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!

Imprints natural English speech patterns in your mind - revolutionary speech exercising technology!

Builds your English confidence - no more situations when you stop and hesitate when speaking English!

The Best English Class for Improving Your English Fluency

If you've any experience with taking English classes and trying to improve your spoken English, you must have realized that by rewriting English sentences in your copybook you won’t become fluent. And it’s totally correct because in order to improve your spoken English you simply need to practice your vocal cords and speak! So the sad conclusion you can draw is that in traditional English classes students are basically beating around the bush. But now I’m going to reveal the secret information about a super-effective English class that will increase your English fluency super-fast. I’ve been attending that class for more than two years now and I’m really excited about efficiency of the fluency improving methods provided in it! OK, I won’t keep you waiting for any longer. The name of the English class that I’m attending is – MY WORK! Is excitement leaving you like air leaves a punctured balloon? "How can Robby be so mean and lure me into watching this video because I’m hoping to find a good English class that would finally teach me how to speak?" Is that what you’re thinking? All right, I’ll be brutally honest with you. I had no intension of fooling you into watching this video under a false pretense. And I can tell you with all honesty that my work has indeed been the best English class ever! Within the last two years I’ve picked up more conversational English than in the previous years spent in Ireland together during which I had also attended advanced English classes. (more…)

How Robby Improves His Spoken English

I've been going on about improving spoken English for years and given you countless advice on how to become a better English speaker. If you're a bit tired of it all, watch this video where I'm telling about my own spoken English improving routine and what I do on a daily basis to maintain a high level of English fluency. In this video you'll find out the following things: why I still keep practicing spoken English with myself despite having a full time job in an English speaking environment; why I threw away all my English - Latvian pocket dictionaries and now I'm having a pocket phrase book; how playing a guitar helps me have real English conversations with friends and work colleagues; why I read fantasy fiction in English during my breaks at work! If you've any questions to ask in relation to this video or if you want to share your own English improving experiences - use the comments box below! Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

How To Get Involved When Speaking English

In this blog post I’ll be looking at one of the most dreadful things foreign English speakers come across – making MISTAKES. You might know the feeling – you start talking to someone in English, and then all of a sudden you make the most stupid mistake! And despite being a decent English speaker, the mistakes you make may create an impression that you’re just an English learner. It’s really irritating. It’s frustrating. Making mistakes like saying “he” instead of “she” or mixing up tenses and saying “had” instead of “has” should be something that only beginners do, isn’t that right? Yet it’s something that can happen to any of us no matter how fluently we speak! I’ve discussed this phenomenon at length on my blog previously and given plenty of advice on how to deal with those moments when you feel that you just can’t speak normally. At times there’s nothing better than just jumping into an English conversation and ignoring the mistakes you’re making. If it’s bound to happen, accept it and let go of the very fear of making those mistakes! Strangely enough, on many occasions it works. Having spent a few minutes chatting and forcing yourself to draw away your focus from mistakes to the conversation itself, you alleviate the self-imposed stress and your English fluency returns to normal. If it doesn’t help, you have to resort to another powerful tactic I’ve suggested previously on a number of articles and videos – slowing your speech down. On many occasions foreign English speakers are trying to match the speed of native English speakers’ speech and it can have quite the opposite effect. You may start stumbling upon words and make terrible mistakes just because you’re rushing your speech, and slowing down and pausing to pick the best fitting word is definitely a good idea. And sometimes when you’re so overwhelmed by the inability to speak normally, the best thing you can do is just forget about English for a while! Immersion in other activities allows your mind to “restart” itself and you can return to a normal English speaking mode the next day. There is, however, one aspect of making mistakes when speaking English that I haven’t yet touched on my blog. It’s about GETTING INOLVED when speaking. (more…)

St Patrick’s Day Greetings

Speaking in Short Sentences? It’s Normal!

Are you often frustrated by the fact that despite being quite a well-spoken foreign English speaker you can’t always speak in full sentences? Are you even getting stuck in a middle of conversation because you WANT to finish a sentence but for some reason you just CAN’T? Let me tell you – you’re not alone. It’s quite normal! By the way – hadn’t you noticed that even native English speakers sometimes hesitate when they speak? When we write, we have all the time in the world to think over the word placement in a sentence. We can scribble out what we wrote and re-write it so that it sounds much better. As we write, we can formulate our thoughts precisely as we intend because we can take extra time to pick the most fitting words. And most importantly, we can compose nice, complete sentences to create an easy-to-understand message! When we speak, it’s a bit different story. Unless you’re a very eloquent foreign English speaker, your speech will be quite different from a written piece of text. Well, I've always held the opinion that the best way to write is to actually speak about the subject aloud and put it all down on paper. Still, when we speak, quite often our mind drifts away and we can’t articulate our thoughts exactly as we want. Especially – when we have to talk about something we’re not really familiar with! If it’s becoming a real issue, it has to be dealt with. But no matter what situation you find yourself in, it always helps to be aware of the fact that in real life English communication people often speak in short, often unfinished and broken sentences :!: (more…)

Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced English Grammar? Nonsense!

