Should I use subtitles when watching series and films in English?


This is a question I get all the time from clients: Should I use subtitles when I watch content in English? Should I put the subtitles in English or Spanish? Will using subtitles make me reliant on subtitles?

This is the answer I always give:

“It depends.”

I know it’s not a very satisfying answer, but it’s honest. Here’s why: The key to learning another language is to engage with it as often as possible. That means that if watching series in English seems boring or like “homework” because it is too hard to follow the dialogue without subtitles, we won’t do it at all. So, in that case, putting on subtitles can help modify the content so the activity seems more enjoyable and so we do it more often. Consistent practice is the key to success!

Why use subtitles?

There are several benefits to watching your favorite movies and shows with subtitles.

  • To learn more about a language. Subtitles can be a great way of learning more about the grammar and vocabulary used in a language. You can pay attention to how words are pronounced, which words are used in certain situations and why they’re used, or even just try reading along as if it were English class!
  • To improve your pronunciation. Watching movies with subtitles allows you to focus on how the words are really pronounced (as we know, English is NOT phonetic). This will help you improve your ability for speaking aloud and pronouncing words and phrases at a normal speed. You can also get used to English intonation and rhythm while listening and reading.
  • Subtitles can make you a better reader too! In addition to helping with pronunciation, subtitles allow us to read faster than normal speech speed gives us time for. This means that even if we don’t want to use them all the time (and who would?), they’re still useful tools when reading text aloud or silently because they increase our reading speed while decreasing eye strain caused by prolonged periods spent staring at computer screens or phones.

Use subtitles to maintain your motivation and build your daily English habit

As previously discussed, one of the main reasons for using subtitles is to maintain your motivation and focus. Have you ever tried doing something that’s too hard? It’s not fun, right? You’ll feel like giving up before you even get started. If you’re learning English, it’s much better to start out with materials at a level that suits your language level than it is trying to fly past them without subtitles just because they’re in English.

Subtitles are also a great way to build daily habits by making learning part of your daily routine—just like brushing your teeth or taking a shower every day! Once you become used to watching series and films with subtitles, this will become an automatic habit when watching TV or movies in English.

How to choose the best subtitles for you?

As you can see, there are so many good reasons to use subtitles. No matter what kind of series or film you’re watching, they will help you to improve your understanding of English and make your experience more enjoyable.

The first step is choosing the right series or film for you. If it’s possible, start with a show that has subtitles in Spanish first – it’s important not to get frustrated by too much difficulty if you’ve never used subtitles before! When starting out with Spanish subtitles, I recommend choosing a title that is fairly easy to understand. This way, when we try out English-subtitled content later on, we’ll be able to compare our performance against our Spanish-subtitled performance over time (or vice versa). Once we’ve gotten comfortable reading both types of subtitles together at once—that is when things get really interesting!

This process takes time and patience but once it becomes part of our daily routine (and hopefully not just during winter!) then everyone wins: us learners because we are improving every day; and Netflix because they know how much people love their service and want them around forever 🙂

Some tips for making the most of your time with subtitles

  • Learn new vocabulary: Subtitles can be a great way to learn new words. If you’re watching a film or TV show, keep your eyes on the subtitles to see if you can spot any words that are used in the dialogue but aren’t familiar to you. Then look them up!
  • Improve grammar skills: When watching something with subtitles, pay attention to how each sentence is constructed and whether there are any confusing parts of speech or verb tenses being used. If something doesn’t sound right, pause and rewind so that you can see what’s actually being said and work out what went wrong. You might also try asking yourself questions such as “what would make this sentence clearer?” or “how could I do this differently?” which will help improve your understanding of grammar rules without feeling like learning a new subject at school all over again.
  • Improve pronunciation: This one goes hand-in-hand with grammar but it’s worth pointing out separately because pronunciation really isn’t something we think about too often when speaking English as native speakers (although Americans will probably benefit from learning about British accents!). Learning how accents differ makes us better able understand people who come from different backgrounds and regions; it also helps us communicate more effectively when talking with someone whose first language isn’t English (which happens surprisingly often).


I hope that this article has been helpful to you. If you are new to using subtitles, I highly recommend starting small with a show or movie that you already know and love. This will help you build your confidence before tackling more complicated material. Subtitles can be a great way to gain fluency in English, but they are not for everyone. You should only use them if it works for your learning style and lifestyle!

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