use formal words and indirect questions (e.g. I was wondering if …/ I would be grateful if you …)
  • Don’t forget to START your email by saying why are you writing or what you are

Time to practice

The best way to improve your writing is to practice. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Remember that practice makes progress.

Write an email to get more information about the following course:

Computer courses in Canada
One -or two-week courses in different parts of Canada (Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Halifax)
Professional instructors
Morning and afternoon classes
All levels, beginners to advanced
Small groups or private lessons

For more information email Robert Anderson at info@academy.com

Don’t forget to explain why you are writing and give some personal information

Ask your questions, and ask them to send you information


Reporting Verbs


Reporting verbs are verbs which are used to tell someone what another person said. They are used in reported speech.

Say and tell are the most common reporting verbs. However, there are other reporting verbs that we can use instead of say and tell to communicate our ideas more clearly.


He said that he would drive me to the airport (this sentence is correct but long)

We can say instead:

He offered to drive me to the airport (this sentence is shorter and absolutely clear)

Common reporting verbs patterns


recommend and suggest are special verbs that can be followed by a “that clause” when we want or need to mention who is the recommendation/ suggestion for.

recommend/ suggest + that + someone + base form


I suggested watching a horror movie. (suggest + gerund)

If you want to be more specific and want to add information about who is the recommendation for, you can use a “that clause” (noun clause)

I suggested that my friends watch a horror movie.

My friends suggested that I study for the English test tonight.

My teacher recommended that Maria practice speaking with me.

Practice time

Level of difficulty: ⭐

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Student A:

  1. Choose one box
  2. Read the sentence out loud.
  3. Tell your partner the hint.

Student B:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Listen to your partner
  3. Complete the following sentence: My friend __________________


Student A: If you stay in a hostel it will be cheaper (Hint: explain)

Student B: My friend explained to me that staying in a hostel would be cheaper.


How to describe photos and pictures

for the B1 Cambridge test (PET)


In some English exams you have to speak or write about photos or pictures.

Here is a list of useful vocabulary and expressions for describing pictures or photos for oral/written exams.

What is there in the picture?
(people, things, animals, places, etc)
In the picture I can see
There is a/ an +(adjective)+ singular noun
There are (a couple/some/ a lot of) + (adjective) + plural noun
There isn’t a + (adjective) + singular noun
There aren’t any + (adjective) + plural noun
What is happening?
(actions & weather)
For actions use present continuous
The person/ animal is +verb-ing
The people are + verb-ing
It’s raining/ snowing, etc.
It’s bright/ dark/ sunny/ cold/ hot, etc.
What might be happening?
(If something in the picture is not clear you can make a guess)

It looks like a + noun
It looks as if + person/animal + verb …
It looks as though + persona/animal + verb …
It seems that person/animal is …
Maybe the person/animal is + verb-ing
The person/animal might be +verb-ing
What could have happened before?
(You can use your imagination and make a guess about the actions that happened before the picture was taken)
The person/animal might have + past participle
The person/animal may have + past participle
The person/animal could have + past participle
The person/animal couldn’t have + past participle
Where in the picture?
(location/ position)
At the top/bottom of the picture …
In the foreground …
In the background ….
In the middle/ center of the picture …
On the left/right of the picture …
next to
in front of
across from
on top of

Now that you know the vocabulary and phrases that should be included in picture description, let’s see an example:

I think this is a family photo. There are five people, and all of them are smiling. They are having lunch in the dining room. The dining room is so bright and modern. In the background, we see the kitchen and some appliances. For example, a microwave and a coffee maker.

In the foreground
we see the mother sitting at the head of the table. It seems that she is taking a selfie. Her children are sitting around the table. On the left side of the photo, there is a boy and a girl. The girl is smiling. The boy has his mouth open, and he looks as if he is going to eat the whole spaghetti.

There are two teenagers sitting across from the children. The young man is smiling, and the young woman is posing for the photo. The young man has his arm around the young woman.

There are five plates with spaghetti, three glasses of orange juice, and two glasses of red wine on the table. There might be some bread in the middle of the table. The food looks very delicious.

They might be having a video call with the father. The father could have travelled for work to a different city. It looks as though they are having a good time. This photo reminds me of when I was younger, and I used to have lunch with my family every Sunday.

Writing practice

The best way to improve your writing and speaking is to practice. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Remember that practice makes progress.

Choose ONE picture and describe it.

What can you see in the picture? Write your answer in the comments below


Past Modal Verbs


Modal verbs or modals are special words that give extra meaning to verbs. They go before the main verb.

Examples of modal verbs: can, will, should, must, may, might, have to, used to, etc.

Some past modals are used to express certainty, possibility/ impossibility and advisability, in the past.

