Forget grammar

I know this might break the hearts of some English language learners who have been trying to make sense out of complicated grammar rules for years but the best way to learn English is to take grammar out of the equation at the start.

The best practice example for this in the real world is how non-native English speakers who move to English speaking countries just see a huge improvement in English without formally learning English. They learn how to speak English without learning all the rules associated with English speaking. So, if you are an English student who has spent years and years sitting in boring grammar lessons and still cannot speak English fluently, forget grammar for a few months and practice speaking in English.

Think in English

Ever noticed how it takes you a few seconds longer to respond to a question in English? This is because you think in your native language and translate to English. This process, often referred to as mental translation takes a valuable 2-3 second, which is the difference between a smooth, fluent, effortless English speaker and one who is not very fluent.

How do you fix this? Start thinking in English. It may sound silly but when you are driving to work, think of everything you need to do for the day in English. When you are cooking, use English to think through the recipe. When you are working out, think of your routine in English. It sounds silly and ridiculously simple, but the results will surprise you. Train your mind to think of English as the main language. You will see a huge improvement in your conversations in English.

Activate your vocabulary

Here’s a question. Next time you get stuck trying to say something in English, make a note of what the word you were searching for. Was it a word you did not know or was it word you knew that did not come to your mind?

You will find that 90% of words you get stuck on (or search for) in conversations are words you actually knew… Why does this happen? Why do I forget words that know during conversations? This phenomenon is often referred to as the lack of an active vocabulary. You can memorize millions of words, but if you don’t use them in conversations, they will not mean anything.

How do you overcome this challenge? The only solution is to practice speaking in English a lot. If you can speak a lot with native English speakers it is even better, as you will get used to their language patterns and pronunciations more. Start doing this, and you will never get stuck in the middle of a conversation again!