I must train it vs. I must practice it

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WRONG: My English is terrible. I must train it.
RIGHT: My English is terrible. I must practice it.

This week’s mistake is one I know very well. All the time, after not knowing some Czech words or getting my sentences wrong, I say ‘Musim trenovat čestinu’. But like most of my students learning languages, I rarely do!

However, if we translate this phrase to English, it is actually wrong. We don’t use the word ‘train’ – we use the word ‘practise’.

In English, to train is typically associated with working on some sporting fitness or technique (‘I have a 10km race next month – I need to train’). Another use is when you teach someone how to do a particular task or job (e.g. I trained my dog to sit).

For improving verbal skills, however, use ‘practise’. If you want to say ‘Musim trenovat anglictinu’, say – I must practice my English.