We’ve talked about it here before; english is hard. It’s complicated, weird, there’s lots of slang and informalities and nuances. Now, I know what you’re thinking. The click-bait title has you thinking that I’m going to tell you the quick and easy way to be more fluent RIGHT NOW! Sorry to burst your bubble but that’s not how learning any language works. These “tips and tricks” aren’t about a quick fix, they’re about the things that you can do everyday to help you become a more effective and efficient communicator. Now, with the disclaimer out of the way lets get started!
This one may seem a little obvious, but bear with me. It’s not about whether or not you practice, it’s about HOW you practice. Simply reciting all the english you now while cooking breakfast or waiting in line at the grocery store is not going to get you there. You need to employ practice techniques that can give you feedback. Watch a video in english and record yourself saying some of the phrases from the video and then compare how you sound to the video. Do you have a friend that speaks english really well? Try to have as many conversations in english as possible with them.
2) Never Stop Learning
Fluency doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of practice. But a lot of second language speakers fall short is because the get complacent. They stop learning and therefore stop getting better. I’ll tell you a secret; even native english speakers need to learn. language is a never ending journey. I’ve been speaking english my whole life and there’s thousands if not hundreds of thousands of words that I still don’t know. Commit yourself to trying to be a better english speaker everyday, and you’ll continuously improve.
3) Develop Your Vocabulary
Point number two leads pretty naturally into my next point; develop your vocabulary. When we talk about vocabulary, we mean being an effective and easy to understand communicator, not a walking talking thesaurus. I don’t mean just adding bigger and more complicated words to your everyday speech. Try to pay attention to the words that english speakers use frequently and add those words to your own english speech.
Professionally, you should not use slang when speaking in english; it’s too informal. However, guests and customers may speak to you using slang. In that case, it would be a good idea to at least get familiar with some of the common slang used in english. For example, some english speakers may refer to something as “sick”. Traditionally, sick means unwell or unhealthy. But it can also mean something cool or awesome. In this case, it’s about context and inflection. If you tell a guest that their room has a jacuzzi tub and they say “That’s sick!” they probably don’t mean it’s unhealthy. They think it’s pretty cool. Study slang in english media and try to get a grasp on it. That way, when a guest calls a jacuzzi tub sick, you’ll know to smile instead of express concern.
5) Learn Expressions
English speakers use a lot of expressions. Expressions are used to convey ideas in short and recognizable bites. For example, if someone can take their time and avoid a mistake now instead of having to go back and fix it later which could possibly cost them more time and trouble then they should right? Read that last sentence again. Now try to say it in one breath. It’s run-on and hard to follow. BUT, there’s an expression that takes that whole concept and wraps it up in a digestible, easily understood package. It is, “A stitch in time, saves nine”. This particular expression refers to having to go back and fix something when sewing, but it’s used in all kinds of contexts. The point is, english speakers use a lot of expressions a lot, so get familiar with them. it’s great if you understand them when someone says them, but it’s even better if you know how to use them yourself. In fact, if you’ve noticed, this blog post is full of expressions! I’ve included a list at the bottom of what they mean, so be sure to check it out!
And there you have it! Some tips and tricks to being a better english speaker. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list and it’s not going to make you better overnight, but it will help you become better faster. I do have one more tip for you; be mindful about learning. Learn with intent and use any opportunity or resource you have available to you to help you. Is there somebody on the bus that speaks english? If it’s appropriate, try to strike up a conversation with them in english! Having a small conversation about anything at all in english has the potential to encompass every tip and trick here! Good luck english speakers!
Were there a few words or phrases you were unfamiliar with? Here’s a list to help you! Try adding some of these words and phrases to your own english speech!
- Clickbait– Something designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink, especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.
- Burst your bubble– To say or do something that shows someone that their beliefs are false or that what they want won’t happen.
- Effective– Successful in producing a desired or intended result.
- Efficient– Achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort or expense.
- Bear with me– A way to ask someone to be patient.
- Fall short– To be deficient or inadequate; fail to reach a required goal.
- Complacent– Showing smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one’s achievements.
- Thesaurus– A book that lists words in groups of synonyms and related concepts.
- Run-on– a sentence containing two or more independent clauses that are not separated by a colon, semicolon, or appropriate conjunction.
- There you have it– Used to emphasize or draw attention to a particular fact.
Do you think you go all of that? Try the quiz!