How to Learn English Through TV: It's Easy and Fun

How to Learn English Through TV


Do you enjoy watching TV? Have you ever wondered if your TV could help your English. The answer is,” Yes.” Today I talk about how to learn English through TV. Learning English through TV can be a great way to improve your English comprehension and vocabulary.

In this posting I talk about how to learn English through TV. I recommend 5 shows that are fun to watch and helpful your for your English vocabulary and comprehension. Finally, I include a download of some useful television vocabulary.

Learning English through TV is a great idea for several reasons.

  1. Speakers on TV speak English as it is used in everyday situations, not just in grammar books. TV  teaches you about slang, idioms, and informal conversational language.
  2. Your TV comes with some helpful tools that are better than real life. If the speakers are talking too fast or not pronouncing their words clearly, you can turn on the subtitles (in English, not in your language). This will help you learn to think in English. If your TV allows, you can go back and replay things you missed. You can pause the TV and look up something if you need to. It you wish, you might even want to record a show and watch it again for additional practice. You can’t do any of that in the real world.
  3. TV gives you something to talk about with you American friends and coworkers. If you watched something on TV, maybe your coworkers watched it too. Your coworkers may also recommend other shows you might like.

Below are some recommendations of shows that will be helpful  in how to learn English through TV.

These are not the only good shows to watch. Some are older reruns, but they are still very popular with native speakers of English. They also have been used successfully by many ESL students in the past. New shows come out all the time, however. Don’t be afraid to try something new. You may really like it.

  1. The News: All major networks broadcast the news. News anchors (the people announcing the news stories on TV) speak correct English. They also speak slowly and pronounce their words well. If you are a Spanish speaker, the news is easily available to you in your language. You may want to watch the news in Spanish first. Then, when you watch it in English, some of the stories will be familiar. That  makes comprehension easier You may notice that some words are the same in both languages. You may also notice a grammar structure that you studied earlier.
  2. Sporting Events: Again, if you are a Spanish speaker, you can watch your favorite sports in Spanish. Try doing it in English. If you are a Broncos fan, you probably already understand how American football works. Ii isn’t hard to learn about the plays in English, and it gives you something fun to talk about at work the next day.
  3. Sitcoms: Sitcoms are a great way to learn English because they use everyday, natural language. The plots are often simple and the action is predictable. In addition, they are usually funny. I’m going to list 5 sitcoms, but remember that these are not the only sitcoms that are good to watch.  Try these and others to see what you like best. TBS is great source of sitcoms of all kinds. You Tube often has full episodes  and short excerpts of all of these as well.
    • Seinfeld. This show is no longer running new episodes, but you can find some great reruns on TBS. This show is about a comedian, Jerry Seinfeld, and three of his slightly crazy friends. They go through many adventures looking for girlfriends and getting into many kinds of embarrassing situations.
    • The Big Bang Theory. This show is also on TBS. It is still running, but there are plenty of old reruns available if you want to watch them. The Big Bang Theory is about four engineers.They are extremely intelligent in math, science, and book knowledge, but they lack common sense in living in the real world. Two are married, one has a girlfriend, and one wants a girlfriend very much but has no luck with women. They also get into many funny, embarrassing situations as they try to understand life in the everyday world.
    • Friends. Again, you can find this show on TBS. This show is about six people three men and three women who are good friends. They sometimes date each other, and sometimes date other people. But they  go through funny adventures with themselves, their jobs, and their love lives.
    • Roseanne. Roseanne can be found on CMT. This is a story about a working class family–a husband, wife and three kids.They are fat, not well educated, and they have low paying jobs. But they love each other and are constantly having very funny misadventures (adventures that don’t turn out as expected) every day.
    • The Simpsons. You can find The Simpsons on FOX. This is a hilarious show in animated form. It is about a family–a husband, wife and three kids. Someone in the family is always in trouble. Some of the language and situations in this show may be adult, but nothing really terrible is ever broadcast.

Let the TV be your teacher. The English you learn through TV is what everyday American speak in the real world.  In addition, learning English through TV can be lots of fun as well!

Idioms of the Day

  1. To take something with a grain of salt–to not believe everything someone says. Bob often lies, so I always take everything he says with a grain of salt.
  2. To burn the candle at both ends–to work too hard or be doing some many projects that you don’t have time to rest. I need extra money so I’m working three jobs, plus I play sports on the weekends. I’m really tired. I guess I’m burning the candle at both ends.

In the next posting I talk about about the two present tenses in English, the simple present and the present continuous.

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