Language learning is a strange thing. We often understand what has been said, but are unable to reproduce the exact words. Listening comprehension is almost always better than oral expression. We need to force ourselves to consciously take note of structures used so we can use them again in our conversations. This is easier said than done.
In class, I often have conversations that go like this:
Teacher: That’s great, where are you going on holiday?
Student: I go to Mauritius
Teacher: Mauritius – cool! I’m jealous. Who are you going with?
Student: I go with my girlfriend
Teacher: And what are you planning to do when you’re there?
Student: I will do some hiking in the mountains and I will dive
The student has understood everything that I asked him, without noticing that I consistently used the present continuous to talk about his next holiday. If he had listened to the structure in my questions, he might have found logical to use the same in his answers. But I’m not sure if we are even able to do this – perhaps it’s too much for our brains to cope with at the same time.
My advice: listen to English as much as you can every day – on the net, download podcasts, listen to songs. You will learn to speak better by assimilating language than by studying grammatical structure. And then – practise, practise, practise!
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