How to Become Fluent in English (Without Memorization)

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Language fluency is defined in many different ways, but at its most basic, fluency requires the mastery of both the spoken and written word.

Memorization Required?

Some memorization is always required when learning a new language. You have to know the grammar rules and learn the vocabulary, but there comes a point when flashcards just don’t cut it.

So, how do you make the jump from being a beginner or intermediate English speaker to being fluent in the English language? It’s all about exposure and real-world practice – whether online or in-person.

Real Interactions

English language learners can often understand others speaking English much easier than they can speak it themselves. Mastering spoken English requires practice.

Unfortunately, most learners cannot just visit an English-speaking country and fully immerse themselves in the language. Luckily, there are alternatives for practicing!

Take a Class

Taking an English-learning class is a great way to practice speaking.

Whether online or in-person, your teacher can give you real-time feedback on your grammar, pronunciation, and word choices.

Local libraries are a great resource for finding nearby classes, and there are countless resources available online!

Find a Partner

You can even find (or form) social media groups for people who want to practice speaking English. 

Many apps exist solely to connect people with language-learning pen-pals, and some sites, like Meetup, connect you with like-minded locals.

Media

Even if you don’t have anyone to practice speaking with, you can improve your fluency by consuming English media.

Watching

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to watching English TV shows, movies, and even YouTube videos.

Filmed media shows you what people actually sound like – you hear slang and are exposed to different accents.

If the speakers are speaking too quickly for you, use subtitles. Over time, as you become more fluent, you will need to use them less and less.

Listening

Another way to increase English comprehension is to listen to audiobooks or podcasts.

There are audiobooks and podcasts on every topic imaginable, so find something you enjoy and start listening.

Another plus is that you can multi-task while listening. Cleaning the house? Listen to a podcast. On the bus to work? Listen to your favorite book!


Reading

Once you are comfortable with the English language, it is time to narrow your focus and gain fluency in the jargon (special vocabulary) of different industries.

If you are applying for an English-speaking job, for example, start reading relevant newspaper and magazine articles.

Making it Fun

You should also familiarize yourself with English-learning apps, games, and websites.

Apps

Many language-learning apps are great for both beginners and advanced learners.

Apps like Babbel and Duolingo encourage practicing every day by giving rewards for checking in. Others track areas you are weaker in and suggest customized practice.

Games

You can even practice English on game-nights with your friends.

Taboo has you guessing words based on descriptions given by friends and Scrabble is all about the words!

Songs

Lastly, songs are one of the best ways to test your language fluency.

Most songs are filled with figurative language, idioms, and slang.

Listen to your favorites, then go online to see if you caught all the lyrics. Many websites even have meanings added to the lyrics.

Becoming Fluent

Ultimately, becoming a fluent English speaker is all about practice, exposure, and hard work – not memorization. If you put in the work, you can reap the rewards.