Spoken English Topics and Technical Aspects of Spoken English Exercising

Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First! This video is a follow-up to the last video episode which was about the importance of practising spoken English with yourself in case you’ve got no-one to talk to! After the last episode I received quite a few e-mails asking what topics you can discuss with yourselves. I’ve come to realize that it’s not that easy for everyone to think of something to talk about so I decided to dedicate today’s video episode to various topics you can use as source of inspiration to kick-start your English practicing routine. But before you even attempt practicing English with yourself, you should remember the following. Don’t try to talk about something that is detached from reality. Don’t try to convince yourself that you should speak about something that you don’t actually take any interest in :!: A typical example of this would be taking some English learning material and reading a certain topic and then trying to create a monologue around that topic. Well, you may succeed and have a nice chat with yourself about, say, concepts of time and distance, and similar. On most occasions however, if you try to create a monologue around something that isn’t relevant for you personally, the chances are that you’ll find the very idea of such speech practicing very boring and you’ll give up after a while! :-( So the most important piece of advice to anyone who decides to engage in regular English monologues is the following – talk about something that reflects your interests, your personal and professional affairs, generally speaking – your life! And now let’s look at particular spoken English topics you can always count on not be become boring! (more…)

No-one to Talk to? Practice English With Yourself!

Find out how to improve your spoken English is 30 days or less :!: Today’s video topic is about the importance of practicing English speaking on a regular basis. In other words, if you want to be a fluent English speaker, you have to speak, there are no magic shortcuts :!: There are, of course, shortcuts in terms of efficiency of the learning process, and you’re welcome to check out my blog to found out more, but in this video lesson let’s focus on the importance of speaking English every day. By the way, did you know that the most viewed video on my YouTube channel so far is the one where I’m talking about the importance of speaking English with yourself in case you’ve got no-one else to talk to? I guess it’s a good indicator of a typical situation that foreign English speakers find themselves in. You know – even if you live in an English speaking country, there might not be enough face-to-face communication with other English speakers. On many occasions foreigners living under such circumstances won’t go the extra mile to practice some English because it’s not a necessity and they can do without it. If you’re willing to improve your spoken English, however, you can do so much more to step up your English fluency and having regular conversations with yourself is definitely better that no spoken practice at all! (more…)

Read This if You’re Dreading Making Phone Calls in English!

Are you constantly freaking out over making phone calls because you think you won’t be able to say things in English? Are you always putting off making appointments over phone because you dread the moment when you have to explain something and the person on the other side won’t understand what you’re saying? Or maybe you just fear that you’ll get stuck for words while trying to explain the reason of your phone call? Wherever your fear originates, it’s unfounded! I think you’d be in for a nice surprise to find out that you’re actually much better off holding a phone to your ear in terms of maintaining English fluency, so keep reading this blog post to find out why I’m making such a claim! (more…)

Can Present Continuous Substitute Present Simple Tense?

Unleash Your English Fluency with the English Harmony System 2.0!

Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

What Any Foreign English Speaker Can Learn from Benicio Del Toro

Accept Your English Fluency Limitations!

Read the following carefully – you have to be aware of your limitations in terms of English fluency yet you have to constantly improve your spoken English. Are we looking at an apparent contradiction here? Not at all! Let’s introduce some algebra to help us understand this concept. Look at this hyperbolic graph. It’s one of the best ways to help us grasp the concept of confined infinity. Essentially it’s the same way as saying that you can constantly keep improving your spoken English but at the same time you can expect there to be a cap, a limit to that growth. So what the graph above shows is the following. The hyperbolic graph keeps constantly approaching the axis but it never meets it. This line extends infinitely and in theory if you would be able to keep zooming in, you’d see that it never touches the x axis. But just think about this – the axis in itself is a limitation in space, so it marks a certain level. And it’s right here when we can draw parallels with constantly improving English fluency yet it’s limited by your personal circumstances. (more…)

Don’t Compare Your English With Others!

