While it might sound like nonsense, especially considering how most English courses and classes rely heavily on a strong grammar background to go with increasing your vocabulary, it is pretty much the truth, at least for some people.
The topic has been brought up before and can cause certain teachers to have very harsh opinions against the method but counterexamples of grammar oriented classes that produced students who are unable to speak English fluently may make most people take a second look at the fluency over grammar method.
Grammar knowledge is not a necessity for English fluency
The problem that heavily grammar oriented classes have is that they rely on the learning of grammar as a fundamental step to speaking the language. This is proven to be a mistake again and again by people who are able to write in English with near excellent grammar and sometimes even read with nearly perfect diction and accent but in turn can’t answer simple questions or fail to use their grammar knowledge in live communication.
The other big problem with the grammar approach is that it doesn’t get students motivated and excited to learn the language as it basically consists of memorizing and repeating a seemingly endless list of conjugations and syntax rules. The benefit of concentrating on fluency of speech and not on rigid rules is that once mastered, fluent English speakers understand grammar without ever learning a verb conjugation.
If it sounds hard to believe think of how language is acquired by children. Most children already speak fluently and use complex phrases before even grasping the notion of grammar. They begin by reproducing single words, then they move on and couple two words together to form simple sentences or commands. After that it takes just a small time until the child can communicate fluently and use complex phrases even with the occasional grammar mistake. A child manages all this without the ability to read and write so certainly without any grammar exercises. So the reason behind the need to learn grammar is not to improve our speech, but rather to improve skills like reading and writing.
Learn from preschool children
Learning from the way children assimilate language we can see that small two or three word formations are the basis for quickly becoming proficient in any language.
In fact studies show that when speaking we don’t form sentences word by word applying grammatical rules but rather by putting together word formations we’ve memorized through continuous use.
We know how to form the phrase correctly not because we apply the countless grammar rules we memorized but because through repetitive listening and use we committed the correct form to memory. For example “I hurts” or “they sings” sound off not because we remember the grammar lesson where we were taught the correct form but because we simply memorized the correct form by listening and using it over and over again.
Another important aspect when you want to quickly learn how to communicate in English is to not get stuck in grammatical explanations. Accept certain grammatical rules, and don’t lose time trying to memorize why they work like that. You are just impending your speech fluency with rules that will seem obvious to you once you can speak the English language fluently.
Also make sure you continuously try to listen and gain new word formations that you must use in conversation and live speech as soon and as often as possible.