The aim of almost every English learner I meet is to be ‘fluent’ in English. But what exactly does ‘fluent’ mean? If it’s being able to speak a language perfectly, without mistakes, it probably means many native speakers aren’t actually fluent themselves!

When native speakers talk, they seem to do it easily, without stopping to think about what they’re saying. It feels like they know every word in their language but, actually, they don’t. When they don’t know a word, they quickly find an alternative way to communicate their idea. This could be describing the word they don’t know, finding a word with a similar meaning or simply giving up halfway through a sentence and starting again with a completely different structure.

Take a moment to think about how often you do this in your own language.

Maybe you forget the names of business contacts or the titles of films? Perhaps you need to explain things about your job to family or friends? Pay attention to what you’re doing the next time you’re telling a story.

We all use these techniques in our own language. That means that you should start doing it in English. Remember: It might not be the shortest or most stylish way, but there’s always a way to communicate what you want to say.  With a little bit of training, you’ll give your English the boost it needs to make you truly ‘fluent’!

Would you say that you’re fluent in English? Do you have any tips?


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