Who’s Your English Good Luck Charm?
Are there certain English speaking people who you seem to be unable to speak with fluently? Does it feel like those people are actually triggering the ‘writing mode’ of your mind whereby you start stuttering and preparing your speech in your head prior to speaking out loud thus making it totally unnatural? Well, it’s nothing unusual! It’s happened to me on countless occasions, and even though now I’m over the very severe ‘writing mode’ symptoms, I would experience moments when I can’t speak at 100% of my ability with a particular person. Sometimes, however, quite the opposite happens, and my English fluency literally opens up when speaking with a particular person. It’s as if THAT PERSON IS MY GOOD LUCK CHARM and my English fluency issues simply can’t do me any harm because I’m protected by that person! I know it sounds far-fetched, and I fully understand that in real terms there’s nothing to prevent me from speaking fluently with any English speaking person in the world. When I speak, it’s ME who speaks after all, so why would another person’s presence have such a massive positive or negative effect on my fluency, isn’t that right? In real life, however, people you communicate with DO play quite a significant role in the way you can perform in terms of using the right means of expression and also your overall fluency. Some have a negative, but some have a very positive effect on your spoken English – just like my mortgage advisor, for example! (more…)
English Fluency Improvement Requires a Proper ROUTINE – Just Like Your Workouts in a Gym!
Hello my friends! ;-) I’m back with another video dedicated to the YearOfEnglish.com audience, and this time around I’m going to focus on the importance of ROUTINE when it comes to your spoken English improvement. And to be honest with you, my friends, routine determines success in any aspect of your life. Are you really good in your job and your work colleagues value your expertise and they know they can always rely upon you? Well, it’s only because you’ve been doing certain things ROUTINELY and as a result you’ve become very good at them! Are you very knowledgeable in terms of computer hardware and all your friends are always seeking your help whenever they have their PCs or laptops playing up? Well, guess what – it’s your computer related ROUTINE over the years that has made you so good at it! And if you’re mad into fitness related activities and you can proudly claim to have a 10% body fat level and you’re staying fit all year round – isn’t it your workout and nutrition related ROUTINE that had enabled you to achieve such amazing results? Of course it is :!: (more…)
We’re All Capable of Correcting Our English Speech Ourselves!
One of the biggest misconceptions I’ve ever come across over the years is the following: You can’t engage in spoken English self-practice because there’s no-one to correct your mistakes! I’ve received feedback of such nature from quite a few of my fellow foreign English speakers, and it clearly goes to show that the average foreigner is so afraid of making mistakes and letting them go unnoticed, that they’d rather remain unable to speak fluently! In today’s video I’ve debunked this myth, and here’s exactly what you’ll find out if you watch the video above: (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “There’s one thing I can say for sure”
33 Word Shortenings Any Foreign English Speaker Should Know!
VOCAB – this is a short version of ‘vocabulary’ and while it’s not something you’ll be using on a very regular basis, it’s always good to know that you can say things like: “I want to build my English vocab” or “I just added another useful English phrase to my vocab!” LIMO – short for ‘limousine’. Next time around when you see one, you can nudge your friend and tell him – “Hey man, look at that cool limo!” CELEB – I’m pretty sure you knew this one, but I had to put it on the list to make it complete! It’s obviously short for ‘celebrity’ and I wouldn’t be surprised if 20 years down the line people wouldn’t remember the original word at all! PIC – this is a very handy way of referring to a picture or a photograph. “Hold on a sec, I’ll take a pic and then we’re good to go!” SEC – this is how you can shorten the word ‘second’. As a matter of fact, I used this word in the sample sentence above, and here’s a couple more sample phrases: “Wait a sec!” or “Be back in a sec!” DECAF – this is a short version of ‘decaffeinated coffee’ and it will definitely come in handy when putting in an order in a coffee shop late in the evening – “I’d like a large decaf latte, please!” DETOX – this is a popular word in terms of dieting, and it refers to detoxification whereby you get your body rid of all sorts of toxins. ‘A detox diet’, for example, is a diet consisting mostly of juices, fresh salads and veggies and helps you get much healthier within a matter of days! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “For a good while”
English Idiomatic Expression: “Due to the risks involved”
There are plenty of activities that can result in a serious bodily harm if proper care and precaution isn’t observed – starting from extreme sports and ending with jobs where you are required to operate machinery with sharp and moving parts. Now, can you tell me what all those activities have in common? You have to seriously consider getting involved in them DUE TO THE RISKS INVOLVED! You have to weigh all the pros and cons (positives and negatives) of the activity in question so that you can make a well informed decision on whether to go in for base-jumping, car racing, rock-climbing or free running or stay safe and enjoy a more relaxed and safer lifestyle. (more…)
New English Vocabulary Word Phenomenon
Have You Ever Thought of Having a CPU Implanted into Your Brain? Read S. J. Kincaid’s INSIGNIA!
