Want to speak English in complete sentences? If yes, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll tell you what you need to do to make sentences in English properly (when you speak).
First, let me ask you a question.
How did you learn to make sentences in your first language?
Do you remember?
I assume this is how you did it:
- At first, you could only speak in words.
- People began to talk to you in sentences.
- You started to speak (in simple sentences).
- People kept talking to you in sentences.
- Finally, you got really good at making sentences.
As you can see, you learned to speak your first language by doing just two things:
- Listen to people speak correct sentences over and over.
- Speak the language over and over.
So, if you want to master forming sentences in English, just do the same thing!
First, you need to listen to English regularly
Listening is how you can learn to speak English in a natural way (the same way you learned your first language).
You don’t need to listen to something difficult. You goal is not to improve your listening, but to improve your ability to make sentences in English.
But you need to listen regularly. (I suggest that you do it every day). If you don’t have time, I suggest that you download English conversations to your phone, and listen to them when you’re riding the train, working out, or waiting in line.
Your free time is limited. So, listening to English while doing mindless stuff is a smart way to use your time.
Of course, listening alone is not enough. It’s too passive. You also need to practice making English sentences out loud.
There are two ways to do it.
1. Practice forming sentences using “English speaking lessons”
English speaking lessons are audio or video lessons that help you practice speaking English.
This video shows you how it works:
As you can see, here’s how these lessons work:
- The teacher (the voice in the lesson) asks you a question.
- You answer the question in a complete sentence.
- The teacher provides the correct answer. (If your answer was incorrect, you pause and repeat the correct answer.)
If you’re a beginner, this is the best way to practice making sentences in English.
Here’s why these lessons are great for beginners:
- These lessons give you instant feedback, which allows you to fix mistakes in your sentences immediately.
- You learn how to form sentences by practicing, not by studying. This is the right way to learn spoken English.
If you want to more details about these lessons, read this article.
Now, let’s talk about another way to practice forming English sentences.
2. Imitate the way native speakers form sentences
This is another great way to improve your ability to form sentences in English.
To practice this technique, play an English conversation (video or audio) on your computer or your phone.
As you listen to the conversation, here’s what you need to do:
- Listen and memorize a sentence.
- Recall the sentence that you just memorized out loud.
- Move on to the next sentence.
Let me elaborate on each step.
Step 1) listen and memorize a sentence.
If you think this step is easy, let me assure you, it’s not.
Why? It’s because native speakers often make long and complex sentences. They also tend to use words that non-native speakers aren’t familiar with.
Here’s an example: “There are a lot of things that people in our team, including myself, say all the time that we really need to stop saying.”
When you imitate native speakers, you’ll come across sentences like this a lot.
How do you remember a sentence like this?
Well, the key is to memorize a few words at a time.
Don’t wait until the speaker completes the whole sentence. (You won’t remember anything if you do that.) Instead, after a few words have been spoken, pause and repeat those words immediately.
Here’s an example:
- Native speaker: “There are a lot of things…”
- You: “There are a lot of things…”
- Native speaker: “…that people in our team, including myself…”
- You: “…that people in our team, including myself…”
- Native speaker: “…say all the time that we…”
- You: “…say all the time that we…”
- Native speaker: “…really need to stop saying.”
- You: “…that we really need to stop saying.”
You get my point, right? When you try to memorize a sentence, you should memorize just a few words at a time. Do it until you reach the end of the sentence.
Once you finish memorizing a sentence, go to step 2.
Step 2) Recall the sentence that you just memorized out loud.
This step is simple and straightforward. You just try to recall the sentence you’ve memorized out loud.
When you try to recall a long sentence, you probably won’t be able to do it. Your sentence might contain mistakes. You might forget some words.
This is perfectly normal. In this case, rewind back to the beginning of the sentence and repeat step 1.
How many times should you repeat? Do it until you can recall the sentence (almost) perfectly.
After that, move on to the next sentence.
When you imitate native speakers, you’re learning to how make sentences in English like native speakers.
Before you start this practice, there are a few things you need to know first:
- This practice really works. I know it because I’ve used it myself to improve my speaking. (Thanks to this practice, I’m now very satisfied with my spoken English.)
- If have trouble understanding native speakers, you need to improve your listening skills (You can’t imitate native speakers if you don’t know what they’re saying.)
- This practice is NOT a magic solution. It requires work and effort. You need to practice a lot in order to see results. If you only practice for five minutes a day for two weeks, you won’t see any improvement. Instead, you should practice for at least 20 minutes per day for several months.
- The practice will be very difficult to do in the beginning. But it will get easier over time. So don’t give up!
What NOT To Do
If you really want to speak sentences in English correctly, you must practice using methods that work and avoid methods that don’t work.
There are two methods that don’t work. Avoid these methods so that you don’t waste your time.
1. Learn English sentence formation by studying.
Here are a few examples:
- Read articles about sentence construction.
- Watch video lessons that teach you how to make sentences.
- Memorize sentence construction rules.
These activities are a waste of time. You can’t learn to speak English by studying. Instead, you must learn to speak English by practicing.
Learning to speak English by studying is like learning to swim by reading books. It doesn’t work.
Studying can also make you think about grammar rules when speaking. This is not good. When speaking English, you should only think about the ideas that you want to express, not grammar rules.
Don’t study sentence formation. Practice making sentences out loud instead.
2. Practice making sentences on your own (without any input).
Some English students try to improve their spoken English by talking to themselves.
Did you ever try to do it?
If you did, you probably encountered these problems:
- You wanted to express an idea, but you didn’t know how to put it into words.
- You felt like you didn’t speak like native speakers.
- You made a lot of mistakes, but you didn’t know how to correct them.
These problems are the reason why talking to yourself is not a good practice.
A good practice must teach you to speak like native speakers and help you fix your mistakes. This is why you should practice with English speaking lessons or by imitating native speakers. These two methods ensure that you receive correct input, which allows you to speak English correctly.
If you want to make sentences in English like natives, here’s what you need to do (or not do):