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Hi guys and welcome back to another installment of the English Idiomatic Expression videos! :-)

This time around we’re going to look at the following English idiom:


and how it’s used in real life English conversations.

Now, let me tell you right off the bat – more often than not, this particular idiom is used in a negative context.

Basically it means that you’ll be most likely saying that you CAN’T wrap your head around something as opposed to saying that you can or you find it easy to wrap your head around something.

Are you curious as to what exactly this phrase means?

Would you like to be able to use it in your daily English conversations?

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Improve Spoken English

– Video Transcript Below –

Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog or alternatively in case you’re listening to this as an audio file on iTunes or on my blog, welcome back to English Harmony podcast!

You see, the thing is that not all countries can view YouTube content. I know one of such country which is China where YouTube isn’t actually accessible, but any blog visitors from China can actually read my blog and listen to the podcast. So the podcast is the alternative to watching a video. But the content is the very same. What I’m doing is I’m recording a video and then I’m producing a video file for YouTube and then, after that I’m producing an audio file for iTunes. Simple as that!

Anyhow, today let’s talk about legal language. And let me tell you right up front that legal language is very much different from normal English that you would use on the street when speaking with people at work, and at school and so on and so forth. And why is it different?

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Improve Spoken English

– Video Transcript Below –

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog!

In this video I’m going to address the matter of me making mistakes while recording these videos. You see, the thing is that some people may hold to the opinion that once I’m positioning myself as an authority in the English teaching field here on YouTube and on my blog, that my English should be impeccable (my spoken English).

And there are certain people who are watching my videos and then they’re pointing out where I should have said things differently, they’re providing actual time stamps and everything, the exact time down to the very second where I’m saying things wrong.

Here’s the thing – I have to actually go back to the very origins of how I started running the blog and why I did it in the first place and what the whole English fluency issue is all about.

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Improve Spoken English


Hi guys, hello everyone and welcome back to English Harmony video blog!

I’m Robby and I’m a fluency expert, an English fluency expert. And obviously some people – and to be more specific, it’s a commentator called Dry Dead, right? Some people reckon that I’m not an expert. And there’s been a little commotion going on on this particular video I published last night which is an interview with one of my students, Sergi from Catalonia.

And then Dry Dead pointed out that I made a mistake during that video where I said “so much more fluent.” In fact I should have said “so much more fluently,” right? It’s a mistake. Yeah, so he was laughing at the fact that an English fluency expert made such a terrible mistake, right?

Dry Dead's comment

SIDE-NOTE: Eventually I had to ban this person from my channel because he resorted to insulting everyone and he just couldn’t be reasoned with.

Here’s the thing, Dry Dead. I responded to many of your comments before. I was trying to get through to you. I was trying to convey the message that in my reckoning an expert is not necessarily someone who is perfect at it. For me an expert is someone who helps other people and does a good job at it. And he is capable of bringing out the best in other people as learners, right?

For example, this computer course I’m attending right now, okay? I’m not a very technical guy and personally I go to the teacher and I go to smarter guys in the class for advice. But despite all that I’m quite capable of helping other guys with certain things. Other guys who might not be as knowledgeable as me at that stuff. So in those terms I would call myself an expert because I’m capable of helping those guys.

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Hi guys, as you may know, I help my fellow foreign English speakers improve their fluency via Skype, and here you can watch a video with one of my students. His name is Sergi, and we’ve been working on his fluency for quite some time now!


Sergi: Welcome back to English Harmony video blog. This is Sergi and this time round Robby is not the one who is introducing the video, so it’s me!

Robby: Yeah, and thanks Sergi and for everyone who doesn’t know Sergi and I would imagine that none of our audience is actually familiar with him. He is my student from Barcelona and we’re – we’ve been doing the Fluency Star coaching program since… when did we start exactly?

Sergi: Well, we started in the early beginning of December last year.

Robby: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. So it’s been half a year now, right? And would you mind telling our audience a little bit about yourself, where you come from, what you’ve been doing and so on and so forth?

Sergi: Of course Robby. So as you already told I am from Barcelona and well, it’s the capital of Catalonia in Northern-Spain and now I would like to give you a little background to the audience of who I am.

Robby: Yeah, go ahead.

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Improve Spoken English

One of the main principles of the English Harmony philosophy is not to fall into the habit of analyzing your speech from the grammar standpoint.

The very same goes with reading.

You may find yourself trying to figure out what this or that particular sentence in a book or newspaper represents in English grammar terms, and the funny thing is that sometimes you just end up confusing yourself instead of gaining something from it!

You’re reading a sentence and the analytical part of your brain automatically starts analyzing the syntax: “Hold on, is it a Passive or Active Voice construct? I’d better Google it up and see if I can figure it out!”

So off you go browsing forums and spending your time just to satisfy your curiosity!

And you’re not alone.

There’s millions of English learners asking questions on forums trying to figure out WHAT ROLE certain words and word groups play in a sentence, what grammar tense is represented by the sentence in question and so on.

Sometimes I come across those forum threads when validating my English collocations (read more about how I do it HERE) and it just doesn’t cease to amaze me that there are folks who are quite literally wasting away their lives asking questions such as:

Is this clause a predicative expression or is it not?


