Don’t pay too much attention to Grammar rules
Does that mean that you should not learn English grammar? Well, not really. You can’t do well in tests if you don’t know grammar rules. Students trying to do well in tests like TOEFL and IELTS must learn grammar rules. But if you are learning English with the sole objective of being a good speaker, you don’t necessarily have to be a grammar pundit.
Learn conversational structures
Native English speakers use certain structures to express ideas. These conversational structures or word combinations are often called collocations. Although many ESL students have a good vocabulary, they don’t know many conversational structures. Just knowing the meanings of words won’t make you a fluent speaker, but knowing these structures will. You can, for example, make hundreds of correct sentences using a structure like ‘I would like to’ or ‘Let me’.
Learning these phrases is a must if you want to be fluent speaker. You can find plenty of useful phrases in our English speaking section.
Different languages have different word orders. For example, in most Indian languages the normal word order is subject + object + verb. In English, it is different. The normal word order of a simple English sentence is: subject + verb + object. What this means is that sentences in your mother tongue cannot be translated into English word for word. Instead, try to learn the expressions that are unique to English and use them as they are. Don’t make modifications.
Of all the language skills, speaking is the one you should learn first. As you probably know babies learn to speak first. They learn reading and writing much later. The problem with ESL students is that they can’t follow this normal order for learning languages: they learn to read and write first. Many ESL students don’t practice speaking at all. Needless to say, they can hardly communicate their ideas in English, although they know all the grammar rules in the book.
ESL students can’t change this situation, though. When you learn a second language, you can’t start with speaking. What you can do is to grab every opportunity to speak English. Practice speaking loud until you become comfortable. If you can’t find English speaking people in your area try to find them online. By practicing your English speaking skills, you will become a fluent English speaker.
Don’t lose hope yet
Learning a language is not a difficult task. Language is a skill we are all born with. As you probably know all of us can speak at least one language. Even those lacking in brain power are able to speak languages. All that you need is some practice.