Modals of Speculation and deduction

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language 🇪🇸 🇵🇹 🇨🇳 🇷🇺 🇺🇦 🇹🇷 🇯🇵 👇

Modal of advisability

The past modal of advisability is “should have” and it is used to talk about past actions or events that didn’t happen, but would have been a good idea if they had.

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language 🇪🇸 🇵🇹 🇨🇳 🇷🇺 🇺🇦 🇹🇷 🇯🇵 👇


Grammar Practice

Do you want to try a more challenging activity? Check this out! 👇

Speaking practice

  1. Open a box
  2. What could have happened? (speculating)
  3. If possible give some advice



used to/ get used to/ be used to


1 Used to

We use used to/ didn’t use to + base form to talk about past habits or repeated actions or situations that have changed.

  • Attention!!!!! used to DOES NOT exist in the simple present (I use to study at night XXXXX). For present habits, we use usually + simple present (I usually study at night)
  • For action verbs, we can replace used to with the word would.


When I was a child I used to play video games every day = When I was a child I would play video games every day.

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language 🇪🇸 🇵🇹 🇨🇳 🇷🇺 🇺🇦 🇹🇷 🇯🇵👇

2 Get used to

We use get used to + gerund to talk about a new situation that is becoming familiar or less strange.

Example: I’m getting used to studying after work. It’s not easy because after work I’m very tired.

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language 🇪🇸 🇵🇹 🇨🇳 🇷🇺 🇺🇦 🇹🇷 🇯🇵👇

3 Be used to

We use be used to + gerund to talk about a situation that is NOT new because it is familiar or less strange.

Example: I’m used to studying after work. I’ve been doing it for almost one year.

If you are still confused, you can find an easy explanation in your first language 🇪🇸 🇵🇹 🇨🇳 🇷🇺 🇺🇦 🇹🇷 🇯🇵👇

Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐

Put the words in the correct order.

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

Choose the correct answer.

 Speaking Practice

✍️ Writing Practice

Pick a card. Write a comment (reply) below 👇 with your opinion.


How to express wishes


This mini lesson includes a review of verb wish.

Verb wish is used to express our desire for something different from how it is now. Wish expresses a desire that is impossible or almost impossible to happen.

In this mini lesson you'll learn how to express desires in English

Difference between I would like and I wish

 Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐

Wishes about present situations

Put the words in the correct order

Wishes about past situations

Student A:

  1. Choose one box
  2. Read the sentence out loud

Student B:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Listen to your partner
  3. Make a wish (I wish + past perfect)

Student C:

Write the sentence on a piece of paper

Switch roles <>

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐



The Position of Adverbs


Adverbs are words that describe an action (e.g. She speaks slowly) or modify adjectives (e.g. This car is incredibly expensive) or other adverbs (e.g. He works very hard). They can be one word (e.g. often) or a phrase (every now and then).

Common types of adverbs:

  1. Adverbs of manner describe how somebody does something.
  • They usually go after the verb or verb phrase
  • With passive verbs they usually go in mid-position
  • Examples: beautifully, slowly, happily, thoroughly, fast, quickly, cheaply, etc.

2. Adverbs of frequency tell us how often an action is performed.

  • They go before the main verb but after verb be
  • If there are two auxiliary verbs, the adverb goes after the first one
  • Some adverbs can be put at the beginning of the phrase or sentence for emphasis (sometimes, usually, and normally)
  • Examples: always, never, usually, sometimes, usually, normally, etc.

3. Adverbs of time and place tell us when and where an action is performed

  • Time adverbs usually go at the end of a sentence or clause
  • Place adverbs usually go before time adverbs
  • Examples: in the morning, at night, at the airport, in half an hour, here, there, etc.

4. Adverbs of degree describe how much something is done, or modify the adjective

  • Some adverbs of degree are used with adjectives and adverbs and they go before them (e.g. extremely, incredibly, very, a little, a little bit, etc.)
  • Some adverbs are often used with verbs and go before the verb or the verb phrase (e.g. a lot and much)

5. Comment adverbs give the speaker’s opinion about a particular topic.

  • They usually go at the beginning of a sentence or clause
  • Examples: luckily, basically, clearly, obviously, apparently, eventually, etc.

More examples:

Watch the following videos to find more examples and exercises


Grammar Practice

Level of difficulty: 

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐

 Speaking Practice

Level of difficulty: ⭐⭐⭐

  • Choose a type adverb of frequency
  • Flip the tile
  • Discuss the question with your classmates


Articles (part 2)


In a previous post we discussed the basic differences between the indefinite articles (a/an) and the definite article (the).

As you can see in the Introduction to articles some of the patterns for the usage of articles in English are easy to remember. However, the use of articles in English is very complex.

Using articles in English can be very challenging for speakers of other languages because:

  • In some languages speakers use articles before almost every noun
  • In some languages speakers never use articles before nouns.

In this post you can find more specific rules and exceptions of article usage in English.

Using articles in English
Using articles in English

Practice Time