What exactly does “would have” mean in the following sentence “I would have thought that the unemployment rate is on the rise, but it’s actually the other way around”? It looks like a conditional sentence, so does it mean that the person who speaks doesn’t actually think that the unemployment is on the rise but would think so if certain conditions are met?

The moment I see those questions, it instantly brings me back to when I used to analyze everything I was reading or hearing, and needless to say, that’s exactly the reason why I couldn’t speak fluently in the first place!

My mind was gone into a permanent analytics mode and I was under the false impression that if I were to become proficient in terms of English grammar, I would also become fluent.

Little did I know at that time that it was completely false logical reasoning.

Just think about it – how being able to DEFINE what a particular group of words represents is going to help you REPRODUCE that phrase or sentence when writing or speaking?

It won’t – that’s the thing! 😉

You see, it’s all because most English learners can’t distinguish (and it’s all because of the traditional way of teaching English at school!) between the following:

  • Theoretical KNOWLEDGE about English grammar and syntax,


  • Practical SKILLS and ABILITY to use English when speaking or writing!

Many of us believe that KNOWLEDGE directly translates into ABILITY – but nothing could be further from the truth!

Ability to SPEAK, for example, is all about you being able to REPLICATE correct speech patterns and the best way to go about it is by simply REPEATING and MEMORIZING a specific sentence.

When you speak with real people in real life, does anyone care about the sentence being a conditional or not?


All that matters is your ability to SAY IT OUT LOUD!

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Improve Spoken English


Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog!

Tonight is Monday night. I had to give it a thought because I was going to say almost Sunday night but it’s not Sunday, it’s Monday. But the thing is – today is Bank Holiday Monday and it almost feels like Sunday!

But to tell you the truth guys, I’m not sure when this video is going to go live for the simple reason that I’m recording a number of videos and then I’m editing them and publishing them as I see fit, as my schedule permits because I’m quite busy nowadays. And one thing you might not actually know and to tell you the truth you definitely don’t know that because I haven’t actually mentioned it on my blog yet – I’ve started a computer course…

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Speaking in English in a group situation

Improve Spoken English

There are plenty of social situations when you’d be speaking with a group of other English speakers as opposed to just one person.

Just think about the following situations:

  • Having a lunch break in your work or college café with your colleagues;
  • Having a cigarette with your work colleagues or schoolmates;
  • Sharing a car ride with your friends.

So, what do all these situations have in common?


That’s right! What they have in common is SOCIALIZING IN A GROUP, and it’s very important for you to understand that group conversations tend to be much different from one-to-one conversations ❗

When there are two people having a conversation, you have more control over the whole process, whereas in a group your voice will oftentimes be quite literally drowned out by others.

Does that mean you should avoid group conversations and wait till you get a chance to have a face-to-face conversation with some other English speaker to practice your English?

Not at all!

As a matter of fact, if you avoid such situations, chances are – you won’t get any opportunities to get to know other English speakers and as a result you’ll end up being alone.

The best way to go about it is by knowing WHEN and WHAT to say during a group conversation in order to minimize your chances of being ignored and maximizing your potential for English fluency improvement, so keep reading this article to learn from my experience having lived in an English speaking country for 13 years ❗

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Improve Spoken English


Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to English Harmony video blog!

Today let’s talk about improving your English listening, right? Basically your comprehension. And the biggest mistake, by far the biggest one that all foreign English speakers make, is they search for specific listening material.

Very specific audios or whatnot specifically created with a single purpose of improving English learners’ comprehension. But it’s a big mistake and here’s why.

First of all, those materials, well, they are obviously designed in order to improve specifically your listening but then again it’s not necessarily something that you would be interested in, right?

The way I like to approach things is if you are serious about your English improvement, there’s no reason on Earth why you wouldn’t surround yourself with English in your daily life.

  • Watch English movies.
  • Watch English TV programs.
  • Listen to English radio.

Basically whatever you do, do it in English and then you won’t have to search for specific audio material for listening!

And if you’ve been following my blog for a good while, you’ll definitely remember that my main approach towards English listening is that you don’t have to train your listening separately. It all has to go hand in hand with your spoken English improvement. Basically, you do it all together, right?

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How to Write Formal e-Mails in English

How to write formal e-mails in English

Improve Spoken English

I’ve been working in a number of jobs where there’s constant e-mailing going on – not to mention the fact that I’ve been running this website and providing customer support via e-mail since 2007 ❗

So, as you can imagine, I know a thing or two about writing e-mails and how to make your e-mails effective, concise and to-the-point.

And considering that I’ve been receiving quite a few requests to provide a comprehensive guide on how to write e-mails in English, I decided to publish this article where I’ve compiled the most popular means of expression used in formal e-mails.

Now, traditionally people would divide e-mails into two types:

  • Formal e-mails which is official communication at work, with various institutions and people you don’t know.
  • Informal e-mails which is when you e-mail your friends, family and people you know very well.

In reality though, it’s sometimes quite hard to draw a distinct line between the two for the simple reason that you can have a situation, for example, when you’re very familiar with your superiors at work.

In theory, it would be considered formal communication.

In reality, there’s nothing wrong with you using less formal means of expression in that communication – and believe me, it’s common practice in companies and organizations all over the world!

Anyway, for the sake of simplicity, we will look at formal and informal e-mail writing separately, so in today’s article let’s see what English phraseology and expressions is used when writing formal e-mails.

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