English Idiom: “It’s Not to Be Sniffed At!”

Do you know what people generally mean when they say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT? More often than not, they say this kind of thing when a certain amount of money is offered, for example, and the person in question perceives it to be worth considering. In theory you can also say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT in relation to just about anything you perceive worth risking for or taking any other type of action. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Common Denominator”

Are you familiar with the math term COMMON DENOMINATOR? You may, or you may not be familiar with it, but the fact of the matter is that this English math term has long surpassed the boundaries of science :!: Nowadays COMMON DENOMINATOR is widely used to describe any of the following: Traits and characteristics certain people have in common; Features that certain things have in common; Something that is present in a number of different situations. Are you confused? (more…)

Being Repetitive Can Actually Help You Speak More Fluent English

Let’s get down to business right away; here’s the sample sentence I want you to look at: I don’t like when people are selfish, self-absorbed and only think about themselves the whole time! I guess you don’t have to be a genius to immediately spot one thing: the word “selfish” has been described in three different ways in this sentence: selfish; self-absorbed; only think about themselves! Now, let me ask you the following question: “Why on Earth should anyone waste that many words to simply say that they don’t like when people are selfish, full stop?!” Do all those descriptions not fit into the same definition of “selfish”? Yes, they do. Did the person using the much longer sentence add anything significant to it? No, not really. Then surely speaking like that signifies poor taste when it comes to constructing good-sounding English sentences?! With all due respect to anyone agreeing with this notion, I will strongly argue against it :!: (more…)

Can You Learn American English by Learning American Phrases & Idioms?

Look Among Young Adults Fiction for Easy-to-read Books!

Not so long ago I was totally hooked onto dystopian fiction and I thought that I would never read anything else other than dystopian fiction such as GONE series, for example. This Holiday Season, however, I proved myself wrong because I got hooked onto something different – namely, vampire fiction! I thought that vampires aren’t my cup of tea, so to speak, and I was looking at my daughter reading vampire books as something that only teenage girls would do. How wrong was I! ;-) The moment I picked up a booked called THE IMMORTAL RULES by Julie Kagawa (it’s all part of the Blood of Eden novels), I just couldn’t put it down! It got me hooked completely, and I often found myself reading late into night… Well, I actually should have known better than to dismiss vampire books because not so long ago I started reading books about angels, and the whole vampire concept is not so dissimilar from angels after all. One way or another, it’s all YOUNG ADULTS FICTION, and that’s the common denominator of all English fiction I’ve been reading for the last few years :!: (more…)

How to Develop Good Ear for English Listening

Must-Follow YouTube Channels by Foreign English Speakers!

I’ve been publishing videos on my English Harmony YouTube channel for a good few years now, and there was a time when I thought I was pretty much the only foreign English speaker publishing videos on YouTube. Sure enough, I’d seen some videos made by beginner and lower-intermediate English learners in a bid to exercise their spoken English skills, and it’s all nice and well, but what I’m talking about when saying I thought I was the only foreigner publishing videos is a well-established YouTube channel with massive following! Needless to say, I proved wrong. It turns out there are more non-native English speakers publishing on YouTube on a regular basis, and their videos are really interesting and engaging :!: Well, you see – probably the biggest obstacle in finding such YouTube channels was the fact that initially I was looking only in the English learning and teaching niche. And I’ve got to tell you that in this niche I’m indeed pretty much the only foreigner. Once I started looking beyond English learning and improving though, I started finding well-established YouTube channels where other foreign English speakers were sharing their thoughts and expertise on various other things. And it only goes to show that pretty much the only way to achieve complete English fluency is by enjoying life and things you LOVE instead of focusing on English learning related materials! So, without further ado, let me introduce you to these YouTube channels run by foreign English speakers, and I’m 100% sure you’ll find at least one of them extremely captivating and relevant to your own interests as well as providing an extra motivation to keep improving your spoken English to a level where you could possibly start recording similar videos and who knows… maybe you’ll even start a YouTube channel of your own one day! (more…)