Today’s blog post’s topic is about the importance of not comparing your English with others. And I don’t mean it in a way that you’d have to ignore English spoken by people around you. It’s quite the opposite - I want you to perceive this piece of advice as an encouragement not to feel inferior to other English speakers :!: The sense of inadequacy and worthlessness as an English speaker can sometimes overwhelm you and it can have a detrimental effect on your English fluency. The goal of my English Harmony project is to help foreigners deal with occasional drops in spoken English fluency which are quite common in those who’ve followed the traditional path of English learning by focusing on writing and studying English grammar. So not only you have to deal with the actual speech issue itself; you also have to be mentally tough and resilient to maintain the ability to communicate with others when going through the bad English fluency phrase while hearing others perform much better than you :!: Here’s a typical scenario – and if you have the English fluency issue you definitely would have had similar moments. You arrive at work, and say hello to your co-workers, but for some reason your English isn’t as good as normally so you feel that you’re struggling a bit to say the simplest things - like morning greetings. Anyway, you’re already under mental pressure to keep your speech steady and slow – otherwise you risk running into even bigger issues like getting completely stuck in a middle of conversation and getting a total blackout in your mind. And then suddenly you hear some other foreign English speakers having a chat and they just speak away fluently and effortlessly. Or it could even be you involved in a chat with, for instance, your native speaking colleague and another foreign person. The other foreigner speaks freely, but you constantly catch yourself struggling with picking the right word, or expressing your thoughts clearly. So tell me, what would be the most natural reaction on this? Of course, anyone who’s in the situation I just described would start comparing their performance with the other foreign person’s performance :!: It’s a totally natural competitiveness and in normal circumstances facilitates one’s desire to compete, to become better at it. (more…)

How To Make Your English Sound Right? Use Collocations!

If you ask an average English speaker what a collocation is, they’ll probably shrug their shoulders and will ask you to provide an explanation. Well, I’ve no problems doing it for you! Collocations are words that normally go together in written and spoken English. They make your English sound more fluent and native-like, and it’s when you get a collocation wrong when people would say – “Well, it doesn’t sound right, they don’t say it like that in English…” The tricky part is that there are no English Grammar rules stipulating how and when certain words go together, you simply have to develop “the feel” of how words are naturally used. Basically you have to learn English collocations and incorporate them into your spoken and written English. For instance, when you go back to work after a few days illness, you’d tell your work colleagues that you’re “fully recovered”. If you use any other word with “recovered” – “completely recovered”, “absolutely recovered” or “totally recovered” – it doesn’t sound as good as the natural collocation “fully recovered”. The two words – “fully” and “recovered” are the ones that naturally go together in English language, so we can say that those words collocate with each other. Collocations are somewhat similar to English idioms. Just like idioms they’re word combinations that are used by native English speakers and you just have to learn those phrases to be able to use them; you can’t just translate the same meaning from your native language and stick relevant English words together :!: However, it won’t make you a better English speaker if you only KNOW what a collocation is. Knowing alone doesn’t make you fluent, and that’s obvious to me now after my years long pursuit of English fluency! So let’s cut the rant, and let’s get straight down to the business! ;-) (more…)

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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…)

2010 in Retrospect – the Best Blog Posts and Videos!

Forget About WILL Future Tense – Use Present Progressive Instead!

Hello my friends, and Happy Christmas to everyone! :-) I’m back with another practical English grammar lesson, and today let’s look at how to talk about future in conversational English. Just to remind you what I'm teaching in Practical English Grammar – it’s conversational English and it’s not always 100% correct. Real life English is different from school books and text books, so I’m using my extensive experience as a foreign English speaker living in an English speaking country to help you speak more fluently. All right, so let’s look at how we speak about future events in English. The standard grammatical Future Tense in English is formed by using “WILL” followed by the verb's infinitive form. However, this is far from the full picture of how you can describe future in English. To be more precise, this is just one quarter of possibilities that the English language offers, and here are the other three ways how you can describe a future action: I’m going to come home, I’m coming home, I come home. Are you slightly confused? Are you thinking now – “Why is Robby giving examples of Present Progressive and Simple Present Tenses? They’re clearly used to describe actions taking place right now, in this very moment!” Well, you’re right, they are used for that purpose, but Present Progressive, for instance, can also be used to describe Future actions which have already been arranged and the very fact of the arrangement is kind of going on right now, does that make sense? If you say “I’m coming home tomorrow” you mean indeed that you are going to arrive back home tomorrow, but you have apparently decided at some stage that you’ll come home. So as far as English grammar is concerned, the progressive action is already taking place – since the moment you decided that you would come the action is kind of happening - only taking place tomorrow instead of now. (more…)

Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!

