How To Think In English – The Importance of Contextualization

July 24, 2017 - Priscila Pereira

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Hey, friends! How are you doing?

Thanks for reading another post of mine! Make sure to leave me a comment telling me your opinion and ideas!

In this post, I would like to write to you about another “how to think in English” message. I believe it is so important to practice this exercise because I truly feel that the more you try to think in English, the better speaker you become, the more confidence you build and the more vocabulary you learn.

I’ve already told you that grammar will not dictate whether you should think in English or not. Many English students feel uncomfortable about thinking in English because they feel they will make many grammar mistakes and consequently this kind of exercise would not be a good idea.  If you feel this way, check my blog because I dedicated a post just to talk about that.

Conversely, lack of contextualization might stop you. Let me tell you why.

Let’s assume you are a pre-intermediate speaker who is trying really hard to improve your English. You watched my videos and read my posts and now you are decided to think in English. Having no context may be a show stopper. Why? If you don’t know what you are going to think about, this exercise loses its purpose and efficacy. The number one thing you need is not good grammar or good vocabulary (actually you do this kind of exercise to improve your vocabulary, so it is ok if your vocabulary is not on point), on the contrary, you need a context.

What is context?

Let’s think of a simpler word to describe the word context. Situations. If you want to make your brain work, you need to give it a little “push”. This “push” is the situation. “Context” is the same as fuel to a car. The car won’t work if there is no fuel. If your brain has no “context”, no “direction” no “fuel”, it will not go anywhere, it will not do what you want it to do. If you follow my channel, you see that I often post “how to think in English” videos, and many of them are about “topics”, “subjects” where I give you ideas of expressions, vocabulary, verbs,  how to organize your phrases, essential grammar points you can use in order to think about those subjects. In those videos, I’m giving you “fuel” so that your “car” can start moving.

How can I find context alone?

One problem many of you may encounter whenever you are trying to think in English is to find the right subject to think about. It may not be as clear to you as it is clear to me, what kind of subjects you can think about. Another common mistake English students make when they are doing this exercise is to try to come up with difficult subjects and ideas.

Let’s go back to the car analogy. When you start driving your car, do you expect to reach a really high speed in the first minutes? Is that possible? Can you start driving your car at a 100km or 80miles an hour as soon as you start driving it? No! Why not? because you need to gain momentum. The car needs to gain that force “slowly” (some cars get it faster than others, but you still need time, momentum). The same happens to your brain, you need to gain momentum.

You can’t expect your brain to know how to do this exercise if you are giving it extremely difficult subjects to think about in English. You may be completely capable of doing that in your own language, but now, we are talking about that in English. So, the simpler the subject, the better. You need to build that momentum in your brain, that is to say, in order for you to reach your full or best capacity, you need to prepare for that.

Well, then Prix, help me out! What ideas do you suggest?

Sure thing! First and foremost, check my youtube channel. There are some interesting videos there where I give you contextualized ideas. But I want to give you more, so I will list below 5 interesting subjects to help you get started ok? (by the way,  I intend to make videos about all these subejcts, so make sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss when these videos are released)

  1. Kinds of movies: explore different kinds of movies, and for each kind of movie you like, find reasons to support why you like it. You can also think of movies you watched and liked and make a quick summary about the movie mentally)
  2. Your dream house: explore possible words related to houses. If you find this difficult, that means you need to work on your vocabulary. It is ok if you need preparation. That’s the goal of this activity. Check the vocabulary you need, and then during the day, go back to this mental exercise and try again. Think about every aspect of your dream house: location, size, decoration, details, what kind of things you would be able to do in this house, you can even think about the price of this house and how long you feel it would take you to get that dream house. You can also think of your current house and make comparisons)
  3. Places I would like to visit: With this subject there are so many things you can think about. The places, what you can do in these places, why you want to go there, when you plan to go there, why you can’t go there now and so on.
  4. Favorite Holiday: What’s your favorite holiday? why? What do you usually do on this day? Do you have a special memory related to this holiday? Ask yourself these questions and embark on another fun subject to help you think in English
  5. If I were rich I would: Another great subject and here I wrote “rich” but you can replace this word with another one. If I were in the US, If I were taller, If I were younger, If I were older, etc. Think of all the things you would do if this event/quality/idea were true in your life.


There you go! Keep in mind that not having the vocabulary or the structure to to this activity is part of the game! That’s how you are going to explore what kind of words and structure you need to work on. That’s how your “car” (brain) will gain momentum and get better and better (faster and faster) at doing this exercise!



I hope you found this article useful. Share it with your friends and let me read your thoughts in the comments! You can also watch a video of mine where I talk about this as well!


Thanks friends, and I will see you next time!


Priscila Pereira

Starbucks and TV Series lover: juggling with teaching, blogging, and a YouTube life! I’m teacher Prix and I want to help you talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime in English! This blog is for English speakers who are looking for an effective blog. Get inspired by hundreds of different posts for all English levels, so that you can finally learn English easily and effectively on the internet.

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