Reading in English, Using Yet, and Learning English for Free Online (AJ #5)

Ask Jack Episode 5

(Note: If you want to reach a high level of English, click here.)

Welcome to episode five of Ask Jack!

In this episode, I answer the following questions:

  • What is the best way to read in English?
  • Can you use “yet” in the past simple?
  • Can you learn English online for free?

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Transcript

Hello, this is Jack from tofluency.com here with episode 5 of Ask Jack, the free series where I answer your questions about learning English and the English language. Let’s get straight into question 1 from today!

Gosia from Poland asks: what’s the best way to read in English? Should I read out loud?

Reading is a big part of improving your English so it’s obviously one of the four skills we have writing, speaking, listening and writing (reading!) So, reading plays a big part and there are different ways that you can actually read in English. And, it’s important to know these different ways; so the first way is where you’re just reading for pleasure you’re reading to understand the story and to enjoy the story.

The second way is to read to analyze the language and this is where you’re a little bit more analytical with things and you’re looking at new vocabulary maybe the grammar, things like that. But with both ways of doing it it’s really important to find books that you find interesting. I know a lot of learners who read things that they feel they have to read, instead of just enjoying the process and making reading a lot of fun.

But there are different ways that you can do it and I talk about this in-depth in the To Fluency Program; I have a full tutorial on this where you can learn exactly the best methods to use to improve your reading and to learn English through reading. But as I say, the best way to do it is to just enjoy it as much as possible. Now, you mention if you should read out loud in your question, and I think this can help, you know, reading out loud it helps you connect better with the book but it also helps you work on your your pronunciation.
And this gets even stronger if you have the audio for the book, so I highly recommend finding books that come along with the audio. This is true for fiction and also non-fiction. So, try to find books that have the audio, that way you can listen and read at the same time; you can read the book, listen later and it just helps you really learn about the book and to understand the language and to connect the words – the written language – to how it is spoken; to the pronunciation.

So, that’s something that I highly recommend that you do too but as I’ve just said a few times: find books that you find interesting.

Anonymous asks: is there a difference between have I told you yet and did I tell you yet?

This is a great question because the way that Americans use this; the way that people in America use yet – and the tense that they use – was really confusing for me at first, so just to give you an example in the UK people generally say, “have you eaten yet? Have you eaten yet? While in America, you very often hear Did you eat yet? Now, if you get grammar books that are focused around (on)

Now, if you get grammar books that are focused around (on) British English, then they’ll tell you that you can’t use yet with the past simple, however, it is used all the time here and it’s the same with the adverb already, they’ll use it in a question like did you do already? or I did already

So, it’s very common to see this in American English For me, there’s no right way / no wrong way and as I’ve lived here for four / five years now. This has become very normal for me, you know, to listen to this and sometimes I say myself too: I use the past simple with yet and I’ll say to my wife, “Did you eat yet?” Because this is what hear all the time while living here. So, there is no right or wrong way… it’s a little bit confusing because sometimes you might think, “what’s the difference between the two?” but it’s just because you’re listening to British English and American English so you’re going to hear both variants, but my recommendation is when you’re speaking try to stick with one that way you won’t hesitate and you won’t doubt what you’re saying.

Reginaldo from Brazil asks: is it possible to learn English on the internet for free?

Reginaldo, yes… you can definitely learn English on the Internet for free, you know, there are so many resources out there at the moment and the fact that you’re watching this video now means that you can learn English for free. I’m giving you free advice, I’m giving you free resources and lessons, and are so many other great teachers doing the same as well.

In addition to that, I want to talk a little bit about when I started learning Spanish because when I started learning Spanish in university we didn’t have the internet at home which meant that if I wanted to do something online I had to go to the university and because I didn’t want spend to lot time at university unless I was in lessons or in the library, I didn’t do it that often and therefore if I wanted to read something in Spanish I had to buy a physical newspaper at the shop. So, I didn’t have access to Spanish television, Spanish newspapers, Spanish blogs, and articles, and anything else that comes online – TV shows – therefore, right now we’re living in a great time because as an English Learner you have access to all these resources you can do anything in English… no matter what your interest or what kind of media you like.

There’s always something out there for you for free, erm, however, there is so much value and you’re going to get so much from taking course – a good course – or taking lessons from an English teacher. Working with someone one-to-one is one of the best ways that you can improve your English: you’re going to get feedback you’re going to get really good personalized advice, specific to you, so I think a combination of the two is the best where you use these free resources and you get lot of lot of input, but then you take courses that are specifically going to help you; you take lessons that are specifically going to help you.

So, as I say, a mixture of the two; a combination of the two is probably the best way to do it.

My question for this episode is this: how often do you listen to audio books in English? How often do you listen to audio books in English? Leave your answers below, thanks for watching, and see you next time

Q1: What is the best way to read in English? Should I read out loud?

A lot of learners read books that they feel they have to read. But reading should be fun. So, find books that are interesting to you and books that you are going to enjoy.

Reading out loud helps but make sure you know the correct pronunciation. I recommend getting books that come with audio. You can listen and read at the same time or just listen to the audio.

Click here to learn more about the best books for learning English.

Q2: Is there a difference between have I told you yet and did I tell you yet?

Both “Have you done it yet?” and “Did you do it yet?” are fine. The first one (the present perfect) is mainly used in the UK while the other is used in the USA.

It sounded strange to me when I first heard how Americans used this. But as I have lived here for a few years now, I’m used to it.

Just know that both are correct and used in this way, there is no difference between them. When speaking, choose one variant and stick with it, otherwise, you might hesitate when speaking.

Q3: Is it possible to learn English on the internet for free?

You can definitely learn English for free. There are so many resources out there and I encourage you to take advantage of them. When I started learning Spanish, I didn’t have access to these type of resources. But now I do, I can do so much more in Spanish. However, taking courses or lessons is one of the best things you can do for your English. A combination of the two is ideal.

What to Do Now:

1. Answer the question below: How often do you listen to audiobooks in English?
2.
 If you haven’t done so already, download your FREE Guide, and sign up to receive English learning advice from me. Get reading!
3. Click here to ask me a question about learning English.

Thanks for watching/reading!

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  • Alina Ionescu

    I just started to read and listen my first audiobook last week on my way at work!

  • Dapot Sianipar

    When I have no idea what should I learn, I tend to listen to English podcast.