How to Speak MORE Fluently Than a Native English Speaker (Yes, It’s POSSIBLE!)

Hello my foreign-speaking friends and English learners and improvers from all over the world! Does the headline sound too ambitious and you think this time around I’ve definitely gone overboard with my hyped-up promises? You may think – “Well, it’s conceivable to develop one’s English fluency to a degree when one speaks quite similar to a native English speaker, but to speak even MORE fluently than a native speaker… It’s definitely not possible!” At first glance the above statement seems valid, and a couple of years ago I would have also been quite skeptical about anybody’s claims that it’s possible for a foreign English speaker to achieve more-than-native level of fluency. I mean – how is it even remotely possible to speak MORE fluently than a native English speaker if it’s their level of fluency that actually determines the standards? It’s the same way it’s technically not possible to do something at 110%, isn’t it? When you’ve done EVERYTHING there is to do, you’ve accomplished 100% of the job, and the very same way if you’ve developed your English fluency to the very highest standards, the best you could hope for is to speak JUST LIKE a native English speaker. Well… Assuming the native English speaker ALWAYS speaks at a 100% of his or her ability! And this is the key, my friend. Not even a native English speaker’s fluency is hitting 100% at all times. Even a native English speaker has bad fluency days. Even a native English speaker WILL struggle to get the message across on certain occasions – especially when they’re not familiar with the subject. That’s the perfect opportunity for you to surpass their level of fluency when speaking about something you know A LOT ABOUT, and here’s EXACTLY how it’s done: (more…)

Are You Being Judged or Even Discriminated Against Because of Your English?!

Tonight I received an e-mail from a blog reader of mine and he painted a pretty dire picture on discrimination on the grounds of lack of English fluency. This particular e-mail illustrates situation in India where a lot of college students speak fluent English and those who don't are experiencing an awful lot of pressure to catch up with the rest, but I’m guessing the same kind of an attitude is faced by non-native English speakers all around the world 24 hours 7 days a week! The heck – even I’ve been sometimes treated as a less intelligent human being because of my poor English skills, so why should I be so shocked and appalled at this kind of a thing going on? Simply because I’ve forgotten how bad it feels when you’re treated like that! :mad: Now that I’ve achieved a certain degree of fluency in the English language I don’t really have first-hand experiences of discrimination on the grounds of lack of English skills, but there was a time in my life when I was getting such an attitude on a daily basis: (more…)

Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!

Some time ago I watched a video where a non-native English teacher was teaching a large class of English students. You know the way you sometimes browse YouTube videos and one video leads to another and you end up watching something you didn’t even intend to look for in the first place? So the Chinese man was teaching his fellow countrymen and women, and he was literally radiating knowledge and expertise. He was really eloquent, he was writing plenty of sample English sentences on a whiteboard to illustrate the grammar related points he was making, and he was talking non-stop thus making a really, really professional impression of himself. And guess what the poor students were doing while our super-teacher was entertaining himself in front of the classroom? They were all crouched over their copybooks frantically trying to write down every single bit of the precious information their English teacher was throwing at them! And believe me – there was A LOT of information to be processed because their teacher was really knowledgeable and you could just tell the guy must have worked really hard to achieve such a level of expertise in the English language and its grammar aspects in particular. What about the students though? Did their super-teacher pass all that knowledge, skill, expertise and ability to speak in English fluently directly onto them by being so generous with information in front of the classroom? Well, I strongly doubt it, and that’s the very reason I decided to write this article! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Largely Due to The Fact”

12 English Phrases Meaning Something Completely DIFFERENT to What You Might Think They Mean!

I often touch upon the subject of English idiomatic expressions on this blog for the simple reason that more often than not our every-day speech consists of such and similar word combinations and it’s making our speech so much more easier! Just look at the above paragraph – it’s stuffed with various idiomatic expressions and collocations, and the one common trait they all share is that you have to learn the EXACT way they’re used so that you can learn them off by heart and then use them in your own conversations. Then there are proper English idioms you can’t even understand unless you actually know what they mean – such as “It’s no skin off my nose” or “Until the cows come home”. There are, however, certain English phrases that may at first sound as if they don’t have any double-meanings AT ALL, yet they mean something completely different! If you’re an advanced English speaker and you’ve been communicating with real people in real life for years, this list will probably reveal nothing new to you. If you’re someone who’s just starting off in an English speaking country, for example, the following phrases might turn out to be an eye-opener for you! ;-) (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “We’ll Take It From There!”

