How to get fluent in English

by Louisa / 11 March 2014 / No Comments

How to get fluent in English 

Why do you want to learn English? This is what we ask all our students – and ‘to improve fluency’  is the main response.

Fluency is improved through a mixture of confidence, good English knowledge, eradicating simple mistakes (that can make you sound less fluent) and through a chance to hear and practise fluent English.

Here are 5 simple steps to help you sound more fluent. Just these small changes and a little practise can make a big difference. So, read on and do the ‘checks’ to help you improve.

1. Eradicate those simple mistakes that make you sound less fluent

For example, a common mistake is to add an ‘s’ to these nouns:

People,    food,    furniture

But this is wrong. Here is an example of a correct sentence using these words:
E.g. All the people ate all the food while sitting on the  furniture.

Check 1What simple mistake do you often repeat?  Maybe this mistake has become a habit. Try  creating a new habit – of hearing the correct version. Start by using the correct form in a sentence 5 times every day for a week. This correct form will start to sound right. This means that if in future you use it incorrectly,   it will sound wrong and you will correct yourself.

Check 2Do you often say:  ‘Lots of ‘persons?’ This is incorrect. It’s ‘1 person, 2 people.’

 

2. Learn phrases and not just words

There are many words which are almost always associated with another word or words. Look at these verb + preposition examples:

to depend on            to believe in
to agree with            to specialise in
to wait for                  to protect from
to apply for               to apologise for

Check 1: Choose 3 from the above and say sentences so you get to hear the verb and preposition together.

Check 2: If you want to use a verb after one of the above, what do you notice about the form? *

 

3. Learn 2 or 3 English sounding words or phrases to make you sound more natural when listeningBe fluent in English

Such phrases are small but important in social interaction and encourage the other person to keep talking . You will sound more fluent.

I know what you mean
Yes, absolutely
Is that right?
really?
Is that so?

Check: Try saying 2 or 3 of the phrases above.  Which do you feel comfortable using?

 

4. Don’t worry about being correct

Over-correcting and over-thinking your words  kills conversation. You may be accurate but maybe your listener has gone to sleep!
Of course accuracy matters but in fluent conversation, it is better if you speak fluently than take lots of time thinking about your words.

Check: Try speaking about something each  day for 1 minute. Don’t worry about accuracy (you can research any necessary areas of vocabulary and grammar afterwards) but concentrate on keeping speaking. Try these 5 topics, 1 per day:  Me and my family, the food we eat,  my favourite holiday, the worst film I’ve ever seen, In 5 years time I want to….and why.

 

5. Speak early in a conversation

Speaking English is also about confidence. The more you wait in a conversation, the harder it is to say something at all. You feel more shy as time passes. Asking something early like ‘tell me about your holiday’  is a great way to start a conversation and it will be easier to contribute to the conversation as a result of speaking early.

Check: Next time you are in English conversation, try it and good luck.

* The answer to 2.  is the gerund. E.g. I believe in working hard. I depend on her leaving early

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About the author:

Louisa is Course Director at Phone English. She helped start Phone English after many years of teacher training and materials development at www.global-english.com.

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