English Fluency or Accuracy… Which Is More important?

March 29, 2024
By Kat Sylwester

As language learners, we have all heard about the four core areas that we need to practise: listening, speaking, reading and writing. But as always, it’s a bit more complicated than this! 

There are also so many sub-skills we need to practise: pronunciation, spelling, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation… and dozens more!

It can be very overwhelming, I know. I speak from experience as not only an English teacher, but as a Spanish language learner.

So where do we start?

Believe it or not, all of these skills can be broken down into two main categories: fluency and accuracy. 

What’s the difference between fluency and accuracy?

When we have good fluency, it means that we can produce and engage with language in a smooth and effortless way. Sure, we may make mistakes, but we are able to communicate our ideas. 

Many of my students describe fluency as “saying what is on my mind without translating word for word”. 

Fluency is mostly associated with speaking, but of course we use it when we write as well. We text our friends, write informal emails or chat online using our fluency skills! 

Accuracy, on the other hand, is often what we think about when we start learning a language. Accuracy is about using correct grammar in speaking and writing. It is about understanding the deeper meaning and usage of vocabulary and also involves the correct pronunciation of words.

It takes lots of practice to be accurate, and it is something we need to work towards little by little. Every week we can exercise a different aspect of our accuracy, whether it be vocabulary, grammar, or pronunciation.

OK, but which one is more important… Fluency or Accuracy?

When we go to the gym, we focus on both endurance and strength in order to get fit and stay healthy. 

And when we communicate in English, we need to use correct language and do it without thinking in order to have a meaningful conversation with others. 

So the truth is, both skills are equally as important.

How can you practice both skills equally?

This is something we talk about a lot inside Hey Lady!

It’s important to focus your time doing activities that will help you to develop the specific skills that you know you need to improve - it’s different for everyone!

Here are some ideas our members love!

Ways to practise English Fluency
  • Speaking & Listening: Find an English speaking partner and have a 15-minute chat with them once per week about a topic you are both interested in.
  • Writing: Find a pen pal and write friendly emails to each other throughout the week.
  • Reading: Switch all social media apps to English to practise reading quickly and get used to different writing styles.

Ways to practise English Accuracy
  • Keep a vocabulary journal and write down different word forms and collocations you learn. Practise using them in a sentence accurately.
  • Do grammar exercises online or in a book to test your skills and check your accuracy.
  • Practise reading aloud and record yourself to listen to your pronunciation.

The importance of balancing fluency and accuracy 

Time and time again, I’ve heard students tell me how frustrated they feel because they have been studying English for years and still don’t feel fluent. 

And the reason is almost always the same: they’ve simply spent too much time focusing on accuracy instead of balancing it with fluency practice.

Need some help finding a balance?

Finding ways to practise both of these skills can be quite difficult and overwhelming when you’re trying to do it alone, without any guidance. And engaging a private tutor is very expensive when you add up how much time it takes to become truly fluent!

That’s why women around the world love Hey Lady!

Our team of English Coaches offer grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation lessons to help members focus on improving their English accuracy. We even have special “Office Hours” events where members can ask their Coach specific questions about the vocabulary they learn each week.

Then, after we learn the new words and language… we put it into practice by talking in real conversations! Every day inside Hey Lady! our Coaches and members host video chats where we practise using the language we have learned. We chat online, we write articles and we focus on the most important part of language: communicating and expressing our ideas freely, naturally and spontaneously. That’s why you started learning English in the first place, right? To express yourself confidently and fluently!

At Hey Lady!, we help our members develop fluency and accuracy, without the stress or anxiety of planning it all yourself. So you don’t need to wonder “which one is more important” or “how to balance both skills equally” anymore - we’ll help you strike the perfect balance through our regular schedule of lessons and conversations. 

All you need to do is show up regularly and practise with us!

Click here to join our community and use code TRYNOW50 to get 50% off your first monthly payment! (Offer ends 30th April 2024)

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