Why So Many Foreigners CAN’T Speak Fluent English?

Are you a foreign English speaker? Is your overall English knowledge very good but you struggle to speak English fluently and sometimes you even get stuck for words in the middle of a conversation? Then you may be suffering from the so-called ‘writing mode’ syndrome which is widespread among those foreigners who’ve spent long years learning and studying English mainly by reading and writing! What happens when you spend most of your time learning grammar and filling in gaps in textbooks is the following: your brain gets used to constructing sentences by carefully picking the right English words and arranging them according to grammar rules. It works perfectly when sitting English exams and doing written tests, but when speaking with real people in real life, your mind works in the same ‘writing mode’ and it can’t keep up with the speed of a natural conversation! Lots of English reading won’t help to fix this problem either simply because it builds your passive vocabulary, but when you speak, you utilize your active vocabulary which consists of words, phrases and sentences you can speak without much effort – they have to come out of your mouth by themselves! Are you eager to find out how to make the transition from this terrible ‘writing mode’ into a ‘speaking mode’ and stop preparing speech in your head all the time? (more…)

You Have to SUCK at Spoken English Fluency in Order to SUCCEED!

You know what I think was one of the crucial factors determining my personal English fluency development? BEING SUCKER AT IT for a long time. How come? Well, it’s fairly simple and straightforward: I struggled with my English fluency and it made me really DRIVEN to succeed; I worked the HARDER to achieve my goal of fluent English; As a result, I ACCELERATED my spoken English improvement and made real gains in the ability to communicate in English properly :!: So all the while I was being really unhappy about my limited ability to speak without interruptions and hesitations, in reality all that struggling made me into a FASTER and more EFFICIENT English learner. If I had the power to change the past and learn English the proper way without too much focus on writing and reading, would I do it? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt! Do I regret my past with all its fluency issue related trials and tribulations? NO! :grin: As I already said, I believe that all this struggling with my fluency provided me with even MORE motivation and hunger to achieve a complete spoken English fluency one day! And here’s what’s in it for you, my fellow foreign English speakers. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression “This Time Around”

This time around we’re going to look at how to use the following English Idiomatic Expression in your daily English conversations: THIS TIME AROUND. Did you just notice something odd, by the way? The above sentence begins and ends with the same expression, and it’s all because today’s expression THIS TIME AROUND can be used whenever: You’re meeting someone for the second or any subsequent time and letting them know that something is happening differently; You’re telling someone about what other people are doing differently this time; You’re communicating with a larger audience – just like me! – and you’re starting yet another presentation! Now, is it 100% clear to you how this phrase is used? (more…)

7 English Words & Phrases I Thought Were Wrong (But Then It Turned Out I WAS WRONG)!

Great Topic for Spoken English Self-Practice: Daily Events & Planning Next Day!

Hi guys from YearOfEnglish.com - this is another video installment I created with you in mind, and this time around (surprise, surprise!) I’m going to talk about spoken English self-practice and what you should talk about during those self-practice sessions to insure you don’t run out of things to discuss. The reason I recorded this video is quite simple: Not having anything to talk about seems to be the biggest issue for my fellow foreigners, and that’ also the single biggest reason why many of you guys are abandoning spoken English self-practice altogether! So, what is this topic you can discuss on your own day in, day out, without getting bored and always finding you have something NEW to say? (more…)

You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!

