How to Speak English Fluently
Everyone who is learning English wants to know how to speak English fluently. But what does this actually mean? The website www.dictionary.com defines "fluent" as able to speak or write smoothly, easily or readily. ("Readily" means quickly and without difficulty).
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Most people think that fluently means perfectly but this is not true. If you think about it, you will realize that even most native English speakers don't speak perfect English; most people make mistakes with their grammar, their choice of words, or even their pronunciation.
What we will look at here are some tips to help you speak smoothly, easily or readily. Not how to speak perfectly.
"I want to know how to speak English fluently.
What can I do?"
I am asked this question a lot. My first question to the student, after I've discussed with them what fluent actually means, is how much English they speak every day. Often they will answer, "Only in my lessons", or "When I'm at school". The first thing I will say is, "That is not enough!"
If you want to do anything well, you have to practice. It is the same with speaking English. The most important thing you can do to improve your fluency is to practice. Speak to friends, co-workers, classmates, people on Skype or the web, people in stores, even complete strangers. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will be.
I usually ask the student how they feel about speaking English, and they often say "nervous," "scared," or something similar. The second most important piece of advice I can give is
to relax. Don't worry about making mistakes. Fluency does not equal perfection! If you can't think of the right word or tense to use, don't worry about it. Just say anything that communicates the point you want to make.
Speaking English fluently isn't just about practicing your speaking. It is also important to listen to as much English as possible. This is easy with access to the web, movies, TV and radio. If you listen, even if you are not concentrating on what you are listening to, you will start to absorb the language and will start using phrases and sentence constructions without thinking about them.
If you are with a group of people, there is a game you can play to help improve your fluency. It is called 'Just a Minute'.
Write some different subjects on pieces of paper (for example, holidays, Michael Jackson, being rich, dogs, my favorite movie, the politics of Outer Mongolia – anything you want). Each person takes a piece of paper and has to talk for one minute about the subject without hesitation.
They are not allowed to repeat what they say, and they are not allowed to change the subject. It isn't easy, but if you practice it becomes much easier. Even native English speakers find this hard, so you don't have to be with other learners to play it. It can be good fun, and will be great practice for you.
So if someone asks your help on how to speak English fluently, you will now know exactly what advice to give them.
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