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

VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog. I'm Robby, your English fluency mentor from EnglishHarmony.com and in today's video we're going to look at what you should be doing when you're not sure of usage of certain little English words such as "at", "of", "a", and "the". So basically, when you're speaking and you're not sure of whether you should stick that little word in the phrase or sentence or you shouldn't - let me tell you right up front: if you start analyzing your speech too much and you start wrecking your head over these tiny little details, your fluency is gonna go out the window. Here is a typical example of what I'm talking about today - just listen to it once more: "out the window". What did I just say? Did I just say, "out OF THE window" or did I just say, "out THE window"? (more…)

Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog - or welcome back to my podcast in case you're listening to this as an audio file on iTunes or on my blog. In today's video I'm going to tell you about English tenses, namely - what I think about them and how you should go about acquiring complicated English tenses. You see, I strongly believe that way too many foreign English speakers are focusing on English tenses too early in their attempts to acquire English fluency. I'm getting plenty of comments and emails sent in asking the same questions: "I'm all confused about the tenses. Please, Robby, explain how to use this or that English tense" and questions like, "I need to prepare for this English test or for this exam" and "can you help me to understand the complicated English tenses" and so on and so forth. Now, if it's about an exam or a test, then yes, I admit, the traditional English teaching industry requires you to analyze grammar, to understand tenses and it's a bad thing because that way you get all too focused on analyzing the language instead of speaking or writing spontaneously, right? My approach is, you have to start learning the English language and then proceed forward with learning simple language, simple sentences, simple word combinations, simple tenses. It's totally possible to speak using only three English tenses – Present Simple, Present Continuous, and Simple Past - and I know for a fact that a lot of YouTubers, video bloggers who come from the foreign English speaking background actually don't use complicated English tenses. (more…)

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)

Why Can’t I Speak With My Fellow Native Speakers in English Fluently?

English Fluency Issues Is a Blessing in Disguise!

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby, your friend and English fluency expert, and this time around I'm going to tell you that all these English fluency issues you might be having (and most likely you are having them, otherwise you wouldn't have visited my blog and you wouldn't be searching for English fluency improving related information online, right?) doesn't mean you're a total loser. More often than not, it's a good thing! Now, if you think that it's total nonsense – I mean, how could English fluency issues be good for you? Surely if you didn't have them at all then you'd be more successful in your career, in your professional life and in your private life, right? But think about this now, my friends. Just because you have these issues whereby sometimes you can't talk normal, fluent English, it forces you to work so much HARDER on your fluency than if you didn't have those issues at all! (more…)

How I Said “Check” Instead of “Receipt” in a Hardware Store (And What You Can Learn From It!)

Everyone Says My English is Good Enough… But It ISN’T!

I got contacted by a guy living in the US recently, and he said in his e-mail that quite often he finds himself in situations when he can’t have a normal small-talk conversation with native English speakers DESPITE having been told by a lot of English teaching professionals that his English is almost perfect. So basically the problem can be defined the following way: Everyone says my English is good enough, but I know for a fact that it ISN’T! This may sound like an attempt to be super-perfect (it’s as if the person in question is saying that his or her English is never going to be good enough), but in reality it happens to a lot of foreign English speakers due to reasons other than having very high standards when it comes to English acquisition. The reasons are as follows: (more…)

You Shouldn’t Learn Irregular Verbs This Way: Bring – Brought – Brought

Today I witnessed how a beginner English learner was using a smart phone app to build English vocabulary. The girl spoke a word in her native language, the app picked it up, translated into English and while doing so it also provided all three basic forms of the verb in question: “Bring, brought, brought.” Cool! – you may think. It’s a great app! ;-) Well, just forget the app for a moment, and let’s see what happens in your brain when you memorize a word string such as “Bring – brought – brought”. You memorize all those three words in the same exact sequence, and next time around when you think of using the verb “to bring”, the other word -“brought” – is going to appear alongside. You think it’s handy? Well, think twice :!: What if you’re trying to have a conversation with someone in English, and you’re starting a sentence by saying: “My supervisor told me I have to bring...” – but then suddenly the word “brought” jumps right in making you hesitate? Do you think it’s an unlikely scenario? In reality it’s EXACTLY how the typical English fluency issue manifests itself, and learning such unnatural word groups contributes to non-native speakers’ inability to speak fluently big time! So watch the entire video above, and if you’ve any questions or queries – please post them in the comments section below. Robby

Learn Only ONE Way of Using New English Vocabulary Words at Any Given Time!

In this English Harmony video I’m going to respond to Meenu’s comment in which she explains her problem in relation to learning new English vocabulary words. You can see the full exchange below: I’m taking the liberty to elaborate on the whole issue in the video above, and I hope you’ll find it helpful, Meenu! ;-) So, if you’re having similar issues with learning new English vocabulary: (more…)

Lower Your Standards if You Want to Improve Your English Successfully!

