Do you get frustrated when you forget to use all the new words, correct tenses and prepositions when speaking EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW THEM?!?
The English that we know and the English that we speak are not the same. When we write, we have more time to think, retrieve words, and organize our thoughts.
When we speak sometimes we go into ‘survival mode’ or ‘autopilot’ – and we forget to use all that lovely grammar that we know.
Why is that?
And does it mean that we need to learn it again and again until we ‘get it’?
If you want to use spontaneously the grammar that you know when speaking, one of the things that can really help you is to think about it like habits.
You have gotten used to speaking with certain speaking habits, and to change them you need to create NEW habits.
How do we create new habits? Through consistent repetition.
But here’s the catch – how can you create new speaking patterns if you don’t use them?
Watch this episode to find out:)
Hey, welcome to the InFluency Podcast. I’m your host, Hadar Shemesh. And today we are going to talk about something really important, and that is how come you can’t seem to use all the grammar rules that you know. Meaning, you know how it’s supposed to be, but for some reason, when you’re speaking, you never use the right tenses or grammar structures. And that’s a problem. So, today we’re going to talk about why that happens and how to overcome it.
Hey, hey, hey, welcome. So, you know, I’ve been teaching English and pronunciation for 12 years and one of the things that I always hear, especially from people who use English on a daily basis at work, one of the things that people struggle with the most is the fact that they feel so much more comfortable writing emails, journaling in English, reading books, you know, listening to English… And also, they know a lot, right?
Like if they had to teach someone about the present perfect continuous or the future perfect, they’ll know what to do and how to explain it and maybe even how to use it. But when it comes to speaking, the brain is just not cooperative and they can’t seem to retrieve the right form. And they feel like they’re a lot more expressive and a lot more in control in writing than in speaking.
So first of all, it makes a lot of sense, and I’m sure that you can relate to that as well because there’s always a gap. Because it’s not fair to compare the two. I always say that this is like two different languages, the language that you know and use when reading and writing, and the language that you speak. Because it requires different skills and one is more conscious and you have time for it. And the other one is immediate and subconscious and you just can’t compare the two.
And recently I received a DM from someone who said exactly that, you know, and that’s his biggest struggle. And I was like, okay, it’s time to talk about grammar, not just vocabulary and pronunciation, which I love. But the good thing is that I don’t have to teach you grammar. I’ll just help you understand how you can implement and integrate the grammar that you know or that you’re learning because learning is simply not enough. You got to put it to practice and you got to use consistent repetition. And I’ve based my entire teaching method on that topic.
And I’ve changed many things in my life, by the way, using that concept; changing negative thoughts or beliefs or fears, right, like I used to do that through understanding my patterns and changing them. And I’m applying a lot of things that have worked for me in my teaching. And that’s one of the things that I’m sharing with you right now. Because you know, just like you, I’m always in this ongoing strive for improvement and just feeling a bit better today than I did yesterday. Okay. So, let’s listen.
“I worked at this comp… Um, I have worked at a company… I have been working at this com… Can I just email you my answer?”
If you’re the kind of person who much rather write and communicate over email, then speak because you feel that there is this huge gap between how you speak and the language that you know while writing – especially when it comes to grammar because you know the rules, but you can’t seem to freaking use them when you speak spontaneously, then this video is for you.
But before that, if you’re new to my channel, then allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hadar. I’m a non-native speaker of English, and my job is to help you feel confident, clear, and very expressive in English. So come on over to my website at hadarshemesh.com to check it out and get a lot of resources that are going to help you get the results that you want. And consider subscribing if you like my content. And click the bell to get notifications so you know when I release a new video.
Now, here’s the thing. I always say that knowing English, the English that you know and the English that you speak – is like two different languages. And we need to treat it as two different languages. You cannot expect yourself to use all the things that you know when speaking, as you do when writing. Because when you write an email or when you journal, you have time to think and to retrieve the rule or to make sense of things.
And when you speak spontaneously, there’s so much that goes into what you are doing, right, like you’re communicating, you’re thinking about what the other person is saying; you’re trying to retrieve words, you want to be clear, you’re thinking about your body language, maybe you want to be heard. So it’s kind of like your brain doesn’t have a lot of space to retrieve the right rule because it hasn’t become automatic just yet.
So, what happens when you’re speaking, instead of using all the things that you know, is that because there are all these things that are going on, you are simply going back to old patterns. And it could be old patterns from the time before you even started learning or improving your English. So what happened here between the time that you just started speaking English and you were just trying to get by and survive, and you pretty much translated the grammar of your native language. And now you know so much more, but you still go back to these old patterns. Why?
The reason why is because you haven’t created new patterns. And the way to create new patterns is through consistency and repetition. And if you’re not using while speaking these new tenses because of the old patterns, then it’s a catch 22. Because there is no way for you to create consistency and repetition using those new tenses or grammar rules, because you’re not using them.
