Spoken English Tip #1: Learn phrases, not just individual words
If you study individual English words in isolation, this is what happens:
When you need to speak, you have to think a lot in order to combine the individual words in the right order, using the right grammar, and in a way that makes sense.
That’s WAY too much work!
If you focus on learning phrases instead, then you will have ready answers and responses for any situation – no need to over-think. Focusing on phrases will help you speak English in complete sentences more naturally.
Spoken English Tip #2: Listen to more English
Most English learners read too much and listen too little.
But when babies and children learn English, they listen first – then speak – and later learn to read and write.
Half of a conversation is hearing the other person – and if you don’t understand what they’re saying, how can you respond correctly? So if you want to improve your English speaking, spend more time listening!
Bonus: Listening more will also help you naturally improve your pronunciation and reduce your accent.
Spoken English Tip #3: Practice speaking by yourself (both reading aloud and speaking spontaneously)
When you speak English, there are two main difficulties:
- The mental difficulty of thinking of the English words to say
- The physical difficulty of pronouncing the English words correctly
Reading English texts out loud will help you with the second part without having to worry about the first part. It will train your mouth and lips to pronounce English words more easily.
Speaking English spontaneously by yourself is also EXTREMELY helpful in developing your ability to put your ideas into words… without the pressure of a real conversation. You can look at a list of discussion questions and respond out loud in English – speaking alone.
It might feel a little silly, but remember – this is GREAT training for your spoken English, and there’s nobody to hear your mistakes!
Spoken English Tip #4: Practice thinking in English
Do you think in your native language and then translate it into English in your head before speaking?
Don’t do this! It often results in sentences that don’t sound natural in English, because the sentence structure is often different in English and your native language.
Also, it takes WAY too much time to think and translate when you’re in a conversation.
One of the biggest secrets to speaking English fast and fluently is to learn to think directly in English. The great news is that this is is a skill you CAN develop with practice, and you can practice anytime – while taking the bus, while waiting in line, while sitting at home.
Try thinking in English for a few minutes today, to start building this habit!
Spoken English Tip #5: Get an online conversation partner
“How can I practice speaking English if I have nobody to talk with?”
There are “conversation exchange” websites where you can find a partner who speaks English, but wants to learn your native language.
You can then schedule a conversation session and speak half in English, half in your native language so that both of you can practice.
It’s also good to have someone help correct any errors in a relaxed, low-pressure situation.
Here are some examples of conversation exchange websites.
So if you don’t have a conversation partner, get one today – it will really help you practice your speaking.
Spoken English Tip #6: Remember that communication is more important than grammar
Do you get nervous when speaking because you’re afraid of making a mistake?
Remember that the #1 goal of speaking English is to communicate. Although grammar is important, it is less important than communication when speaking English.
Here’s a simple example – if you say:
“Yesterday I go to party on beach.”
The sentence isn’t grammatically correct, but it DOES successfully communicate your message, and an English speaker will understand you. It’s better to say something “wrong” and still communicate successfully than to say nothing!
Also, the grammar of spoken English is more flexible than the grammar of written English – so don’t worry too much about grammar when speaking.
Spoken English Tip #7: Speak slowly
Trying to speak English too fast won’t make you sound like a native speaker. Instead, it can actually make it more difficult for the other person to understand you.
Speaking English slowly has two advantages:
- It gives you more time to think of what to say
- It makes your speech clearer so the other person can understand
Over time and with practice, your spoken English will get faster naturally.
Spoken English Tip #8: If you forget a word, use other words
It’s very common for English learners to stop a sentence in the middle because they’ve forgotten the word they want to use – but try to be creative. The other person can help you if you describe the word you want by using other English words.
For example, one of my students was describing a recipe, and he didn’t know the word for one of the vegetables. So he said “It’s white, and like a ball, and when you cut it, you cry.”
I said, “It’s an onion.”
So you can see that my student communicated successfully by using different words, even though he didn’t know the word he wanted to use.
Spoken English Tip #9: Relax & have a positive, confident attitude
If you make a mistake or forget a word when you are speaking English – it’s OK! Don’t be nervous or afraid.
The person who you’re talking to will understand and be patient with you. If you are insecure when speaking English, it will be even more difficult to speak.
So DON’T say “My English is terrible” or “Sorry for my bad English.” These are negative comments and they’re not helpful.
Instead, think “I can speak English!” before every conversation in order to give yourself more confidence and help you speak better!
Spoken English Tip #10: Learn real English phrases for everyday life
Today, you have the opportunity to take an English course that focuses on useful English in the context of conversations.
The Everyday English Speaking Course is a simple, fun, and effective way to learn new phrases and expressions – and improve your speaking ability.
Each lesson is based on conversations, and reading and listening to the dialogues will help you improve your understanding.
The next part of the lesson explains and expands upon the vocabulary you heard in the conversations, teaching you new expressions and showing you how to use them.
There are lots of practice phrases which you can listen to and repeat to improve your English speaking.
Finally, each lesson has quizzes to help you test yourself and remember the new phrases – and opportunities for you to send speaking samples and get feedback from me on your spoken English.
Learn English for Daily Life
In this course, you’ll learn how to speak English in the typical situations of daily life:
- Talking on the phone
- Going to restaurants & going shopping
- Traveling: airport, hotel, & sightseeing
- Talking about hobbies & entertainment
Learn Social English
You’ll also learn important phrases for social English, so that you can interact with other English speakers successfully and confidently.
- Agreeing & disagreeing
- Giving opinions & advice
- Asking & interrupting politely
- Expressing thoughts & feelings
Learn Practical English
The course also covers practical vocabulary for talking about:
- Similarities & differences
- Certainty & probability
- Hypothetical situations
Interesting Topics in English
And finally, there are lessons on topics you don’t often find in textbooks:
- Slang & euphemisms
- Interjections & swearing
- Discourse markers
- Using vague language
More than 100 students have taken this course and enjoyed it.
They describe the course as…
“Very good with clear explanations”
“Useful for daily life”
“Brilliant, warm, nice, and concrete”
“Totally worth it!”
Other English websites charge a monthly fee for access, but when you sign up for Everyday English Speaking, you’ll get instant and permanent access to the 45 lessons in the course. There’s no time limit for finishing – you have access to the course forever.
You can pay by credit card, debit card, or PayPal through a secure connection that keeps your information safe. (For payment by bank deposit in Brazil, contact me for details.)