How to Deal With Situations When You Don’t Understand the Other English Speaker At All!

About a week ago I asked you to share your stories about embarrassing English conversations on this blog post. I got a good few comments sharing various experiences, and one of those stories was submitted by a Finnish fella Juhapekka where he shares his experience of having a conversation with a South African chap whose accent, slang and fast speech was indistinguishable. So the basic issue faced by Juhapekka was dealing with situations when you just can’t understand what your English speaking conversation partner is talking about, and I recorded this video to address this particular issue! ;-) If you’ve also had similar experiences in the past and it keeps happening to you every now and then that you don’t understand a particular person and you feel very embarrassed about the whole experience – please watch the video above and you’ll find out what exactly you can do about it. Any questions and comments are welcome! ;-) Robby

Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!

Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!

A good while ago I published a video in which I touched upon contextual English learning and I also provided the opportunity for everyone in that video to do a simple test so that they can see for themselves how effective contextual vocabulary building is as opposed to the traditional way. Check out that video HERE! A few days ago I got a comment on that video asking for a good website to learn English vocabulary in context to which I responded by saying that TheFreeDictionary.com is one of the best dictionary websites out there containing a large array of English phrases and collocations which is exactly what you want when learning English contextually. Yesterday I got another comment by the same person asking how exactly TheFreeDictionary.com website is to be used for the purpose of contextual learning, and so I decided to record this video providing the EXACT instructions on how to look up phrases and expressions containing specific words on that website. (more…)

English Collocation: The Worst Case Scenario

Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers :!: In today’s English Idiomatic Expression video we’re going to look at the following collocation: THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. It’s a way native English speakers (and also fluent foreign English speakers, of course!) refer to the worst possible turn of events, and traditionally we discuss such possibilities when: Trying to persuade someone to do something (Common, why are you afraid to go to the event, the worst case scenario is you being asked a question, and it’s no big deal really!) Discussing the various eventualities and trying to prepare for the worst (So, the worst case scenario is the whole computer network going down, see we need to buy another backup server!) Want to find out more about this particular English collocation? Then watch the video above (or listen to the audio just above the video!) and don’t forget to use this new English collocation in your own English conversations! Regards, Robby ;-)

How to Improve Your English if You’ve Very Little Time?

Hello my dear blog readers! Recently I’ve been getting a few e-mails and also blog comments asking me how it’s possible to develop and improve one’s English if one has very, very little time to do so! Here’s a typical scenario. You have to get up very early to catch the bus to work, and you’ve virtually no time to do anything in relation to your English improvement. Then you’re working long hours in an environment where there’s no English involved whatsoever, and your working day is really hectic with a couple of quick tea breaks in between. Now, by the time you arrive back home, have your dinner and take a shower, the day is almost over and you have to go to bed to get some sleep before getting up the next morning and starting your 8 AM – 6 PM rat race again. So, it kind of begs the natural question: Is it possible at all to work on your English and also improve it considering you’re really, really busy during the entire day and by the time you can sit down in the evening you’re so tired you find it very hard to be motivated to do anything that requires mental exertion? Well, here’s the simple answer – “Yes, it is possible!” (more…)

Is It Possible to Preserve National Identity When You’ve Lost Your Native Language?

Dominance of English and its Lack of Appreciation for Smaller Languages

Hello my fellow foreign English speakers :!: In today’s video we’re going to look at the following questions: Can English be held responsible for the demise of smaller languages? Does the English language has a lack of appreciation for other world languages? Are all English speakers ignorant and don’t want to speak other languages? Is English going to be the only language in the world in a couple of thousand years? You see, all such and similar questions are quite important to certain categories of people – especially those who represent smaller languages on the verge of extinction. Oftentimes, for example, English is blamed because of its historical connection with the British Empire and its world dominance. Also, people associate English with the United States of America and blame Americans for being ignorant and living in their own language bubble. To find out what I think about the whole thing – please watch the video above or listen to the audio file in case you can’t watch the video content for some reason or another. And of course – you’re really welcome to participate in the discussion and express your own opinion in the matter! :-) ANY comments are welcome! ;-) Regards, Robby RELATED ARTICLES: Is English Language Taking Over? Integration of Foreigners into English Speaking Society 10 Reasons Why English is the World’s Language 11 Things English Fluency has Given Me 5 Reasons Why I Love American Accent

Welcome to English Harmony Podcast!

Is English Harmony GOOD and All the Rest is BAD?