So, as a result, what happens is that you’re going back to old patterns, you’re going back to your autopilot. Right? And even though you know these things, you need a little bit of time to retrieve them. This is why it’s easy while writing, but harder when speaking. Which leads us to the question, “Okay. So if I don’t use it, how can I create new patterns? How can I create this repetition, this consistent repetition that kids have, right, like when learning a language because they use it again and again, and again? How can I create it if I never get to use it because I don’t have the right circumstances for that?” And my answer would be you create those circumstances.
Now, my entire method, my pronunciation confidence method, is based on that concept that you can’t change not your pronunciation, vocabulary, nor grammar without building pronunciation confidence, which means without creating new patterns. Now, the common misconception is that people say, “I don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak, and this is why I can’t create new patterns. And when I do” – usually it’s the case that I’ve illustrated before, you are really trying to get by and put in all these elements and information into the conversation. So it’s not just about that right tense that you need to use. Right?
So, the misconception is that like, “I can’t change it until I use it in a real-life conversation.” However, your subconscious mind does not know or does not care if when you’re speaking and saying something again and again and again is to a person – or to yourself. But the act of consistent repetition is the way for you to start changing your old patterns.
And I have learned that doing this work while I was working on my pronunciation, right, as I was trying to learn the new sounds of English – sounds that I was not born into. But then I realized that that’s the case with vocabulary as well, as you can see in this video, if you haven’t yet. But it’s the same with grammar. And in the near future, I’m going to create some drills and share them here with you to show you how to do that and to help you how to do that. But for now, I just want you to understand that concept, that for you to create the new grammatical patterns and the new structures, repetition and being consistent is the way to do that.
So one of the things that I do with my students is I create drills and exercises, like my Sprints. If you don’t know what a Sprint is, then I will link to it in the description. So I create those repetitions of tricky sounds, grammatical structures for people to repeat them again and again and again until they change the old patterns, okay. So for example, if you struggle with the present perfect continuous, then I would recommend to create a list of many, many, many different sentences that have the present perfect continuous tense and then say it again and again and again and again, and repeat the different sentences. And then again and again, and again and again, and again, and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it and repeat it until your subconscious mind understands how to use this tense.
And because it’s always in context, it’s always in context, then the brain will know also when to use it, even if this tense does not exist in your native language. That’s how babies learn the language. That’s how they form these grammatical structures in their brain. And it shouldn’t be any different.
So think about it. Learning a certain grammar rule and then expecting yourself to use it effortlessly and spontaneously while speaking is like reading about how to ride a bicycle and then expecting yourself to get on a bicycle and then to ride without falling right away, even if it’s your first time. It doesn’t make any sense, right? Like you can’t learn how to swim by reading a book about swimming. You can’t bake a cake simply by buying the ingredients. You have to put it together and you have to put it into practice and you have to get it into your body, okay. You have to create the new patterns.
So if you don’t have the opportunity of doing it while speaking to other people, then I would recommend to fake it and to create this repetition, even if it’s just you. But be very focused, only do it with the things that you’d like to change and improve. So, reading out loud will help you with general things, but it’s not going to help you with certain tenses. So you’ve got to have repetition of the same thing and of the same tense.
And by the way, this is exactly what we’re doing with the Sprints and in my membership, because we help our students build the confidence that they need – whether it’s pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar – through consistent repetition, and only of the things that they really need to change. And by the way, if you want to find out more, cause you don’t want to do it alone and you want guidance and help, and to save time, then click on the link below to find out more about Beyond – my membership for English learners, and my Sprint challenge, which is 30 Sprints for 30 days to boost your pronunciation confidence.
Okay. So let’s wrap it up. First, remember that if you know a certain grammar structure or rule, the fact that you know it doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically use it when speaking. In fact, it’s impossible without building consistent repetition. Okay? So that’s the first thing.
The second thing is that you need to understand what is your biggest struggle. So, not what your pattern is, but what can’t you change about your pattern? What is that one tense that you keep failing to use, or that grammar rule that you keep forgetting? Even though if you were to write an email, you would use it correctly. So you got to understand that pattern, and then focus only on that rule or tense, and create consistent repetition.
So start repeating the same thing again and again and again, and again, and again. Like the same idea, same sentences, same examples, like we did with the vocabulary drills in the video that I recommended. Okay? And then do it enough times and then try to use it intentionally in a conversation. So you come very aware to a conversation that you want to use that specific thing that you have practiced. Okay? And of course, if you want my help and resources, and my community and my coaches, then check out my programs in the description below.
Okay. Now let me know in the comments, what is the one grammar rule that you keep failing to use, even though you know it – grammar rule or tense, whatever that is.
And that’s it. If you like this video, click “Like” and share it with your friends. I will truly appreciate it. And remember, speak up, always speak up, whether you use the right tense or not. Because mistakes is the only way to learn.
Have a beautiful week, and I’ll see you in the next video. Bye.
Here’re more episodes for you to practice your English: