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Is It Possible to Be Fluent without Knowing Grammar?

Improve Spoken English

Aspiration to become a fluent English speaker is what brought you to my blog, isn’t that right?

Then let me take a wild guess – at least at some point in your pursuit after English fluency you’ve been engaged in a lot of English grammar studies, am I now right?

Well, in reality you don’t need to be a grammar genius to speak English fluently. First of all, only a few grammar Tenses are actually used in real life conversations. Secondly – phrases and expressions constitute large amount of spoken English. And thirdly…

Well – watch this video to hear everything for yourself!

Stay fluent,

Robby 😉

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Hi Gurpreet,

    If you watched the video above you’ll realize that you don’t have to focus on grammar as such, instead you have to learn correct spoken English patterns and do plenty of spoken English practice, if you try and apply grammar rules as you speak, you’ll completely mess up your speech!!! Please read this to learn more about it: http://englishharmony.com/speak-fluently-no-grammar/

    Yes, stress affects our learning, please read more about it here: http://englishharmony.com/stress/

    As for improving your English writing, please read this article here: http://englishharmony.com/write-like-a-native-speaker/

    The bottom line: do LOADS of spoken English practice, and for best results check out my fluency improvement program here: http://englishharmony.com/improve-spoken-english.php
    Cheers,
    Robby

  • Gurpreet Singh

    Hi Robby, that for all the good blog you have posted in you website. it gives so much relief to language learners. Now I come to my question. my question is that I have not studied in English school & but I have a English subject in my which we not learn as learning. we just learn English to pass the exam. but now I am in a job very I have to converse with people in English frequently & some times I do it very fluently but sometimes I stuck on single sentence. sometimes I’m not able to construct a simple sentence. I want to improve my writing as well spoken English. Does stress effect our learning. because nowadays I have put so much pressure in my self & I cant not memorize all the grammar rule. Grammar is very big headache for me this time. do you have suggestion where I can improve my grammar. also let me know where do I have mistakes in above post. What are the grammars rules which I should & I can scale my grammar in very short period of time.

  • Thanks Elena, and have a nice day too!

  • elena

    just a congratulations on your positive imput….it s refreshing seeing someone actually trying to help folks in an upbeat fashion….best of luck with your obviously successfull blog and have a nice day…

  • You’re welcome Deepak! Also check out this blog post where I’m going into the very depth of how grammar is acquired naturally: http://englishharmony.com/speak-fluently-no-grammar/

  • Deepak Sharma

    thanks a lot bro.

  • I agree 100% with your last statement on the importance of input and a lot of practice.

    I agree 70% with your statement that it takes a long time for a learner to learn to speak fluently without analyzing their own speech. It won’t necessarily happen – provided that the learner learns the language naturally by speaking as opposed to reading/writing based studies.

    Speaking of whether grammar is or isn’t important – well, it’s a matter of perspective. Of course it is important in the sense that no language could exist without grammar. But it’s not important at all for those who aren’t aware of it! You mentioned native speakers – well, if you asked 100 random native English speakers on the street if English grammar is important to them, I don’t think you’d get many positive answers!

    Thanks for contributing to the discussion!

    Robby

  • Francisco Javier

    Grammar is always important. The reason native speakers don’t know much about grammar is that they have assimilated it from an early age so they know grammar unconsciously, not about grammar but how to use it.

    A learner has not assimilated English grammar yet (lack of input) so it takes a long time for them to speak fluently without analysing what they are saying.

    Studying grammar can help but the operative word is “input” with lots of practice. That’s all you need. And time.

  • Well, then I don’t really get why you’re saying – try to prove me wrong – it kind of implies you’re generally disagreeing with my opinion but it’s apparently not the case…

  • dheeraj singh

    yes you are right but you repeated my statement i also told you that to be fluent in spoken English there is less requirement…..you also proved the same with your answer……..

  • Thanks Zahid, I’m getting a freaky feeling you’re reading my thoughts… :-)))

    All jokes aside, you’re dead right in what you’re saying – if you learn various collocations, expressions, phrases and idioms they contain pretty much all the grammar you need to know. On top of that you’ve just got to learn a few grammar tenses – and off you go!

    Thanks,

    Robby

  • Exactly! Way back in time I used to learn and repeat dozens upon dozens of different English grammar rules and as a result I was constantly analyzing my own speech which meant I couldn’t produce coherent, fluent speech.

    It’s best to learn correct speech patterns without analyzing WHY certain things are said in a certain way. That way there’s no to analyze anything when speaking and your fluency is less hampered.

    BTW – you may want to read this article as well which elaborates on what I just explained: http://englishharmony.com/information-overload/

    Best Regards,

    Robby

  • zahid

    I absolutely agree with you that English can be spoken fluently without knowing about tedious rules of grammar.the best approach towards learning a language is the lexical one which puts emphasis on learning collocations and then using them in your conversation.

  • kapil

    Hi robby i,m totally agree with u in fluent spoken english don,t need to use to much grammer because if you use all grammar rules u cant be fluent if u use all grammer rules u would be confuse.

  • Don’t be putting words into my mouth! 😉

    I never said English can be SPOKEN WITHOUT GRAMMAR.

    I said – English can be spoken fluency without KNOWING MUCH ABOUT grammar, which is an entirely different statement! Yes, words in any language are structured according to the respective grammar rules yet you don’t have to be aware of them to speak correctly. Same way you don’t need to know how muscles are attached to our bones by tendons to be able to walk, for example.

    There you go – I just proved you wrong! 😉

    Thanks for the comment,

    Regards,

    Robby

  • dheeraj singh

    No language can be spoken without grammar……..even not a single word……but to be fluent in spoken English there is less requirement of grammar…..if i am wrong then you try to prove me wrong………

  • Thanks for the comment David!

    Probably the message I’m communicating confuses some of my blog readers and they get an impression I’m all against grammar as such.

    Nothing could be further from the truth – and I’m sure you know it! – but obviously the previous commentator hadn’t read my other posts so she assumed I’m saying GRAMMAR IS EVIL.

    All you said about learning Czech is spot-on and the same applies when learning any other language.

    Thanks,

    Robby

  • Wow, long comment.

    Here’s my story:

    This summer I had to advertise on a jobs website for some university students to help me with Czech (I’m an English speaker in Prague).

    Why did I do this? Because most Czech teachers, and the appalling books they follow, pretty much ONLY do grammar, with very little emphasis on the collocations, idioms and phrases which form part of natural conversation.

    In fact, many of the Czech coursebooks focus on grammar tables and how I have to remember masculine, feminine and neutral forms, as well as 7 different cases, etc.

    However, after I started speaking with the students and talking about regular topics of conversation, I discovered three things:

    – yes, I was making grammatical mistakes, a lot of them in fact
    – but I was speaking a whole lot more fluently
    – and most of the mistakes I made did not impede communication (that’s a key point)

    If I did things the traditional way, I’d be in a classroom with one teacher, 12 students, and we’d all be filling in gaps for a whole hour.

    The way I did it – speaking with Czech students to build my conversational skills – has worked FAR better.

    Finally, I do believe ‘traditional’ methods have a place in learning a language. It’s just that the Czech books are so far behind the advances being made in language learning that you see in English, French and Spanish books. For instance, these days most English coursebooks integrate grammar with communication and other skills (eg reading, writing, listening etc), while the Czech coursebooks have grammar explanations in English with very little real language input.

    So it’s no wonder that you have to do something different in order to learn Czech…

  • Judging from your comment you didn’t quite get what I meant in my video.

    Firstly, I’m not saying speech consists largely of idioms – I’d be delusional to make such a claim. What I do believe however, is that our speech consists of COLLOCATIONS for the most part, and you can’t dispute that – no one can for that matter because it’s TRUE.

    Secondly, if you approach English studies mainly from the spoken word perspective and learn loads of collocations and put them to good use, all NATURAL GRAMMAR comes with them without you even realizing that!

    That’s my point, and please don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying grammar isn’t necessary. I’m saying it’s NOT NECESSARY FOR THE AVERAGE JOE/FOREIGNER TO FOCUS ON GRAMMAR STUDIES!

    If you don’t agree – that’s fine by me. But my own experience tells me differently, and in case you didn’t know I was focusing on textbook/grammar studies for years without improving my spoken fluency. For that I blame the conventional grammar-translation way of teaching the English language, and I’ll keep doing so for as long as I’m running this blog.

    Best Regards,

    Robby

  • Olga

    Another “no
    boring grammar” make-believe promise to teach you how to speak fluent English.
    There’s no way around it! Sure grammar isn’t the only issue to deal with (the
    major one is vocabulary). However grammar is the base and foundation for your
    language. But only with words your language proficiency can end up being just a
    heap of bricks and boards instead of a fine solid structure. And no number of
    words will make you a fluent speaker if you don’t have a clue how to make a
    whole from those words. Sure unless you only call an ability to ask “Where is
    the restroom?” ‘English fluency’.

    P.S. All the Tenses are used in some way just for
    communication isn’t necessarily limited by tourist’s needs. Sure phrases are to
    decorate your spoken English or express something that is better understood
    this way. But still the major part of the daily speech is just regular words.
    Even native speakers don’t speak only by idioms and slang. And even to use
    idioms and slang like they’re used by natives you have to be able to use grammar
    at least for that the phrases are composed in some way with grammar so to
    understand how to use them and what they really mean you can’t avoid grammar.
    And to top it all grammar is the minor thing which doesn’t even take that much
    time and nerves to learn than vocabulary which is a real tough nut!

    Another “no
    boring grammar” make-believe promise to teach you how to speak fluent English.
    There’s no way around it! Sure grammar isn’t the only issue to deal with (the
    major one is vocabulary). However grammar is the base and foundation for your
    language. But only with words your language proficiency can end up being just a
    heap of bricks and boards instead of a fine solid structure. And no number of
    words will make you a fluent speaker if you don’t have a clue how to make a
    whole from those words. Sure unless you only call an ability to ask “Where is
    the restroom?” ‘English fluency’.

    P.S. All the Tenses are used in some way just for
    communication isn’t necessarily limited by tourist’s needs. Sure phrases are to
    decorate your spoken English or express something that is better understood
    this way. But still the major part of the daily speech is just regular words.
    Even native speakers don’t speak only by idioms and slang. And even to use
    idioms and slang like they’re used by natives you have to be able to use grammar
    at least for that the phrases are composed in some way with grammar so to
    understand how to use them and what they really mean you can’t avoid grammar.
    And to top it all grammar is the minor thing which doesn’t even take that much
    time and nerves to learn than vocabulary which is a real tough nut!