If you speak English with a high level of accuracy it means you speak correctly, with very few mistakes. If you speak fluently it means you speak easily, quickly and with few pauses.

The ideal is obviously to speak accurately and fluently but that will come after years of practice! This section will give you some tips on how to become a more accurate and fluent speaker, the important thing is to create a balance between the two.

Total votes: 970
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Do you think you speak with more fluency or more accuracy?  How about your friends or family?  Is it the same for them, too?


Natalija's picture
Natalija 4 June, 2013 - 11:48

Hi, Jonathan
Yes, I participated at two English competitions. First was the Hippo competition, and we had reading and listening test and writing an essay(about 100 words). We didn't have to speak. We had approximately 120 minutes for this competition(60 for reading, 30 for listening and for essay). I get nervous when I have limited time, and sometimes I rush to finish it, because I feel like I won't have time enough to finish it, and I make mistakes.
I did that test relatively good, but I didn't pass that test:(. I had 95 points(maximum was 100 points), but they required us to have the maximum, and we had to be very fast. If I had passed that competition, the next would be held in Italy, and we would get international diplomas.
The second competition was more difficult. It was at Center for talents in my country, and I had to write an work about some topic(about 12 pages), and I chose to write about Jane Austen's book Pride and Prejudice. We also had to present our work, and we got points from commission of three members. We had a language test firstly, and it wasn't so difficult, we had 50 questions, like to fill the gaps, some tenses, conditionals, phrases etc. I passed the first round and the second round was held on last Sunday. I got 87 points(maximum was 100 points). I got 45 points for language test and 42 for my essay. I think commission wasn't so impressed with my analysis of Pride and Prejudice, they told me that every Austen's book is the same, about love and with happy end, but it wasn't so bad. I noticed that many students were so anxious about presenting their essay, because they had to speak in English all the time, and some of them couldn't concentrate on talking, and some friends of mine were trembling with anxiety. The consequence was that they spoke so fast, that even commission couldn't understand them. I had the same problem before, but my professor helped me to overcame it, and I don't feel nervous any longer when I speak English in public, even when it's about native speakers.
I'm looking forward to participate at these competitions again, and I'll win the next year.
And I had a speaking test once. I applied for one British scholarship, and it was the most difficult test I've ever seen. We had 5 pages reading test, a listening test, essay(300 words), and speaking test(15 minutes). We didn't have much time, and I rushed to finish it, because I was afraid I won't complete it on time, and I failed. I didn't get a scholarship, and I was so sad, but I'll try the next year again.

210 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
Natalija 3 June, 2013 - 18:32

I think I speak with both fluency and accuracy. I learnt at school to be accurate, because they always correct us when we make mistakes, but on the other hand, reading books in English and communicating with my American friend gave me the fluency. At English language competitions, for example, we have conversation exam with native speakers, and it's so useful. I agree that it's hard to speak fluently, because we're not the native speakers, so we can't talk so easily and quickly, but just as this article says, it will come after years of practice. Patience, patience and lot of patience:).
My sister, for example, is more accurate than fluent. She follows grammar rules, but she can't speak so easily. My mother and father're the same, while my grandfather is very fluent.
I think fluency is more important and I also find that teens nowadays have more problems with accuracy than earlier. The reason of that is the fact that we live the modern life-TV, internet, smart phones etc., and the majority of them can understand and speak very good, but the problem comes when they have to write essays. My best friend is perfect in English, she speaks quickly and correct, but she can't write those words correctly. She knows them, and understand their meaning, but essays're her wick side. She always get As for conversation, but a week ago she got C for grammar; she didn't know basic tenses, like Past Simple and Present Simple. It's a big problem nowadays. I participated at English competition at Saturday, and I saw many teens who really know English, but they can't put sentences in correct tense or something like that. So, I think that teens nowadays should focus on accuracy more, and to be strong in terms of both grammar and conversation.

251 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
Jonathan - Coor... 4 June, 2013 - 03:57

Hi Natalija. You made some great points. What does everyone else think? Do your school lessons focus on accuracy, like Natalija's, or fluency? Or both? If a student's accuracy's not so good, what's the best way to improve it?

I'm interested in your competition too. Sounds like you've been involved in lots of competitions lately! What did it involve? Was it speaking-based? And, how did you do?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

203 users have voted.
TeenGirlie's picture
TeenGirlie 2 February, 2013 - 07:58

Well, personally I speak fast, but it doesn't mean fluently, as sometimes it is hard for me to express the idea...
and I do lots of mistakes, but I usually correct them while speaking :)

247 users have voted.