With or Without Subtitles: How to Learn English from Movies and TV Series

Skeptics smirk, but learning English from movies and TV series does bring good results. And this way is sure to please movie buffs who are not afraid of difficulties. Here’s a list of techniques for boosting your listening comprehension and building up your vocabulary.

Why is learning English from movies and TV shows so effective?

You won’t get tired as quickly when you watch your favorite movies and sitcoms as you do when you’re practicing grammar. And if the movie is really your favorite, parsing the dialogues won’t be a drag.

Listening to foreign speech is one of the most important steps in learning English. There are a lot of phrasal verbs and words from the vocabulary of an average American or Englishman in shows and movies. In fiction and grammar books they are less common. But their knowledge distinguishes a person, for whom English is not their native language, from a native speaker. And watching foreign movies and TV shows introduces you to the customs and traditions of Americans and English speakers.

However, not everyone has enough time to watch movies and shows. That is why a cheap paper writing service can be a great option for busy people who want to learn English quickly. The writers of this service can help you by providing interesting essays with easy-to-understand phrases and difficult words from foreign dialects.

Subtitles in English Series and Movies

So how do you work with movies and TV series without translations? Do I need to include subtitles? These seem to be the most common questions most people ask first. Subtitles are necessary for people with zero knowledge to feel the peculiarities of a foreign language. Not beginners can watch movies and TV series with English subtitles only. But from the Intermediate level on, try to turn them off as well.

How to watch to really memorize

After you’ve watched a movie or a series (preferably the next day) choose a part of the video you want to understand.

Write out the unfamiliar words in context (for example, not suicide, but commit suicide). Do the same with interesting phrases and unfamiliar grammatical constructions. Write your examples with new vocabulary units next to them. The parsing is considered complete only when there are no unfamiliar or incomprehensible phrases in the video.

Minus – for a complete analysis of one movie or series, it will take you more than one day. But your efforts will be repaid faster than if you just watched your favorite show in English with little or no understanding.

For fast learning there’s the Shadowing technique, which involves repeating authentic speech over and over again after the speaker. The method develops listening comprehension, improves pronunciation and helps you remember even complex grammatical structures and phrases. Take a piece of a movie or TV series, lasting 3-5 minutes, and repeat after the characters each phrase. Try to catch the pace and intonation of the actors. Repeat 3-7 times until you have memorized the basic phrases and grammatical structures.

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What TV series to watch

  1. Extra. A great series for beginners, developed by the British TV channel Channel 4. This is an easy and funny series, which will allow you to quickly fill in the gaps of the school English program.
  2. Desperate Housewives. An interesting plot complemented by a measured pace of speech and everyday vocabulary. By Desperate Housewives is taught by many students. You can watch it with a strong Pre-Intermediate level.
  3. Gossip Girl. The series “Gossip Girl” will tell about the life of rich young people. There is a lot of dialogue in the show, with the actors speaking at an average pace. If the previous one was too easy for you, this show is perfect.
  4. Friends. Our selection would be incomplete if we didn’t mention the iconic series Friends. You can start following the lives of six friends from New York City from the Intermediate or Upper-Intermediate level. Characters talk at a fast pace, so the meaning of phrases can escape from those who still have a low level. Don’t forget that this is a sitcom. Most of the jokes are based on wordplay, which can be difficult to understand.

Movies to watch

  1. Face/Off. Dedicated to fans of John Travolta, whose speech is very clear and intelligible. The mix of action and thriller and a great American accent – perfect!
  2. Runaway Bride. A good family movie, with which you can learn a few dozen useful phrases and expressions.
  3. Click (Click: With a Remote Control for Life). A lighthearted movie with meaning. If your loved one is also learning English, you can watch this movie together. We assure that you will have something to discuss after the final credits.
  4. A Little Bit of Heaven. This life-affirming picture will teach you to express your emotions and feelings in English.
  5. Marley & Me. An interesting film that will appeal not only to fans of animals, but also to lovers of romantic stories.
  6. Home Alone. This film can be rewatched endlessly. The picture is filled with humor and useful phrases. There are no lofty words, only useful vocabulary for everyday communication.

Harry Potter. Fantasy fans of all ages will love the Harry Potter series of movies. The complexity of the speech increases with each film. Dialogues in British English will allow you to prepare for a trip to London, for example.

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