Robby Kukurs

I’m Robby, and I’m a non-native English speaker. Throughout my entire life I’ve always wanted to speak in English fluently, but because of the way English is taught in schools, I always struggled with my spoken English.

I couldn't learn to speak fluent English for 5 years - read about what I was doing to learn to speak fluently HERE - are YOU in the same situation?

Then, one fine day, after years of constant pursuit of English fluency, I realized the key aspect of spoken English improvement – learning English phrases and word combinations instead of studying grammar rules and trying to construct sentences in your head from scratch!

If you’re interested in improving your English fluency too, please check out the English Harmony System which is a product I created to help all my fellow foreigners to better their spoken English and achieve so much more in professional, social and personal life.

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For those foreign English speakers whose English understanding, writing and grammar is already good but they're struggling with spoken English!

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Forget the English Grammar Tense Table Forever!

Here’s a very comprehensive English Grammar Tenses table with thorough explanations as to when each tense is used as well as sample sentences. All is nice and well, and you may print it out, carry with you, and learn it off by heart if you’re really passionate about your English tenses (by the way, it’s exactly what I did at the start of my 5 year long journey to English fluency!) As I said – all would be nice and well if not for a human being’s natural tendency to over-analyze and try to structure the knowledge when speaking which inevitably leads to English fluency problems. The moment you open your mouth, you’ll start wondering if the action you’re about to talk about is going to happen for sure or just MIGHT happen… Or maybe it’s going to happen over a certain period of time in which case you should be using Future II Progressive tense – “I will have been…” Basically the more you know about English tenses, the more confusing it may become, and in the end you’ll be constantly questioning and second-guessing yourself when trying to speak which is definitely something you DON’T want to happen because what good is your super-advanced English grammar knowledge if you can’t say a single sentence without hesitation and stopping to think about what tense to use? Moreover, there isn’t consensus even among English grammar professionals as to how many English tenses actually are out there! The more you read into it, the more confusing it will get. Just read this forum thread and you’ll realize that opinions differ so wildly that a normal human being can’t even wrap his or her head around it all! Some think there are only 2 tenses (which I personally thing is a total nonsense), and some extend the figure to 16, 24 or even 32 (which takes into account the existence of Passive Voice). So what do you do? Get totally bogged down on 32 tenses, learn all the conditions as to when exactly each of them is used, learn the respective sample sentences and then LOSE YOUR MIND when trying to speak with someone because of all the analysis happening in your brain while you’re speaking? NO! Instead, just FORGET the English Grammar tense table and approach the whole tense thing from a different angle!!! Forget the little used grammar constructs such as “I will have been speaking…” that aren’t used in real life English conversations. Forget the various Conditionals. And stop thinking about the merits of Past Perfect Progressive vs Past Perfect Simple. What I suggest you to do is this: (more…)

Watch This If You Have Total English Grammar Confusion!

Recently I got contacted by one of my blog readers and she told me that the more she thinks about the various English grammar tenses, the more confusing the whole thing gets… On a lot of occasions it seems that you can use a number of different Tenses, for instance – “I’m going to the movies tonight”, “I’ll go to the movies”, “I’ll be going to the movies” – so how do you know which one is right? And the more you analyze all this kind of stuff, the more confusing it gets and eventually you start feeling that you know nothing about English grammar! Now, watch this video above where I’m giving precious advice on how to approach such a state of mind, and if you’ve got any questions – don’t hesitate to publish them in the comments section below! Robby P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

This Exercise Will Help You Finally Master Those Annoying English Auxiliary Verbs!

Learning how to use auxiliary verbs in English (do, don’t, doesn’t, etc.) is one of the trickiest aspects of the language. It’s not at all intuitive and it’s only used in very particular contexts. Misusing an auxiliary verb is a costly error, yet even high-level English students tend to commit it. In a best case scenario, making such an error would expose you as a foreign speaker, which inherently invites judgment. In a worst case scenario, you could communicate something that is the complete opposite of what you’re trying to say. Fear not! Below is an exercise that will solve all of your auxiliary issues. And the best part about it is that all levels of English speakers from beginner all the way up to upper-intermediate can benefit from it. Here’s how it works. (more…)

Confusing English Grammar: “Roast” vs “Roasted” Chicken – Can We Use Verb Base Form as an Adjective?

