1. Don't study grammar too much 不要学习太多的语法
This rule might sound strange to many ESL students, but it is one of the most important rules. If you want to pass examinations, then study grammar. However, if you want to become fluent in English, then you should try to learn English without studying the grammar.
Studying grammar will only slow you down and confuse you. You will think about the rules when creating sentences instead of naturally saying a sentence like a native. Remember that only a small fraction of English speakers know more than 20% of all the grammar rules. Many ESL students know more grammar than native speakers. I can confidently say this with experience. I am a native English speaker, majored in English Literature
, and have been teaching English for more than 10 years. However, many of my students know more details about English grammar than I do. I can easily look up the definition and apply it, but I don't know it off the top of my head.
I often ask my native English friends some grammar questions, and only a few of them know the correct answer. However, they are fluent in English and can read, speak, listen, and communicate effectively.
Do you want to be able to recite the definition of a causative verb, or do you want to be able to speak English fluently?
2. Learn and study phrases 学习短语
Many students learn vocabulary and try to put many words together to create a proper sentence. It amazes me how many words some of my students know, but they cannot create a proper sentence. The reason is because they didn't study phrases. When children learn a language, they learn both words and phrases together. Likewise, you need to study and learn phrases.
If you know 1000 words, you might not be able to say one correct sentence. But if you know 1 phrase, you can make hundreds of correct sentences. If you know 100 phrases, you will be surprised at how many correct sentences you will be able to say. Finally, when you know only a 1000 phrases, you will be almost a fluent English speaker.
The English Speaking Basics section is a great example of making numerous sentences with a single phrase. So don't spend hours and hours learning many different words. Use that time to study phrases instead and you will be closer to English fluency.
When you want to create an English sentence, do not translate the words from your Mother tongue. The order of words is probably completely different and you will be both slow and incorrect by doing this. Instead, learn phrases and sentences so you don't have to think about the words you are saying. It should be automatic.
Another problem with translating is that you will be trying to incorporate
grammar rules that you have learned. Translating and thinking about the grammar to create English sentences is incorrect and should be avoided.
3. Reading and Listening is NOT enough. Practice Speaking what you hear!
Reading, listening, and speaking are the most important aspects of any language. The same is true for English. However, speaking is the only requirement
to be fluent. It is normal for babies and children to learn speaking first, become fluent, then start reading, then writing. So the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing.
Isn't it strange that schools across the world teach reading first, then writing, then listening, and finally speaking? Although it is different, the main reason is because when you learn a second language, you need to read material to understand and learn it. So even though the natural order is listening, speaking, reading, then writing, the order for ESL students is reading, listening, speaking, then writing.
The reason many people can read and listen is because that's all they practice. But in order to speak English fluently, you need to practice speaking. Don't stop at the listening portion, and when you study, don't just listen. Speak out loud the material you are listening to and practice what you hear. Practice speaking out loud until your mouth and brain can do it without any effort. By doing so, you will be able to speak English fluently.