Of course you need vocabulary to speak English, but in terms of grammar, there are just a few basic things you need:
- Basic conjunctions: and, but, so, then, because
- Now / then , here / there, this / that to refer to times, places and things in the present and the past.
- Present and past simple
- Different aspects to situate or give background information. For example: I was driving... / I'd had a shower...
- Modal and semi-modal verbs: can / could / be able to, should, must, have to, don't have to
- Be able to formulate questions – that means using the correct auxiliary verb: Do you like it? / Did you go? / Have you seen her? / Can you do it?
- Some phrases to talk about who said what: I said...and then she said.../ I told her...
And that's it!
If you just need English to speak (and write basic emails or messages), you don't need to waste your time on hours of grammar lessons. Good news!
PS Thanks to Scott Thornbury who inspired me to write this blog post after I saw him speak at a conference.