Native English Speakers Won’t Use Perfect Future Tenses – And You Should Avoid Them Too!

Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! If you’re a really diligent English student and you’re into the advanced English grammar stuff, chances are that you’ve learned about the Future Perfect Tenses at some stage and most likely you’ve been using them in your speech. Just to remind everyone what these Future Perfect Tenses are all about: I WILL HAVE finishED writing this article by the noon. I WILL HAVE BEEN livING in Ireland for 14 years this August. The first sample sentence represents the Future Perfect Tense which is formed by using WILL HAVE and the verb adopts the Past Participle form -ED, and the second one is the Future Perfect Progressive Tense where you have to use WILL HAVE BEEN and the verb changes to the Present Participle form -ING. So far, so good, right? Well, not really. In theory, this is how these grammar tenses are formed, and the English grammar book will tell you to use them in situations when you refer to a particular event or an ongoing action that’s going to be finished at some stage in the future. Except that these tenses aren’t actually used in real life! If you take a closer look at the previous paragraph where I’m describing the purpose of the Future Perfect Tenses, you’ll notice that I’m not actually using Future Perfect. I’m not saying – “… action that WILL HAVE BEEN finished..” Instead, I’m opting for something much simpler, something that most native English speakers would go for – “… action that’s GONNA BE finished…”! Now, am I saying that these Future Perfect Tenses are NEVER used? Am I saying that you shouldn’t bother with them AT ALL? Well… YES! That’s exactly what I’m getting at, my friend foreign English speaker! You should avoid using these Future Perfect Tenses at all costs because it will: Make your English speech sound unnatural, Confuse you when you’re speaking, Prevent you from fitting in with native English speakers! So, would you like to learn how to avoid using Future Perfect and what to use instead? Well, just keep reading this article, my friends, and I’m going to reveal my best-kept secrets to you! (more…)

How to Decide Which Tense and Which Verb Form to Use?

English Grammar is Like the HTML Code

Video Transcript Below: Hello, my dear fellow foreign English speakers and also any native English speakers who happen to be watching my video right now! And welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Obviously, I'm Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and in today's video I'm going to draw parallels between English grammar and HTML code. And in case you're wondering now what's English grammar got to do with HTML code, surely, these two things don't have anything in common whatsoever – well, my friend, you're actually wrong because these two things have more in common than you can think of! And the reason being – actually I have to start with a story to introduce the whole matter so that everything is clear to you. Recently I've been attending a computer course. If you've been following my blog lately for the last 6 weeks or so, you will definitely remember a few references here and there I've been making to the fact that I'm doing the computer course during the day now because my aim is to start a career in the IT industry, right? So as it happens I'm meeting a lot of different people in the college. Well, it's actually called adult education center or something along those lines but I just refer to it as a college for the sake of simplicity, right? So I'm mixing with a lot different people, we get talking about other courses that are available out there and the courses that my classmates have been doing previously. And oftentimes we talk about web building because it's a very hot subject. A lot of people are into web design, web building, whatever you want to call it, right? And they always refer to the fact that creating websites is actually a science because of all this HTML code and you've got to be learning to code. There's thick books, thousands of pages covering the HTML code and all that. To me it's nonsensical. And here is why. (more…)

1,000,000 English Grammar Questions Answered by Robby

Download PDF version of this article HERE! Hi guys! ;-) In this article I’ve combined all the English grammar-related questions from your comments on my previous article where I asked you to ask me any grammar questions that have been bothering you lately. I’m going to answer all of your questions in an easy-to-understand manner so as to not make you even more confused. I mean – what’s the point in providing an answer if it’s even more confusing than the original question, right? So basically when answering the questions, I’m not going to start throwing a lot of grammar-related terms around. Instead, I’ll provide simple and commonly used examples of how this or that particular grammar construct is to be used correctly and then you can take my advice on board and start using it the same way. Remember – it’s by far easier to learn one or two ways of using a certain grammar rule than to try and apply that rule on your entire speech! If you try to do the latter, you’ll start analyzing your speech too much and that will inevitably lead to fluency issues. So, without a further ado, let’s cut to the chase and let me answer all of your questions, my dear blog readers! Needless to say – you’re welcome to ask more questions in the comments section below! :grin: (more…)

Ask Me ANY English Grammar Related Question You May Have!

UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Are you having any English grammar related questions that have been bugging you for a long time but you just can’t figure out the right answers? Now you can ask me ANY English grammar related question and I guarantee I’ll answer it in the most detailed and helpful way I can! Here’s the plan (I just thought of it this morning and personally think it’s a brilliant plan!): You post your question in the comments section below I put ALL of your questions in an article I respond to each and every single one of your questions As a result we’re going to have a massive article on this blog where I've answered all your questions! UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Just think about it – not only you’ll get your own question answered, but you’ll also bound to come across some other question that’s also going to be really helpful in your particular situation ;-) So please my friend, if you have a couple of minutes to spare – just head over to the comments section below and ask your grammar related question – and remember, no question is too simple! I’m going to answer them all :!: Chat soon, Robby

Using Short English Words AT, OF, A, THE in Conversations

Which is Better – Direct or Indirect Speech?

As you may already know, there are two main ways in the English language you can talk about what another person has said: DIRECT speech INDIRECT or the so-called reported speech Direct speech is a word-by-word account of what the person in question said. For example, if your friend asked you “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” and now you’re telling someone else what your friend had asked you using the direct speech, here’s how you’d say it: “Mark asked me “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” so I can’t really go out with you on a Saturday night, sorry!” As you can see, direct speech is very easy to incorporate into your own speech for the simple reason that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE WORDS! You simply say it the way you heard it and I think it’s one of the biggest benefits of the direct speech – especially in situations when you find it a bit hard to speak in English and you hesitate and stumble upon words a lot. Indirect speech, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought put into it, and here’s an example: “My mom told me that my dad was going to take us to Disneyland the following summer, isn't that amazing?” Now, what I want you to pay attention to is the following: You HAVE TO CHANGE WORDS AROUND in indirect speech! The exact words used by mom were different; here’s what she said: “Dad IS going to take us to Disneyland NEXT summer!” – but when you REPORT what she said as part of indirect speech, it becomes “… dad WAS going to take us to Disneyland THE FOLLOWING summer…” It’s called BACKSHIFT and it simply means you have to change words around in indirect speech (verbs adopt Past Tense forms and words like “tomorrow” change to “the next day” etc.) if you begin the sentence with PAST TENSE – and more often than not, you will be using the Past Tense when reporting another person’s speech. After all, it was at some stage in the PAST when you heard the other person speak :!: So which one is more convenient for you as a foreign English speaker – direct or indirect speech? Keep reading this article to find out more about benefits and advantages of using both – DIRECT and INDIRECT speech when speaking in English with other people! ;-) (more…)

Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!

Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan!

Hello my friends foreign English speakers! Have you ever found certain grammar constructs too difficult to understand and learn? Welcome to the club! I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that this is something that all foreign English speakers have in common, and even if you don’t feel that way now, there’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand, mimic and use in your own conversations. Let’s just take the sentence from the paragraph above and examine it a little: “There’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand.” Now, would you be comfortable with using a similar grammar construct in your own speech? Are you often saying things such as “There have been similar situations when I’ve…” or “There’s been only one time when I’ve…”? If your answer is positive – well done! Your spoken English is seemingly up to scratch and you may ignore the rest of this article because you don’t need my help splitting English sentences in order to make it easier for you to speak them out loud. If, however, you struggle to a smaller or bigger degree with delivering similar seemingly complex constructs when speaking and you find it hard to wrap your head around sentences similar to this one: “Why is it that when Martin’s been out partying you don’t say anything yet had I stayed out all night long you would have killed me?”, you definitely have to read the rest of this blog post! ;-) (more…)

3 Grammar Mistakes Which Are OK in Spoken English

Any foreign English speaker should be familiar with proper English grammar – there’s no doubt about that (although I have met some foreigners whose grammar was terrible yet they spoke fluent English …) There are occasions, however, when being intentionally wrong is just fine, and just like everything else I discuss on my blog it pertains to spoken English for the most part. Also bear in mind that while you can afford using language illustrated in this article, I’m not encouraging you to adopt these mistakes as normal part of your speech to an extent that you nearly forget what the correct way of saying this or that particular thing is. But then again – it all depends on your personal circumstances. If you use English exclusively as means of verbal communication at work, for instance, and in other informal settings, and you don’t have to write or be involved where formal language is used – I don’t think your English should be judged by how grammatically correctly you speak. Yes, I don’t think you should aim for grammatical perfection because I’m a firm believer in being practical and using the English language the way you need it. You don’t have to subject your spoken English to the whims of academically minded perfectionists! One way or another, I think you should read this blog post to see which English grammar mistakes have seeped so deep into the spoken language that they can hardly be considered mistakes at all. At least when someone points them out to you, you’ll be able to respond with confidence – “Common, it’s OK to say that, it’s not a big deal!” (more…)

