Do you KNOW a lot of English but still struggle to SPEAK?
Well, a student of mine named Duleendra sent me this. See if it sounds familiar.
“I have been trying to speak fluently since many years ago but I feel I am still in the
same place where I started. I have studied many grammar rules but when I speak I have
found many difficulties. I am good at understanding things but I don't know why I am stilling
struggling in speaking.”
If you have this problem, you are definitely not alone.
I truly believe that ANYONE can become a fluent speaker of English - even those who’ve struggled
The truth is traditional English learning methods make communication difficult. So it’s
not your fault if you struggle to express yourself…
And the good news is that Duleendra’s problem actually reveals the solution!
When I was young, I used to love watching Michael Jordan play basketball.
He was a master who made defenders look foolish, while making the sport look easy.
Watching him dribble, or hang in the air for what seemed like impossible amounts of time,
made the world love basketball.
But, most people only saw his success on the court during games.
What you DIDN’T see was a LOT of hard work and practice in the gym.
Sure, Jordan had a lot of natural talent. But he revealed his secret to winning 6 championships
when he said, “I play to win, whether during practice or a real game.”
The message for everyone, from hall of fame athletes to language learners like us, is
clear: You play like you practice.
So if you study grammar rules when you “practice” learning a language, of course you’re going
to think about grammar rules when you speak.
Now, learning grammar is important. But HOW you learn grammar, and things like vocabulary
and pronunciation, determines whether or not you become a successful speaker.
This is really important, so I want to make sure I’m clear.
Most English learners struggle to express themselves because traditional methods teach
them to think and translate IN LESSONS. This is the “practice” time where they learn
and study. So these lessons really train learners to think and translate in conversations, and
those are the real “games.”
Michael Jordan knew a lot about basketball, but he was great because of how he practiced!
So, what does this mean for you if you KNOW a lot of English but still struggle to express
Change the way you practice to change the way you speak!
Here are two of the most effective ways I’ve found – for both myself and my students
–to “practice” the same way natives do so your conversations become much more
comfortable and fun.
The first thing you should do is try explaining things to yourself in English throughout the
day. This means both in your head and out loud.
As a learner of Japanese, I talk to myself about everything from putting on my shoes,
to what I’m having for lunch to more advanced descriptions of business and life.
I do this to make my speech automatic when I’m in a Japanese conversation because I
know I will “play” like I practice.
The second thing you can do is ACTIVELY model native speech. By this I mean you should listen
to what a native says, like even to what I’m saying right now in this video, and then practice
repeating what you hear. That’s the easy part.
But, the reason I call this “active” modeling is because after I get comfortable saying
something like a native, I then change the words to talk about something different.
You might hear something in English like, “Yesterday, I watched a movie.”
You might practice this a few times to get the pronunciation and grammar right as you
naturally connect the situation with the correct sounds and vocabulary, and then change the
sentence to something like, “Yesterday I watched a play.”
This is simple practice, but you’re training yourself to apply PATTERNS the same way natives
do, rather than trying to memorize grammar points.
Natives are usually just saying the same few things again and again – just like you do
in your native language. But natives do so automatically because they’ve developed
the HABIT of using these patterns with lots of practice.
Remember – if you sit and review flashcards or grammar tables when you “practice,”
you will forget words and translate grammar rules in your head when you speak.
So try changing the way you practice, and you’ll quickly be impressing others in conversations
the same way Jordan did on the court.
You play like you practice, so practice the way you want to play!
I’m Drew Badger, the founder of EnglishAnyone.com, and thanks so much for learning with me today!
To discover hundreds more great ways to sound more native, improve your speaking confidence
and become more fluent, just do these three simple things, RIGHT NOW.
1. Click on this link to subscribe to my YouTube channel for over 500 free videos.
2. Click on this link to download my #1 eBook guide to fast fluency, FREE! And…
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