How to become fluent in English: 8 effective everyday tips and tricks

The best way to become fluent in English is by speaking, speaking, and speaking. 1.5 billion people speak English – one of them could be your next employer (or the love of your life). Speaking English fluently will improve your career opportunities and give you access to a great deal of information and interesting people!

Fluency is not solely about perfect grammar and pronunciation. It is also about expanding your vocabulary, feeling confident in conversations and dedicating time because, it will not happen overnight. But don’t be discouraged. Only 360 million of the 1.5 billion English speakers identify English as their native language. The remaining 1 billion started exactly where you are. Read and remember these 8 different tips to take your English from fine to fluent.

Speak English every day (even if it’s just a little)

Nothing will improve your fluency like speaking. But if you are not living in an English-speaking country, finding native or non-native people to practice with can be difficult. Use these exercises to improve a little, every day.

  • Narrate your life in English – Making a cup of tea? Explain the steps to yourself in English. Choosing an outfit? Describe it out loud. Need to make food? You know what to do.

  • Repeat things in English – When you are out and about, say what you see or read in English. Let your surroundings inspire you to work on your vocabulary.

  • Practice with friends or family – If you know someone who speaks English, give them a call, go for a coffee or suggest a day where you only speak English with each other. Let them know you want to practice with them. It is a win-win, you get to hang out with someone you like AND you improve your English. Great, right?

And remember, using real-life examples relevant to you and adding context to words will lead to higher retention.

Understand your actual English level

Accurately assessing your English proficiency is essential to ensure you start at the right difficulty level.

If your material is too easy, you will lose interest. If it is too advanced, your motivation will go out the window. To accurately assess your English proficiency, you can, for example take the EF Standardised English Test (also known as the EFSET). It is free, internationally recognised, and will help you understand where to start. And not to mention you don’t have to study for it!

Improving means making mistakes

We learn from our mistakes; it is cheesy but true. The same goes for learning English. Communicating in a language you are not fluent in can feel like using a blunt knife – it is hard to be precise, things do not turn out exactly how you want them to, and it can be hard work. But unlike a knife, every time you speak and study English you are sharpening your skills. And before you know it, it ‘clicks’ and you have found your voice in English.

Invest in private lessons with a private tutor

If you are serious about becoming fluent in English, getting expert help is a good investment. A great teacher is irreplaceable; they motivate, guide and mentor you. Attending online private or group lessons will dramatically speed up your progress.

Education First pioneered experiential language learning in 1965, by taking students to the country, getting them to speak with locals and immerse themselves in the culture – with the expert guidance of teachers, of course.

To create a more flexible and accessible way to efficiently learn English, Education First founded the first-ever online English school – English Live. Converting the same concept of experiential language learning into an online English school. Combining one-on-one lessons with certified teachers, interactive group lessons with other learners from around the world, and self-study material available 24/7 – on any device. Getting you speaking from day one with real-life scenarios and roleplaying. In a safe, encouraging, and flexible environment. Want to learn more? Check out the award-winning English Live.

Incorporate reading and hearing English into your everyday life

Switch your everyday content from your native language to English. You have probably heard it before – because it works! However, make sure that the things you read and watch are relevant to you. Having a genuine interest or connection leads to faster progress.

When choosing content, be sure to ask yourself these questions:

  1. Is this suitable for my English level?

  2. Am I interested in it?

  3. Am I going to learn the type of English that I need to learn?

Learn whole phrases not just words

Fluency is being able to speak in whole sentences, without hesitation. If you are learning English one word at a time, pulling together seamless sentences will be difficult. Simply knowing the meaning of a word is not good enough to fully grasp how it is used in real life.

When practicing new vocabulary, attach it to a sentence or a phrase. For example, if you are learning the word ‘tomorrow’ it is helpful to learn a phrase like ‘Tomorrow, I would like to...’. This way when you are making plans for the next day, your brain is able to automatically fill in the rest of the phrase!

Practice your pronunciation

Besides attending private and group lessons, another method of perfecting your pronunciation is recording yourself.

  1. Listen to a sentence (for example from TikTok, Netflix, or UK News)

  2. Repeat the sentence and record yourself saying it

  3. Listen to your version and the original

  4. Make changes to the way you say it and get long-term repetition

Use spaced repetition

Repetition helps solidify new words in your memory. However, repeating them a hundred times in one day will not be as effective as spaced repetition, where you repeat them a few times over a period of several days or weeks.

Use the new phrase immediately. Then try to recall it in an hour. Think of it shortly before you go to bed. Use it again the next day. Finally, review it in a couple of days after that. Et voila – it is stuck in your brain. On to the next phrase!

Becoming fluent in English is not easy, but it can be life-changing. Use English every chance you get, speak about things you like and find things that will help you stay motivated to keep improving. Whether that is a private online teacher, your partner, or that overseas job you have been dreaming about. And don’t forget, the fastest way to fluency is by speaking, speaking and speaking! (But you already knew that.)