How Do I know When I’m Fluent in English?

“Am I fluent in English?”, someone asks.

Here’s how to tell:

How do you know when you are fluent in English?

This is an important question.

You’re working hard to get good at speaking English and you want to know how well you’re doing… and when you’re (finally) going to be fluent.

I get it.

But this is a tricky question to answer, because fluency is extremely hard to define. And extremely difficult to measure.

As I’ve talked about in the past, fluency really is not a single thing. It’s actually a set of processes all happening simultaneously in the brain that accumulate in what we see as fluency.

So really you would need to measure all of these things separately.

But that’s not very practical…

So here’s what I say ー

When you get to the point where you are doing stuff in English, whether speaking to people in conversation, reading books, listening, whatever it is, and you start to forget what language you are doing it in… then you are doing pretty damn well.

This doesn’t necessarily mean you are perfect in English (there is always more to improve). But it does mean that you do the things that you do in your native language, and you do them in a way where you’re not thinking about your English.

It’s happened to me and it’s happened to quite a few of my Extraordinary English Speakers’ members.

And it is a great feeling, I can tell you.


P.S. If you’re not sure how to make this happen…

… get yourself a copy of my book, Master English FAST.

Meet the Author

Julian Northbrook

Julian Northbrook is an unconventional punk of the business English learning world. A leading expert in English education and direct response marketing, he’s fully equipped to drag you kicking and screaming from English-mediocracy to speaking at an outstanding level. After being turned down for his dream job in the art industry, Julian suffered three long years as a crap Japanese speaker. He understands exactly what it’s like to feel like a total idiot every time you speak. But Julian overcame his language problems, mastered the language, and went on to work first as a freelance translator, then as an executive member of a Japanese company. But he soon grew sick of the corporate world and left it to pursue something infinitely more satisfying — running his own business helping small business owners and entrepreneurs get so good at English that they forget that it’s not their first language. He writes the infamous Doing English Daily Newsletter which you can (and should) subscribe to.