English Idiomatic Expression: “I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that…”
Hello boys and girls! I’m back with another English idiomatic expression, and I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that you’ve been waiting on me to post another one of these videos, isn’t that right? So, today’s English phrase is “I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that”, and I’m sure it’s quite self-explanatory and there are no further explanations needed as to what exactly it means and when you can use it. Just watch the video above to hear what sample sentences I’ve come up with containing this phrase, and make sure you try to replicate what I’m doing in a spoken English practice session of your own! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It’s Not to Be Taken Lightly”
Hello my dear followers! I hope you’ve been putting my advice to good use and you’ve been incorporating various English idiomatic expressions into your daily English conversations! So, how’s it been? Have you been taking action? Well, try being totally honest with yourself and admit if you’ve been a bit lazy – recognition is the first step on the road to recovery - that’s what they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, if I’m not mistaken … Of course, addiction such as alcoholism is not to be taken lightly, and I’m not trying to make a fun of it. All I’m trying to do here is draw parallels between being addicted to a substance and being addicted to procrastination which is sometimes JUST AS harmful to our development as substance abuse :!: (more…)
Improve Your Spoken English Upon Success!
English Collocation: “Not so dissimilar from”
Today’s English collocation is quite unique. It’s a double negative ‘NOT so DISsimilar from’, and if you think about it, you’ll realize that ‘it’s quite similar to’ would convey pretty much the same meaning! Having said all this, however, I have to point out that double negations don’t necessary mean the very same thing as their positive statement counterparts. Let’s take, for example, the following two statements: “I’m not stupid” and “I’m smart”. Now, tell me please, do these two mean the very same thing? Well, even though it might seem so at first, in reality the first statement “I’m not stupid” is used in difference circumstances than the second one. You’re most likely to exclaim “I’m not stupid!” if someone treats you like a child and you want to point out that you’re very well capable of handling this or that particular job. “I’m smart” would be used in totally different situations – when you want to brag about something, for example. Same goes with the double negative “not so dissimilar from”. It’s most commonly used when you want to express your surprise at a particular person or thing turning out to be quite different from what you expected it to be in the beginning. (more…)
Funny English Phrases: Driving Related Idioms
English Idiomatic Expressions: “Correct Me if I’m Wrong” & “If I’m not Mistaken”
Correct me if I’m wrong, my dear fellow foreign English speaker, but I have a strong feeling that you’ve been eagerly anticipating a new English Idiomatic Expression video, am I not right? Well, today I’m going to deliver double joy for you! :grin: If I’m not mistaken, I’ve never published TWO very similar phrases in a single video, so you may want to take this opportunity and watch the above video on how to use the two expressions: Correct me if I’m wrong and If I’m not mistaken together in a single sentence! I would have to think long and hard before I’d come up with another pair of English phrases that would check the following boxes: They would mean pretty much the same thing They could be used together OR you could choose to use either of them! So, as you can see today’s English idiomatic expressions are quite unique in the sense that you can use your discretion as to how you use them, so you’d better get onto it immediately and add these phrases to your active English vocabulary: (more…)
Self-correction – an Integral Part of Your Spoken English Improvement Routine
If you’re a foreign English speaker frantically looking for a conversation partner online, my typical suggestion to you would be the following: Engage in a lot of self-practice on a daily basis. If you’re lucky enough to find someone you can speak with every now and then – go for it! Don’t stop speaking with yourself however, because that way you’ll keep developing your ability to VERBALIZE YOUR THOUGHTS which is crucial for effective communication. Now, based on the feedback I’ve been getting on my blog posts and videos, the two main reasons why you might find such self-practice difficult to maintain in long term are the following: You can’t think of what to talk about; There’s no-one to point out your mistakes. I don’t buy neither of the two reasons. If you think speaking with yourself is boring, how come I’ve been doing it for years on end and I still have loads to talk about when I voice my thoughts out loud? It would be the same as claiming you don’t have anything to think about! :grin: The second reason – lack of feedback and correction – is also just an excuse not to improve one’s ability to speak. Tell me honestly – do you ALWAYS get corrected when speaking with others in real life? Correct me if I’m wrong, but I have a strong notion that more often than not you rely on a thing called SELF-CORRECTION than on others’ feedback :!: And even if you don’t do it, you’d better start making conscious adjustments to your English speech if you want to experience any significant improvement to your ability to speak fluently and correctly! (more…)
Are You Spending Sufficient Amount of Time on Speaking?
Are you facing a situation where even after a longer period of time you’re not seeing any significant English fluency improvement? Are you doing everything imaginable in order to develop your English fluency but it just doesn’t seem to be happening? Are you: Watching TV series and documentaries Reading English newspapers and fiction Learning a lot of English idiomatic expressions Speaking in English with others for at least 1 hour a day… …only to discover you still run into all sorts of fluency related issues? RE-EVALUATE. Look at your fluency improvement routine and ask yourself a single question: (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It Goes Without Saying”
It’s OK Not to Understand Something out of Context or Something Unexpected!