If you’ve been following my blog for some time, you’ll know that I’m all against the traditional, mainstream English studies. They focus mostly on writing, reading and learning grammar rules – needless to say, spoken English fluency gets neglected big time and so hundreds of thousands of English students keep struggling with their English without even realizing why it’s happening. That’s why I started this website, and that’s why I created the product – English Harmony System  - which is the only product out there that uses the spaced repetition approach and video technology in order to imprint natural English sentence structures into people’s minds so that they can start speaking natural, more fluent English. One day I got an e-mail from Francisco, however, in which he asks me to be a bit more ethical when talking about the issues mentioned above. He thinks that: Not ALL schools are bad and that there are plenty of good schools where English is taught in a way that facilitates English fluency; Conversational fluency is fine, however, there’s more than that – one may want to acquire an academic, deeper English knowledge and why would I claim it’s all bad? There are so many needs for foreigners – passing English tests and exams, business English etc., and surely my English Harmony System doesn’t cater for those needs! I’m taking advantage of those who are let down by the traditional English teaching system by shoving my product in their faces and taking their money; I’m claiming my product to be the BEST one in the market but there are more products like mine out there; why am I not being honest? Now, here’s my take on the whole thing: (more…)

Your Small English Imperfections Tend to Disappear!

Are you following my advice on learning loads of English idiomatic expressions and collocations and applying them onto your speech and also writing? Great! Are you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of those expressions and does it make you feel as if the more you’re learning the more there is to left to learn? It’s only natural! We’re all human beings, and feeling overwhelmed and feeling that whatever we’re saying and writing falls short of our own expectations is something that many of us do. But guess what? (more…)

Never Ignore English Movies If You Want to Be Fluent!

I received a comment on one of my YouTube videos a couple of days ago, here’s the full text of it: Thanks a million Robby for the time and efforts you dedicate to help us. My biggest lifetime mistake was that I always underestimated the importance of watching movies in achieving the desirable command of English; because I used to think that it's not very SEXY for well-educated persons to waste their time on movies! What happened then? Now, I am a doctoral student who writes impressive formal law review articles but he sucks at speaking! This is really a shame: when I am invited to give a presentation as if I am invited to be hanged... Once, when I was doing my LLM in Sweden, our course coordinator called me into her office and told me this article cannot be yours! You can imagine how that could be disappointing! So, heed my advice everyone and NEVER IGNORE MOVIES...use it or lose it! Now, first of all, I can totally relate to the fact that this person has developed their WRITTEN English to a very high degree while at the same time neglecting the SPOKEN language. (more…)

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

How to Develop Good Ear for English Listening

This video is a response to a question asked by one of my mailing list subscribers, and his main concern is the ability to UNDERSTAND what other English speakers are saying to him. When he reads some English text, his comprehension is way better, but it’s just that when he’s spoken to, his understanding isn’t that good. Well, guess what? It’s totally natural! ;-) When you read, there’s no way you can mishear words and not understand them because of the way they’re pronounced, or maybe because the person is speaking too fast. There’s a multitude of various factors contributing into one’s ability to understand spoken English, but here’s the main points I would like to stress: (more…)

Happy New Year Everyone!!!

Happy Christmas to Everyone!

Hello my dear followers, blog visitors and YouTube subscribers :!: I’m wishing you all the Happiest Christmas ever, and may your Holiday Season bring cheer to your family and your friends! I would also like to take this opportunity and thank you for being my loyal followers throughout this year, and I’m very hopeful you’ve enjoyed the articles and videos I’ve been publishing on both of my blogs – EnglishHarmony.com and also AccentAdventure.com! Have a good one! Robby ;-)

Sometimes It Makes More Sense to Acquire English Vocab as Part of Figurative Speech

If you’re a keen English student, there’s a good chance you dedicate a considerable amount of your time to learning new English vocabulary. If you’re a SMART English student, you’re learning new English vocabulary in context (basically I’m talking about phraseology here) because that’s pretty much the only way to ensure you can use that vocabulary as part of live, fluent English speech. If you’re REALLY SERIOUS about your fluency improvement, however, you’re also being selective about the way you choose which phrase containing this or that particular English word you assign the most importance to! Let’s take, for example, the word BOG. I guess you know the word, but in case you didn’t know what it means (nothing wrong with that!) – it’s land covering an area of an overgrown lake where there’s plenty of soggy, moist soil and people have been known to get sucked into bog sinkholes because it’s pretty much impossible to get out of one. So, let’s say you just learned the word BOG, and you’re going to learn the most commonly used collocations containing that word to make sure proper mental associations are created in your mind: I was walking on a bog Walking on a bog may be dangerous Sucked into a bog sinkhole Bog oak woodwork (specific type of hardwood that’s being recovered from a bog having been there for thousands of years) If you learn these collocations (it’s just a fancy way of referring to word combinations), you’re so much more likely to be able to USE the word BOG as part of a live conversation for the simple reason that the word BOG is going to be connected with other words so they’ll all come out of your mouth without you having to construct a sentence from scratch. (more…)