English Idiomatic Expression “Under the Impression”

Have you ever been under the impression that the entire world has literally conspired against you and everybody finds something bad in what you’re doing? Is your team leader at work under the impression that your colleagues do most of the work while in reality it’s you who gets most problems solved? And does it ever occur to you that even though most people are under the impression that governments and politicians are almost inherently bad and evil, in fact they’re doing a really tough job and they work much harder than the average Joe? (more…)

Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals

Back in the day, when I’d just come to Ireland and was still struggling with my spoken English, I was working in a massive warehouse offloading trailers all day long while at the same time trying to understand what my Irish supervisors and managers wanted from me. Why did I just say “TRYING” to understand? Well – guess what? – it’s not that easy to figure out what you’re told in English if the person in question speaks very fast AND with a distinct accent! Needless to say, over the next few years I did learn to understand the local speech, and nowadays the Irish accent has become so familiar that I’d pick it out in a crowd immediately. The heck, I can even imitate English spoken in Ireland a little bit myself now, so I have to admit that over time things have gotten much, much better in terms of understanding English spoken by people from all over the world. The reason I’m writing this article isn’t to conclude that you can just listen to fast English spoken by heavily accented local speakers and you’ll be just fine in a few years’ time down the line. It’s quite the opposite actually – not only it could very well be that you DON’T learn to fully understand the local slang (and please bear in mind it’s not just limited to English spoken locally; all these problems may occur when you’re listening to FAST English in general!), but also you could pick up quite a few psychological issues along the line! You may constantly strive to speak just as fast as natives and as a result you constantly stumble upon words and hesitate when speaking in English. You may develop a habit of comparing your English with theirs which has a detrimental effect on your fluency. And you may also find it very difficult to learn the English language to proficiency if you’re constantly forcing yourself to listen (or read) to something you only half-understand. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not trying to persuade you that: Under no circumstances you should be exposed to English the way it’s spoken by natives in real life; You should only be exposed to English you understand 100%. If that were the case, you’d never learn anything because by the very definition LEARNING implies acquiring something NEW, something you don’t know yet. There’s a huge difference, however, between learning English by listening and repeating words, phrases and sentences that are EASY to understand AND listening to something you can only remotely recognize! (more…)

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…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “Which Brings Us To The Next Point”

English Fiction Books I’m Going to Read Before I Die (Kick the Bucket)!

Hi boys and girls, My name is Robby, I’m a foreigner (Latvian, to be more specific), and I’ve been reading ONLY English fiction for the last 8 or 9 years. I started off by trying to improve my English fluency by reading newspapers followed by simple children books, and soon enough I’d achieved complete English reading fluency while at the same time my vocabulary was still quite limited (I learned how to infer meaning of less known words and expressions from the context alone!) A few years down the line, however, I realized that reading had done relatively little to my ability to speak. Spoken English self-practice turned out to be the most effective way of improving my oral fluency, and so I've been focusing on that aspect of my English improving routine ever since. Nonetheless, reading English fiction became my passion – I’ve read dozens upon dozens of heroic fantasy books as well as plenty of dystopian fiction which is currently my favorite genre and I plain LOVE IT! If you’re a foreigner – just like me! – and you also love reading English fiction (or maybe you’ve always wanted to do it but don’t know where to start?), here’s a list of books I've lined up for reading this year (maybe it’s something that’s going to pique your interest as well!): (more…)

Funny English Phrases: Work Related Idioms

SHOCKING: Drinking Impedes Your Ability to Speak Fluent English!

Actually I don’t think that the effects of alcohol on your ability to speak in English fluently is any more shocking than the fact that drinking affects pretty much any area of your physical performance. Driving. Walking in a straight line. Picking something off the floor (and missing the item by an inch because you have an impaired ability to judge the distance between your hands and other objects…) Basically when you have a couple of drinks in you, your ability to perform physical tasks starts declining, I guess everyone will agree on that with me! “But surely my ability to socialize with other English speaking people should improve when I’ve had a couple of drinks!” – you may say. “In most social situations I’m on the shy side, so especially considering that I have problems with confidence when speaking in English, wouldn’t it actually make sense to be slightly intoxicated so that I’d get rid of any emotional hindrances preventing me from communicating with others in English freely?!” – probably this is what you’re thinking right now. Well… I don’t know about you, but here are my experiences with consuming alcohol and trying to speak in English: (more…)

What Do Small Children, Pets & The English Language Have In Common?

