I have noticed that most of the people that come to me asking for help are looking for quick fixes. As I have noted in past posts, perfecting any language is NOT easy. It takes time and effort; you need to ask yourself if you are willing to put that into your studies. If you are, then I have some shortcut tips for you. I don’t have tricks that will give you perfect English in five minutes a day; in fact,NO ONE does, and if they tell you otherwise, they are lying to you.
Read on if you want some solid tips that will help you learn how to speak English more fluently, in less time.
1. Accept That English Is a Weird Language
Sometimes you can find patterns in English grammar, but other times English doesn’t make sense at all. For example, why are “read” (reed) and “read” (red) the same word, but pronounced differently depending on whether you’re speaking in the past or present tense? Or why is “mice” the plural of “mouse”, but “houses” is the plural of “house”?
Unfortunately, there are just as many exceptions as there are rules in English. It’s easy to get stuck on learning how to speak English properly, if you try to find a reason for everything. Sometimes English is weird and unexplainable, so instead the best thing to do is just memorize the strange exceptions and move on.
2. Dive into the Deep End
Studying English for an hour once a week isn’t usually enough to make any real progress. The best way to quickly improve your English is to spend at least a few minutes practicing every day. Immerse yourself as much as possible every time you study, and challenge yourself to listen to, read, and even say things in English that you think might be too difficult for you. If you want to speak English fluently, you need to make it an essential part of your everyday life.
3. Stop Being a Student
The right attitude can make the difference between failure and success. Stop thinking of yourself as someone who is learning English, and start thinking of yourself as someone who speaks English. It’s a small change, but it will make you feel more confident and help you to use the English you already know more effectively.
This also means you need to start thinking in English. If you want to say the word “apple” in English, for example, right now you probably think of the word in your native language first, and then try to think of the correct word in English. Instead, try imagining a picture of an apple, and then just think the English word “apple”. Real fluency happens when you stop mentally translating conversations.
4. Remember the Answer Is in the Question
Listen carefully when someone asks you a question in English and you’ll answer perfectly every time. English questions are like mirrors:
Does he…..? Yes, he does.
Can she….? Yes, she can.
If someone asks you a question and you’re not sure how to answer, start by thinking about the words used in the question. The person has already said most of the words you need to make your answer. Instead of just memorizing English grammar, start to look for patterns like this one. There are a lot of simple ways to “cheat” and make it easier to remember the right words.
5. Get More out of Listening
When most students listen to a native English-speaker, they focus on understanding what all the words mean. This is definitely important, but there is a lot more you can learn from listening. Try listening not just to what the words mean, but to how the person says them. Notice which words the person links together in a sentence, or when they say “ya” instead of “you.” Try to remember these details the next time you speak and your English will begin to sound more natural.
Easier said than done, right? When you listen to native English speakers, it can be hard to understand every single word that is spoken. They might use many words you don’t know, talk too fast or have a strong accent.
The more you listen to this authentic English, the better you will understand how to speak English naturally.
6. Use It or Lose It
There’s an expression in English: “Use it or lose it,” which basically means if you don’t practice an ability, you might forget it. This idea can be used to help you remember new English vocabulary. The best way to remember a new word is to use it right away so it will stay in your memory. When you learn a new word, try to say it in sentences a few times over the next week and you’ll never forget it.
7. Learn and Study Phrases
Speaking English fluently means being able to express your thoughts, feelings and ideas. Your goal is to speak English in full sentences, so why not learn it in full sentences? You’ll find that English is more useful in your everyday life if you study whole phrases, rather than just vocabulary and verbs. Start by thinking about phrases that you use frequently in your native language, and then learn how to say them in English.
8. Don’t Study Grammar Too Much
The key to learning a language is finding a balance between studying and practicing. Speaking English fluently isn’t the same as knowing perfect English grammar – even native English-speakers make grammar mistakes! Remember, grammar tends to focus more on written English rules, and we DO NOT normally speak the way that we write. Fluency is about being able to communicate. That’s why sometimes it’s important to put the grammar textbook away, so you can go out and practice those writing, reading, listening and speaking skills in the real world.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Make Mistakes
Sometimes it can be difficult to put all those rules and words together into a simple sentence. Don’t let the fear of saying something wrong stop you from speaking at all. Even if you think you’re making a mistake, keep speaking anyway-- this is part of becoming Fluent. Most of the time, people will understand what you’re trying to say, even if you make a mistake. Plus, the more you speak, the easier it gets, and the more quickly the right words will come to mind.
10. Learn from Everyone
You don’t have to only learn English from textbooks and teachers – anyone who speaks English can help you practice. Imagine how you would feel if someone asked you, in your native language, how to pronounce something? Would you be angry? No! You’d probably be happy to help, just like most English-speakers are happy to help you. If you know any English-speakers, whether it’s a friend or co-worker, take advantage of the opportunity to practice and learn from them.
Good luck! Please contact me with any questions!!