Have you ever found it hard to understand what you’re told because it’s something you don’t normally get to hear? Have you ever had situations when you understand every single word, but you just can’t wrap your head around the question for the simple reason that it’s something totally out of context, something unexpected? And now comes the most relevant part for you as a foreign English speaker: Would your typically react to such and similar situations by blaming your bad English comprehension skills and feeling ashamed and embarrassed? (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Come in Handy”
Make Some Effort to Improve Your English, Will Ya?
I’m sick of repeating that the English Harmony blog is all about improving your SPOKEN English and your ability to SPEAK, so by now at least those of you following my blog on a regular basis would have realized you’re not going to find any grammar exercises or downloadable worksheets on my website. As a result, the number of e-mails about grammar related questions is dwindling which is an overall positive development, and I’m only happy to see it! Yet a surprising number of people ask me all sorts of questions which clearly show their unwillingness take ANY action in order to improve their spoken English and overall fluency! Here’s the impression I’m getting: The school’s over - English grammar is not in the spot-light anymore. The teacher’s gone - you’re not doing grammar textbooks. The kids are free to do whatever they want - you’ve just realized that the English language isn’t only about doing tests sitting in a classroom. Just like kids you choose to do NOTHING - browsing the Web and asking questions on how to speak better or why you can’t speak better instead of actually doing SOMETHING :!: The simple fact is that I can’t really help you unless you help yourself, ain’t that right, my friend? (more…)
Planning Your Answer Goes a Long Way: How to Answer Unexpected Questions
English Idiomatic Expression: “To be honest with you”
English Idiomatic Expression: “It goes to show”
Today’s English phrase “It goes to show” provides a very handy way of drawing a conclusion during a conversation; basically it links the two parts of your statement together – the first part where you’re explaining the nature of the problem, and the second part where you’re revealing the subsequent conclusion. This phrase can take many forms – depending on context: “It goes to show” “It just goes to show” “It simply goes to show” “Which goes to show” (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It’s been dealt with”
Today I’m going to provide you with a new English idiomatic expression which will come in handy in situations when you have to report completion of an assignment. “IT’S BEEN DEALT WITH” is the phrase in question, and you’re more than welcome to watch the video above where I’m discussing the merits of this particular phrase. To be honest with you, there are simpler expressions which can be used in pretty much the same situations: “It’s done”, “It’s sorted” or “I’ve done it”. “It’s been dealt with”, however, implies that your assignment has demanded quite a lot of effort, so you may want to use this expression when you’ve been dealing with a complicated matter and you’re telling someone that it’s been dealt with. Chat soon, Robby ;-)
Counting in English Helps Your Fluency!
English Idiomatic Expression: “There’s no doubt about that”
If you want to speak in English without much thinking and planning your speech in your head before actually speaking out loud, you should definitely look into learning various idiomatic expressions. I’m not saying that purposeful acquisition of these expressions is going to make ALL the difference between your ability to speak fluently and not being able to speak at all. Sure enough, you can speak the very same way I would have been speaking a few years ago: by sticking individual words together; thinking in my native language & translating in my mind; constantly trying to think of the right words to say. If you learn idiomatic expressions, on the other hand, your brain gets wired with naturally occurring speech patterns, and it enables you to speak without much thinking, it happens automatically and instinctively. So, starting from today – if you haven’t already been doing it – make sure to learn at least one or two idiomatic expressions a day, and you’ll improve your spoken English much faster than you ever thought possible, there’s no doubt about that! (more…)
12 Reasons Why Spoken English is Just Like Playing a Guitar
Repetition in Terms of English Learning & Weightlifting is the same!
When you go to gym and engage is resistance training, you perceive sets of repetitions as an integral part of your fitness routine. When you learn and improve your English, however, you may find that you have some subliminal aversion (you perceive it as something bad despite not really knowing why) to the very term ‘repetition’! You might perceive it as something robotic, something mechanical. But it doesn't necessary have to be like that :!: Yes, traditionally repetition and memorization is performed in a boring and mechanical fashion whereby you repeat individual English vocabulary words followed by the translation in your native language (and it’s very wrong, please read this article to find out why!) I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of repetition is boring indeed and it’s also detached from your real needs as a foreign English speaker. What you need instead is – contextual repetition & memorization. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “If you’re anything serious about”
Why Desire to Translate is Irresistible & How to Deal With It
English Idiomatic Expression & Phrasal Verb: “Come up With”
Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! When learning English idiomatic expressions with me, you should bear in mind that I’m mixing them all together – idioms, phrases, collocations and also phrasal verbs. Today’s idiomatic expression happens to be a phrasal verb – ‘to come up with’ – and it’s a very popular one and it’s being used by both native and foreign English speakers worldwide. You can use it when describing how you invented a new, faster way of doing monthly sales reports using your company’s stock management software. (I came up with another way of doing sales reports which is much faster!) (more…)