Students Q and A Part 2: “How do I learn to speak fluently?”

 Ten tips for speaking fluent English. 

By Mr. Richard Forrest |

One of the most common questions I get from students is “How do I learn to speak fluently?”.

Whilst, I do not claim to have a secret method to get you to speak fluently overnight.

I do have some simple tips to help you on your journey to becoming fluent English speakers faster. 

The 10 best tips for speaking English fluently

1.   Accept that English is a strange language. 

It is said that for every rule, there is an exception. This is certainly the case for the English language. Often, you will discover patterns in the grammar that don’t apply in other situations. For example, why is "mouse” the plural of “mice”, yet “homes” is the plural of “house”?

Strange, I know!

If you want to become fluent you need to accept this fact. It is because English is a mix of several other languages and it changed many times during its evolution. The best strategy is to memorize these exceptions and to not worry about the logic.


2.   Commit yourself 100% to your studies. 

For most people, learning English just one time per week is not enough to see any significant progress. If you want to become fluent quickly you need to immerse yourself in the language. This means, spending some time every day dedicated to learning and practicing English. You need to develop all areas of your English, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Push your limits and make English a part of your day to day life. 

3.   Become an English Speaker.

Like anything in life, your mental attitude has a huge influence on your success. You need to see yourself as an English Speaker and not as an English Learner. 

This small change will help you to feel more confident when using English in any situation. 

Additionally, it means you must begin to think in English. You need to stop translating words from your first language and learn to think primarily in English. Real fluency occurs when you stop translating in your mind. 

To practice, try spending some time during your day thinking only in English. 

4.   The answer can be found in the question

Luckily, if you pay attention when someone asks you a question in English, you will answer perfectly every time. English questions are like mirrors:

     Does he…..?           Yes, he does.

     Can she….?            Yes, she can.

     Is it….?                 Yes, it is.

If there is a situation when someone asks you a question and you are confused how to respond, begin by considering the words he or she used in the question. The majority of the words you need have already been used within the question. As an alternative to memorizing long boring grammar structures, look for patterns like this.  

5.   Listen, listen, and listen more.

Most of the time when foreign learners listen to a native English speaker, they focus their attention on understanding what the words they are saying mean. Although this is important, there is more to be learned from listening. 

Try listening not just to what they are saying, but how they are saying it. Pay attention to when they say “ya” versus “you” for example”, or “ah” instead of “a”. Make a note of these details and try to copy them in your own speech. This will help you to speak more naturally. 


6.   Use it or lose it!

A common expression in English is “use it or lose it”. Essentially, if you do not practice a skill then over time you will lose the ability. This notion can be applied to English vocabulary. The most effective way to learn new words is to use the words straight away to keep them in your memory. Make sure you regularly revisit and use old lists of words to keep them fresh in your mind. 

7.   Study phrases. 

Leaning to speak English fluently is not just about communicating your basic wants and needs. You need to know how to express your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. 

Ultimately, you want to speak English utilizing full sentences, so why not learn in this same way?

Learning English is far more effective when you learn in phrases and full sentences, rather than just vocabulary and verbs. 

Begin by learning phrases and sentences you use often in your own language and then learn to say them in English. 

8.   Grammar is not everything. 

You need to find the right balance between studying and practicing speaking. Speaking fluently and having perfect grammar is not the same thing. Even native speakers make mistakes. Fluency means that you can effectively communicate in any situation. 

It is like learning to swim. You can read many books on how to swim but until you are in the water you will never really know.

Remember to put the book down and practice your English in the real world! 

9.   Everyone makes mistakes. 

Students often get frustrated learning all the rules and words and then getting them right. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS. Don’t let your fear of being wrong control you, everyone makes mistakes. Even if you make a mistake, just continue talking. English speakers will be patient with you and will often understand what you mean. 

The more often you speak, the easier English will become. 


10.   Everyone is your teacher. 

Teachers and schools are not the only places to learn English. Anyone who can speak English can help you in your journey to becoming fluent. 

Practice your English with anyone and everyone who can speak. Whatever their level!

Good luck on your journeys to becoming fluent English speakers

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