I’ve been speaking in English for the biggest part of my life, and by now I’ve achieved quite a comfortable level of fluency. I speak in English with my colleagues and customers at work. I speak with lots of other people in English as well – starting from sales-assistants in shops and ending with support staff in various companies. I also speak in English when engaged in routine activities – such as counting, for example. When I’m on my own, I also try to speak in English a lot so that my fluency is always maintained at a high enough level. Whenever I’m encountering a small English speaking child or a pet belonging to an English speaking owner, however, I feel a natural need to speak with them in my native Latvian! Sure enough, I wouldn’t start speaking with a four year old Irish child (I live in Ireland which is an English speaking country) – I’d just do it in English. Yet, for some reason or another it wouldn’t come 100% naturally to me; I’d still have the feeling that I’m supposed to speak with the child in Latvian. Isn’t that weird? I mean – how come that after all these years living in an English speaking country and speaking in English ALL THE TIME, I’m still having moments when I have to suppress the need to speak in my native language? After all – I can even think in English, so why speaking with small children (please bear in mind only children up to the age of 4 or 5 years make me feel that way) and pets would be any different? I’ve been doing some thinking on that, and if you keep reading this article you’ll find out all the theories I’ve come up with! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression – “Opportunity Presents Itself”

After a 3 month period (it’s got to do with getting my own place and doing loads of DIY over the summer period!) away from this blog, I’m back more determined than ever to keep publishing loads of English idiomatic expressions, sample sentences and ways of using them in your daily English conversations! Today’s video features the following expression - “opportunity presents itself” – and while it’s quite self-explanatory, you’ve got to repeat it many times over in the right context in order to be able to use it as part of a live speech. You’re welcome to watch the video above where I’m using the phrase “opportunity presents itself” quite a lot, and on top of that you can also read the following sample sentences, repeat them, and memorize them so that they become your second nature: (more…)

How English Idiomatic Expressions Helped Me Deal With a REALLY Stressful Conversation

Make It Impossible To Avoid English!

Hello everyone from YearOfEnglish.com and welcome back to my video blog! :grin: I’ve been away from video production for quite some time due to my hectic summer schedule, but do you think my English fluency has worsened while I haven’t been recording a lot of videos on a regular basis? Not really! I’ve simply made it impossible for myself to avoid the English language, and even if I wasn’t using it in my day-to-day conversations with work colleagues, I’d still be constantly exposed to it! First of all, I’m taking notes in my daily planner in English thus making sure I regularly use the English language even when I’m gone on holidays back to my home country, for example. (more…)

EH System for Mac Users Available NOW!

Why When We Stress Out Our Fluency Deteriorates?

Here’s a typical question I get asked by my blog readers and customers all the time: “When I speak with other English speakers, I always get embarrassed, and then I start stressing out, and then I just can’t speak anymore. Why is it happening?” Why? Well, the answer is in the very question you’re asking! You’re STRESSED OUT, and that’s why you can’t speak fluently anymore! That’s it, my friend – stress is the single biggest reason affecting your fluency (and that of hundreds of thousands of other foreign English speakers worldwide!). It’s the STRESS that makes you do all the following: Hesitate, Make stupid mistakes, Get stuck for words, Lose the thread of your thoughts… ... while at the same time you’re being fully aware of the fact that if you’re not in stressful situations, your spoken English level is fairly good. Why is it that stress affects our English fluency big time? Well, read this article and you’ll found out just that – and much more! :grin: (more…)

Have You Ever Thought About Your MOUTH As a MUSCLE?

How many years have you been working on your English? Two? Five? Ten? Guess what – I’ve been receiving e-mails from folks having been trying to achieve English fluency for TWENTY YEARS to no avail :!: And I can see exactly why it’s happening – the heck, years ago I was among those struggling English speakers myself! – it’s because most foreign English speakers don’t perceive their mouth as a muscle. Are you confused? What I mean by saying – perceive their mouth as a muscle? Well, it’s EXACTLY what I mean – your mouth for you as a foreign English speaker is just like muscles for a bodybuilder or just about any other athlete or indeed for any person on this planet who’s using their body to move their arms and legs to lift things and move around. You’re using your mouth to produce English words, phrases and sentences in order to communicate with other English speakers, and there’s actual body movement involved in every step of the way – your lips, tongue, jaws and a whole array of facial muscles are actively involved to help you with the task! (more…)