In this video episode I want to focus on the very essence of the English fluency issue – namely – its wavelike occurrence. If you have this annoying English fluency problem when you can speak quite fluent English on some occasions, but on others you suddenly perform very badly, then you have definitely noticed that this phenomenon fluctuates. Basically it means that moments of very bad English fluency are followed by very good performance and then it goes back down again. These fluctuations tend to be quite random, and that is probably the most annoying thing about the English fluency issue. You could be speaking very well the night before some important event, but the next day your performance is so bad that you feel like your English is utter rubbish :mad: So, while the upper end of the English fluency issue scale is definitely too severe to live with, there’s much we can understand by looking at the different levels of English speech you have at different times and it’s worth analyzing a bit. The end-goal of today’s video episode is to help you realize that ups and downs in speaking English are quite normal as far as your English speaking performance isn’t severely limited by those low moments. If it is - you definitely have to work on this English fluency issue and there’s no better help with this than my English Harmony System. But if the symptoms are limited to slightly impeded speech, hesitation and occasional inability to find just the right words when you want to say something in English, you have to remember than it’s absolutely natural to experience performance drops in all aspects of life! (more…)

How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…

Until about a year ago I considered myself a non-native English speaker. I arrived in Ireland back in 2002 from a small country in Baltic region. It’s roughly the size of Ireland but it has only half of Ireland’s population. Its capital is called Riga and our crimson-white-crimson flag represents a blood-stained stretcher used to carry mortally wounded soldiers from a battle-field. The country I’m talking about is called Latvia – and I'm one in a 1.5 million people on this planet whose native language is Latvian. Anyway, I chose the settle in an English speaking country so I’m here for more than 8 years now and by the looks of it I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future. Living in an English speaking society has presented many challenges along the way – most of them due to my lack of English fluency. But I always faced up to the difficulties and thanks to my love for the English language I can enjoy communicating with locals easily and naturally. So after about 8 years spent in Ireland I stopped being a non-native English speaker! Brace yourself! I’m about to reveal one of the biggest secrets of integration into an English speaking society and how to stop being a non-native English speaker! :shock: So here we go… (more…)

Wake Up from the English Grammar Matrix!

Conquer Your Fear of Making Mistakes when Speaking English!

If you’re a foreign English speaker – there’s a 90% chance you are because you’re reading my blog! – you’re most likely familiar with anxiety of making mistakes when speaking English. You know – it’s the feeling when you’d gladly say something when chatting in English with someone, but you hold it inside because you’re not sure you’ll get it right. In the most extreme cases you might even be avoiding communication only not to experience embarrassment and humiliation! That’s when it gets really serious because no matter how badly you fear making mistakes, you’re not going to improve your spoken English simply because you’re not speaking enough :!: So how to deal with this anxiety and how to overcome your fear of making mistakes? Watch the video above and you’ll find out how to change your mindset when it comes to making mistakes; alternatively you can read this video’s script below! (more…)

Boring English Grammar or Cool Fiction – Make Up Your Mind!

Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!

Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language. I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)

How To Speak About Past Events During English Conversations

“Don’t focus on studying English grammar – go for spoken English instead!” – this is one of the few phrases you can read on my blog nearly every time I publish something. Reasoning behind this statement is that if you learn to speak correctly, you’ll also learn English grammar along the way. You see – grammar is set of rules binding the words together and determining their place in a sentence. The more you learn English in a natural way, the more you’ll start developing the special “feel” for correct English grammar and you’ll instinctively know how a particular thing has to be said. Real life conversations can sometimes go against standard English grammar rules, and it’s important for you as a foreign English speaker to be aware of such exemptions :!: Not that you’re required to stuff your spoken English with slang phrases and pose as a native speaker! It’s just useful to know that sometimes you can ignore one or another grammar rule to make your speech easier and friendlier! In this video I'm discussing how native English speakers speak about past events during a conversation, and the respective choice of English Grammar Tenses. It can be quite confusing for a foreign English speaker to get the tenses right – especially when we start looking at the Perfect Tenses and such. So watch this video to see how you can make your life easier and also make your English speech sound more native! ;-) And of course, if the video playback is hampered for some reason – have a read of the video script below! (more…)