Using Past Participles As Adjectives vs Passive Voice

It’s not my job to explain what English Passive Voice is all about, and how it’s constructed. After all, once you’re reading my blog, most likely you fall under the category of advanced English speakers, and you already know that Passive Voice is formed by using the verb ‘to be’ followed by Past Participle of the main verb - “A huge amount of money was stolen from our shop today”. Passive voice is used when the object is unknown or it’s irrelevant to know who’s behind the action; all emphasis is put on the action itself – “money was stolen”. The very same English Tenses are used in the Passive Voice as in the Active Voice – Simple Tenses and Perfect Tenses - and the usage of both Passive and Active Voices is governed by the same rules. So, “Someone seals up the box” and “The box is sealed up” (general statements) are equivalent expressions in the same way as “Someone has sealed up the box” and “The box has been sealed up” (describing a finished action) are. I noticed a long time ago, however, that in conversational English it’s not as straightforward as it may seem if you just look at the Passive and Active Tenses comparison table. I would hear quite often that the Simple Present form in the Passive Voice – “The letter is written” - is used instead of the Present Perfect one – “The letter has been written” - despite the fact that the proper way of expressing the completeness of the process would be by using the Present Perfect Tense… This phenomenon was bothering me for a long time because I used to translate from my native language when speaking English and on many occasions I just couldn’t decide which of the two options I should go for :mad: (more…)

Embedded Questions – When Reversing Word Order Isn’t Necessary

Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced English Grammar? Nonsense!

Much of that stress you experience when learning and improving your English could be alleviated if there were no different English grammar complexity levels, isn’t that right? Just think about it. The moment a foreigner decides to learn or improve English, his success hugely depends on his attitude towards the process. Depending on the perceived difficulty he can either achieve that long-desired English fluency or become completely unmotivated to improve if the end goal of being a fluent English speaker seems like an epic task. I believe that ANY process – be it English learning, or learning high level chemistry isn’t difficult as far as you fully understand what’s being discussed in the particular lesson or book’s chapter OR you can replicate the results without focusing too much on the details :!: Even rocket science is easy once you know what you’re doing! ;-) I believe the same goes with English grammar. Well, first of all, I don’t think English students should focus on grammar as much as the industry requires them to do in the first place. Grammar is nothing more than bunch or rules determining how words are arranged in a sentence and you can learn it all just by speaking mimicking native English speakers because spoken English already has all NATURAL grammar in it! But if you do incorporate certain amount of English grammar studies in your English improving routine, you may become overwhelmed by its complexity. All the grammar terms ranging from very easy ones such as a verb and a noun and ending with advanced high-end grammar stuff like conditional sentences and compound sentences will make you feel that there’s so much to acquire and that you need to spend long, long years learning all that stuff. And you’re right. If you want to become an English teacher and know all ABOUT English grammar, it will be a lengthy task indeed. If, on the other hand, you want to become a fluent English speaker, your perception suddenly changes. You don’t need to divide English grammar into beginners, intermediate and advanced because it will only inhibit your progress. Do you want to see a proof that there’s no easy and difficult English grammar? All right, no problems! (more…)

Can Present Continuous Substitute Present Simple Tense?

