Does Grammar Study Kill Your English Fluency?

The title of educator AJ Hoge’s book describes the goal of most English learners: Effortless English: Learn To Speak English Like A Native (Effortless English LLC, 2015). But the goal of true effortless fluency is only a dream for most immigrants.

U.S. immigrants and their U.S.-born children now number over 80 million persons, or one-quarter of the overall U.S. population, according to statistics from the Migration Policy Institute. The tremendous growth in immigration has created strong demand for English language training.  Yet, only 40% of English learners improve their fluency level after one year of study, and many fewer achieve full fluency, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.  In a 2012 report, the agency noted, “the design of the programs themselves is a factor”.

Those shocking statistics prompted Hoge to label the adult English education system as Public Enemy Number One. “We tell immigrants they must learn English, but the system completely fails them,” he says . “In particular, the focus on grammar study is killing the fluency of English learners”.   Few understand just how debilitating grammar study can be.

In his new book, Hoge — Director of Effortless English — explains in easy-to-understand language how direct grammar study silently inflicts damage to immigrants’ speaking and listening ability.  Grammar study confuses students by forcing them to learn abstract linguistic formulas rather than learning to speak naturally.

Effortless English points to research data that shows how grammar study also significantly contributes to:
High dropout rates
Hesitant speaking with poor pronunciation
Lack of fluency

Most immigrants don’t realize how bad grammar study is for them. This is the first book that provides an in-depth explanation. Hoge began to look into the problems of grammar study after teaching English in Japan.

Despite 6 or more years of English study, most Japanese never learn to speak English fluently.  Hoge noticed that the Japanese system emphasized the memorization of grammar rules while providing little to no natural English listening.

He wondered, could grammar study actually be the problem? The more he dove into the research, the more he realized that grammar damages natural fluency. No wonder so many students failed.  Hoge then embarked upon a search for more effective methods to help his students achieve confident, correct, fluent English ability.

“We simply have to change the way English is taught,” says Hoge. “And the first thing we must do is stop teaching grammar to immigrants.  We must use more natural methods that imitate the way they learned their native language. ”

“With the right methods, adult immigrants can develop fluency in about 6 months”, says Hoge. Effortless English will help teach people more effective alternatives to grammar study.

For more information about Hoge’s new book Effortless English: Learn To Speak English Like A Native, visit

Author: A.J. Hoge

ISBN English Paperback: 978-1-942250-00-5
ISBN English E-book:  978-1-942250-01-2
ISBN English Kindle: 978-1-942250-02-9

ISBN Spanish Paperback (Inglés Sin Esfuerzo): 978-1-942250-03-6
ISBN Spanish E-book (Inglés Sin Esfuerzo): 978-1-942250-05-0
ISBN Spanish Kindle (Inglés Sin Esfuerzo):  978-1-942250-04-3

AJ Hoge is a career development speaker and business English trainer.  He does a limited number of keynotes and seminars each year.

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