How can you think in English so you don’t need to keep translating in your head? Here are five practical steps you can take to develop the habits you need to make it happen.

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How to Think in English Video Script

Wouldn’t it be great if you could think in English – so you don’t have to translate and the English words you need are on the tip of your tongue when you’re speaking . Well, you can. In this video we’re going to show you how.
Let’s start with two reasons why you want to think in English.
First one.
Translating in your head takes time. You don’t want to keep people waiting.

D’accord. À bientôt. Salut!
Do you want some more coffee?
Yes … with…. three….sugars.

Second reason
You want your English to sound fluent and natural, like a native speaker. But that means you’ll sometimes need to structure your thoughts differently.

Excuse me. Can you help me?
Help you I can.
So yes, you can?
Yes, English I speak.

You want to follow English patterns of speech. Thinking in English will help you do that.
But what if your English isn’t very good yet? Can you think in English if you’re not fluent? Yes! I’m going to tell you five steps you can start taking today. Don’t wait till you’re advanced to begin. The sooner you start, the better.
Look around you – what can you see? Can you name everything in English?

Books, light.

You’ll know some words, but not others. So when there’s a gap in your vocabulary – look up the word.

Ah, surf board.

In this next step you’re going to make sentences. Very simple short sentences.

I have a lot of books. That’s a really tall surf board.

You don’t have to speak the words out loud so you can do this anywhere, whenever you have a free moment – on a train, on the bus, perhaps not when you’re driving though. That could be dangerous

That tree is tall. Argh!

OK, we’ve done words, sentences. The next step is thoughts. Think your normal thoughts, but in English.

I wonder, who won the match last night? Hey, I’m hungry. I think I’ll get some cookies. Oh no. I ate them all yesterday.

So put your thoughts into English. Remember, this is a great way to discover gaps in your knowledge. If you don’t know how to say something, look it up.
Now we’re going to move on to conversations. Imagine you’re with an English speaker – perhaps it’s your English teacher or perhaps it’s an English friend or an imaginary friend. Maybe they ask you a question like ‘What did you think of the game last night?’ or ‘Are you going on vacation this year?’ Imagine the conversation and rehearse it.

So are you going anywhere on vacation this summer?
Yes, we’re going to Cape May.
That’s funny. We went there last year.
Really? What was it like?

Again, you can speak out loud or have silent conversations in your head. And don’t worry if this is hard at first. It gets easier with practice. And don’t worry about making mistakes. The important thing is to develop the habit, so thinking in English becomes automatic and takes less effort.
And that brings us to the last step.
Dream in English. Yeah! Really! Now you can’t force yourself to do this, but it is possible and it sometimes happens. When you surround yourself with English words, sentences, thoughts, conversations, they start to fill your brain. You’ll find your brain processes the English while you’re asleep. You don’t have to do anything and you’re practising English! Fantastic, eh?
I hope it’s a nice dream and not a nightmare.
Many of my students have dreamt in English so I’m sure some of you can too.
Follow these steps, and practice thinking in English as often as you can. When you’re in the shower, when you’re having a coffee – do it every day as often as you can.
Another great way to surround yourself with English is to watch our videos. They’ll help you learn new words, fix some common mistakes, and think in English too. So make sure you subscribe to our channel and happy dreams everyone.

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6 thoughts on “How to think (and dream) in English and stop translating in your head”

  1. Karen van Mierlo de Souza

    Thank you very much for such great work. I always give my students the same tips but sometimes it seems they don’t take my adivices seriously. I hope that by showing them this amazing video, they feel inspired and start taking action. Thanks again. I love your work.

  2. I had some trouble in looking up words. I tried to look up words using other English words or sentences, and most of the times I can’t find an answer.

    Example: surf (sport). I googled “sport sea board” and all I got in the first 3 pages are advertisements for traveling to Hawaii.

    Occasionally, I succeed: Hourglass. I googled “sand timer device” and the first Walmart page is the answer.

    So, do I look up the words in my native language?

    1. Hi Clarence. Great question. Dictionaries like OALD and LDOCE are great when you know the word in English and want to learn more about it, but what if you don’t.

      ‘Google translate’ is a very handy tool, and I’m wondering: are there any online translation dictionaries for your language?

  3. My old German teacher send us: “It comes first speaking” So she invited us to listen to her and to avoid taking notes.

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