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How to speak English fluently

( blog )

Read time : 7 minutes
learn how to speak English fluently

Most language learners find having conversations in English way more difficult than communicating in written English.

Some even say that speaking English in front of people or on the phone is one of the most stressful moments in their lives.

This stress during English conversations is usually caused by the fear of making mistakes.

Being unsure of the correct order, tense or pronunciation of the words used in sentences are some of the reasons that trigger this fear.

You may need to speak English in your social or work life, and in both cases, when the conversations become deeper, you need to give more detailed information by structuring longer sentences using more words, which brings with it the risk of making more mistakes.

If you don’t have enough English speaking practice, it is natural to prefer to express yourself with shorter sentences rather than making mistakes.

But trying to communicate with short sentences doesn’t help you achieve fluency in your English conversations and ends up making the other person lose interest in a short time!

The purpose of learning a new language is to communicate with it, so we need to learn how to understand complicated sentences and make sentences fast in order to communicate better.

If you want to achieve this through traditional English learning methods, you need to deal with many annoying tasks, such as learning grammar rules and vocabulary which you may never need to use in real life.

Many people who don’t have learning problems in any other subjects feel they are unsuccessful in learning English because they can’t use their grammar knowledge when they need to speak in daily life.

As a result, most of them either postpone their English education to tomorrow which never comes, or despair and completely wipe out the idea of ​​learning English from their mind.

What if the problem is the way you have chosen to learn English?

Let's have a look at how useful grammar rules are in everyday life :

Let’s assume that you are a coffee lover with an intermediate level of English grammar and try to order a coffee using the following 3 words in a sentence.

The grammar structure you should use :

Modal Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Adjective + Object?

3 words you should use in the sentence :

Skimmed-milk / medium-size / strong

If you learnt English with only theoretical grammar rules, creating a sentence by correctly ordering the words above will take a lot more time than it normally should and you will face a bitter reality : nowadays no one has any time to wait for someone to structure a sentence!

Trying to speak English with theoretical grammar knowledge is like dreaming of having a fit body by reading a book called “How Exercise Machines Work at the Gym”!

Our brain works just like our muscles, and when you want to develop yourself in a subject, you can only do it with practice.

Let's continue with simpler examples : There are some questions below which are easier to understand and faster to answer.

  • What’s your name?
  • How old are you?
  • How are you?
  • Where are you from?
  • What are you doing?

Interestingly, when you read the questions above, the answers appear automatically in your mind without making any extra effort.

Do you think this is because everyone has the English grammar knowledge to understand and answer these questions?

Or could it be only that these sample question-answer structures have been sufficiently repeated throughout their lives?

Let's have a look at how :

There are around 7000 languages spoken in the world and only 4000 of them have developed a written language in addition to spoken language.

In other words, all the people who speak the remaining 3000 languages ​​have to learn their own language without any written grammar rules!

Although, at first glance it may seem difficult, in fact, we are all very successful in learning our own languages ​​without written grammar rules.

In this way, we learn to read and write at the age of 6, but we can speak fluently from the age of 4 and understand complex sentences easily.

The name of this learning method is “repetitive learning” and we owe almost everything we can do automatically in our lives to this method.

More information on repetitive learning can be found at the links below : 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5625023/

So how can you improve your English and get fluency in your conversations without wasting too much time on grammar rules?

Do listening practice with everyday life conversations

Effective communication starts by correctly understanding the message delivered by the other person.

It is important to choose the right listening practice methods to make sure you understand the messages correctly.

Below are some of the most important things to consider before you start doing English listening practice.

Always listen to conversations performed by native English speakers.

Pay attention to active listening practice.

(https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_listening)

Listen to short recordings a few times, rather than just listening to long recordings once.

Focus on the way words are spoken together with other words in the sentence instead of pronouncing them alone.

In English, as in other languages, the words have different emphasis depending on the words before or after them.

Speakers of English as their mother tongue (native English speakers) tend to understand everyday conversations by hearing complete sentences, not individual words.

Therefore, instead of using computer-generated speech, do the listening practice with voice-overs done by native speakers.

A computer-generated voice can pronounce words separately, but when the words are read in sentences, it sounds unnatural and it is difficult for the listener to follow the conversations.

Check the following examples of the same conversation read by a computer and spoken by native speakers.


Text to speech example :


Mike&Cate voice-over example :



Challenge yourself to build longer sentences in English

Forcing yourself to build more complex sentences in English is also one of the most important milestones in order to take your English to the next level.

Only after this stage will you have the opportunity to work on your accent and intonation which will increase your fluency in speaking English.

Although giving short answers causes people to lose interest in conversations in a short time, remember that unnecessarily extended sentences also have a negative effect.

Instead of trying to learn individual English words from dictionary-like applications, focus on learning how to use the words in sentences.

Instead of spending time learning grammar rules, practise how to structure sentences that you need to use in your daily life.

In this way, you can order a coffee by creating the following sentences on your own.

Can I have a medium-size, strong, skimmed-milk coffee, please?

Could I have a medium-size, strong, skimmed-milk latte/cappuccino, please?

learn how to built longer English sentences

Find yourself an entertaining way to learn English

Learning English and becoming fluent in conversation is time-consuming, so start by finding yourself a fun way to practice without getting bored.

On the Internet you can find many online English education websites and apps available for beginners and children, but it is more difficult to find apps that can keep you interested if you are an adult with an intermediate knowledge of English or above.

Try www.mikeandcate.com!

By using the Mike&Cate online English learning app :

  • You can practice listening with audio recordings recorded by native English speakers
  • You can learn daily English sentence structures through repetitive learning
  • You can access sentence translations and word meanings in one click
  • You can contact other users from all around the world on an integrated message board system


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