WILL and GOING TO English Future Forms: How to Use Them in Conversations

Welcome back to another Practical English Grammar lesson where we talk about Future in spoken English and how to sound fluent and natural when talking about future events! In the previous video we looked at how to use Present Progressive Tense – also called Present Continuous – for describing future events. The most important bit of information from that lesson is to perceive Present Progressive as the basic grammar tense for describing future. You know – in 9 times out of 10 foreign English speakers use the traditional WILL + verb in infinitive Future Tense when speaking about future events, but it transpires that this grammar form is being massively overused :shock: Many future events we talk about on a daily basis have been arranged prior to the conversation, so we can confidently use Present Progressive instead. For instance, you have to say “Sorry, I’m watching a very interesting TV program tonight” instead of “I will watch a very interesting TV program tonight” if you have a conversation with your friend and he asks you if you can go out with him tonight. By now you’re probably getting slightly confused over my ramblings on future in spoken English. Judging by the previous video, one might think that WILL + verb and GOING TO future forms are redundant and there’s no need to use them. Especially if you take into account that I said that you’d be better off overusing Present Progressive rather than the WILL Future Tense – to many it may sound as if I’m saying that you can speak English and use Present Progressive ONLY when it comes to talking about future events. Well, it’s not so. Other Future forms are also necessary; you just need to know WHEN to use them :!: So today let’s look at the traditional English Future Tense – WILL + verb in infinitive and also the GOING TO Future form and how to use them in conversational English. (more…)

Is Past Perfect Tense Any Good For The Average English Speaker?

Today I’m going to look at a particular aspect of English Perfect Tenses that is quite often ignored by foreign English speakers. For the most part it’s probably because it’s not used that often in everyday English. Nonetheless, it’s useful to know how and when to use the Past Perfect Tense in English! So without a further ado, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of this topic. So, as you already know, Perfect Tenses in English are used to tell about events that have already taken place but it’s not really known when exactly they happened, and it’s not really necessary to know that. An example: I’ve finished my assignment on time. As you can see, I don’t mention the exact time when I did finish my assignment, because in this context it’s irrelevant. Just the very fact that I’ve finished it is what I want to tell you about, and that’s what the Perfect Tenses in English are all about. Now, Past Perfect is a Tense when you replace the have part in the sentence with its past form – had. So what you get is – I had finished my assignment, or its short form – I’d finished my assignment. The annoying thing about learning English Grammar and the numerous Grammar Tenses is that if you look at them on a page in your grammar book, they might not make much sense. Also, there can be so many examples given with a particular tense that you just can’t make out when exactly you need to use it! (more…)

Using Perfect Simple And Passive Voice In Spoken English

Hello everyone who watches my video blog – thanks for tuning in and finding time for watching my next video! I can assure you – your time won’t be wasted because today I’m going to highlight important aspects on using different English grammar tenses in live English conversations. First of all I want to give you an example. Here’s a simple phrase you’d use when you’d have finished doing something – I’ve done it. This is Present Perfect Simple – a grammar form to describe an action that has been finished at some time in the past but the actual time of its completion isn’t known. Well, so far it’s all fairly simple and understandable, and you shouldn’t have any difficulties with using a simple phrase like I’ve done it. But now let’s take it one step further and look at the same phrase only in Passive Voice this time. Just a quick reminder for those not sure what Passive Voice is – it’s a way of describing an event without mentioning who did it. (more…)

Future In The Past – Often Ignored But Very Useful!

Is English Difficult Or Easy To Learn?

Today I got to read an article written by an English teacher Locke McKenzie where he expresses quite an interesting view on difficulty of English language compared to other European languages – mainly German. --> Read the article HERE <-- The article was tweeted by Tim Ferris so I thought – must be something of value – and I spent some of my precious time :-) reading it. Basically Locke McKenzie is saying that even though initially it seems that learning English is child’s game compared to learning numerous verb conjugations, noun genders and absurd tenses in languages like Spanish, German and Polish, it’s not that simple at all… He describes his experience with German students in a classroom when trying to teach them which verbs are followed by gerund and which – by infinitive. For example – following English grammar rules the verb to enjoy is followed by gerund as in Locke’s example – I enjoy baking cookies. The students were asking him how they could know which words are followed by gerund on which he was forced to answer – there’s no rule… This, and also various English grammar tenses which were difficult for the German students to grasp, made the article’s author to conclude with the following words, I quote: We have a mongrel language that has taken on words and rules unnecessarily, adding bits and pieces of whatever we like until there is no sense of order at all. Our language is slowly dissolving into nonsense. Poets and creatives should be appalled. It isn’t good for anything but business and politics, the only sectors where the more cryptically you talk, the better your chances of striking a deal. With all due respect to the article’s author I really want to disagree. (more…)

English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!