​How to speak English fluently: 7 teacher tips to improve your English

students speaking english

Have you already learned some English but are hoping to learn how to speak English fluently? We’ve put together some advice from English teachers to help you to do just that! Here are our 7 top tips to improve your English speaking skills:

1. Focus on your interests!

If you don’t care about tennis or sailing then there isn’t much point learning English vocabulary about these sports if you don’t like them and are never going to talk about them. No – you should focus on learning English language that relates to your interests, hobbies, plans and personality. You should take note of the English vocabulary and phrases you frequently use in your own language and find out how to say them in English. You shouldn’t directly translate the phrases – instead you should learn what English speakers say in place of that phrase. They’re often very different!

2. English Conversation: Find a language partner

Practicing with a native speaker will help to improve your English speaking skills. You can look into language exchange sites, like Tandem, or paid services, like iTalki, to find a native speaker who can help you practice English conversation. Both these sites allow you to find online tutors for English lessons on Skype.

If you can’t find or can’t afford a native speaker, speaking English with people who speak English as a second language is still beneficial. Many students who are fluent English speakers admit that they rarely spoke with native speakers whilst they were learning. In fact, approximately 70% of English speakers are people whose second language is English.

3. Use content created by native speakers: Consume content you like in English

Using content created in English for native speakers can help you get a feel for how native speakers use the language. You will hear the natural rhythm and tones of the English. You can use sources like:

  • YouTube videos on topics you like
  • Watch movies or TV series in English – use subtitles if necessary
  • Spotify or youtube for music- find lyrics online
  • Audiobooks – services like Audible are great for listening to Books in English

When you are watching a movie or video or listening to a song can can pause whilst you listen and practice phrases that you like and that are relevant. The subtitles function can help you to improve your understanding and enable you to pause and copy the phrases.

4. Stop translating!

Translating from English to your own language in necessary in the beginning, but if you continue to do it as you get better in English it is actually a huge block to fluency. You should use feelings and your physical senses to learn vocabulary, not a translator. Don’t think of an apple as whatever the word for apple is in your language. Imagine the fruit when you say it instead. Try to do this with all of the language that you use!

It can be more difficult for non-physical words, like jealousy and disappointment. Here, you should use a dictionary (not google translate!) to find the definition in English and some sample sentences so that you can feel how English speakers use the word. Then, instead of translating jealousy – you can imagine your partner speaking to an ex-lover, or that time that your friend bought a new, expensive car. Having a mental visual image of a word will help you remember it much easier.

5. Learn about linking words in English

Linking is a way of joining the pronunciation of two words so that they are easy to say and flow together smoothly English speakers often link certain sounds and learning to mimic this will make your speech sound more natural. You can check this website for the linking rules and some examples.

I recommend downloading songs, using the rules to work out which words in the song should be linked and then listening to the song to see whether you were right! You should also copy the speech as practice. Singing is a great way to practice forming sounds and linking correctly in English.  

6. Increase your vocabulary

A wide vocabulary is key to speaking English fluently. English has a huge range of adverbs and adjectives to help you express yourself. You might know the adjective ‘good’ in English, but fluent English speakers naturally use lots of synonyms of ‘good’. If you know the words good, great, amazing, incredible, awesome, and excellent then you’ll be able to have a much more exciting conversation with someone than you could if you only knew “good”. You can search for synonyms of a word here on this website

When you learn new English vocabulary you should also practice saying the words in different example sentences. Again, choose sentences that make sense to you and that you will remember.

7. And finally,……Practice, practice, practice!

It’s usually easy to find time to practice reading, writing and listening to English – but conversation practice requires the help of another person. If you can only meet up with your language partner once or twice a week, you should still devote a few minutes to improving your English speaking skills each day.

There are plenty of ways to practice speaking alone. You can have conversations with yourself, or you can think of questions that people might ask you and practice answering them. If you live in an English speaking country, you can walk into a store or talk to someone on the bus. Any practice is good practice!

Improving your English fluency will take time and practice. If you follow our helpful advice and stick with it, we are sure that your will learn how to speak fluently in English much faster than you thought possible!