Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”
- Video Transcript Below - Hi guys and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Or, in case you can't actually watch this YouTube video, welcome back to my podcast! Right? Because as a matter of fact, I'm publishing every single video in two formats. One as a traditional video format which gets uploaded onto YouTube, and the other one is the audio file, mp3 file which gets uploaded onto the server and it's accessible on my website. I post it right above the video or, alternatively, you can actually access all those podcasts on iTunes or the other website is called Stitcher. Alright? But anyhow, today's topic is vocabulary, right? And I'm just going to tell you a few things that happened to me within the last few days, right, in terms of vocabulary acquisition and actually remembering words that you, kind of, know but you might've forgotten them, right? (more…)
English Idiom: “Wrap Your Head Around Something”
You’ll Never Need Legal English Terms and Vocabulary – Way Too Specific!
Why I’m Making Mistakes in My Videos & Why I’m Not Concerned About That!
- Video Transcript Below - Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! In this video I'm going to address the matter of me making mistakes while recording these videos. You see, the thing is that some people may hold to the opinion that once I'm positioning myself as an authority in the English teaching field here on YouTube and on my blog, that my English should be impeccable (my spoken English). And there are certain people who are watching my videos and then they're pointing out where I should have said things differently, they're providing actual time stamps and everything, the exact time down to the very second where I'm saying things wrong. Here's the thing - I have to actually go back to the very origins of how I started running the blog and why I did it in the first place and what the whole English fluency issue is all about. (more…)
Beware! I’m a False Fluency Expert & I’ll Con You Out of Money!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello everyone and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby and I'm a fluency expert, an English fluency expert. And obviously some people - and to be more specific, it's a commentator called Dry Dead, right? Some people reckon that I'm not an expert. And there's been a little commotion going on on this particular video I published last night which is an interview with one of my students, Sergi from Catalonia. And then Dry Dead pointed out that I made a mistake during that video where I said “so much more fluent.” In fact I should have said “so much more fluently,” right? It's a mistake. Yeah, so he was laughing at the fact that an English fluency expert made such a terrible mistake, right? SIDE-NOTE: Eventually I had to ban this person from my channel because he resorted to insulting everyone and he just couldn't be reasoned with. Here's the thing, Dry Dead. I responded to many of your comments before. I was trying to get through to you. I was trying to convey the message that in my reckoning an expert is not necessarily someone who is perfect at it. For me an expert is someone who helps other people and does a good job at it. And he is capable of bringing out the best in other people as learners, right? For example, this computer course I'm attending right now, okay? I'm not a very technical guy and personally I go to the teacher and I go to smarter guys in the class for advice. But despite all that I'm quite capable of helping other guys with certain things. Other guys who might not be as knowledgeable as me at that stuff. So in those terms I would call myself an expert because I'm capable of helping those guys. (more…)
Fluency Star Case Study: Sergi and His English Fluency Improvement
Don’t Try to Figure Out What Something Means in English Grammar Terms – It Serves NO Purpose!
One of the main principles of the English Harmony philosophy is not to fall into the habit of analyzing your speech from the grammar standpoint. The very same goes with reading. You may find yourself trying to figure out what this or that particular sentence in a book or newspaper represents in English grammar terms, and the funny thing is that sometimes you just end up confusing yourself instead of gaining something from it! You’re reading a sentence and the analytical part of your brain automatically starts analyzing the syntax: “Hold on, is it a Passive or Active Voice construct? I’d better Google it up and see if I can figure it out!” So off you go browsing forums and spending your time just to satisfy your curiosity! And you’re not alone. There’s millions of English learners asking questions on forums trying to figure out WHAT ROLE certain words and word groups play in a sentence, what grammar tense is represented by the sentence in question and so on. Sometimes I come across those forum threads when validating my English collocations (read more about how I do it HERE) and it just doesn’t cease to amaze me that there are folks who are quite literally wasting away their lives asking questions such as: Is this clause a predicative expression or is it not? or What exactly does “would have” mean in the following sentence “I would have thought that the unemployment rate is on the rise, but it’s actually the other way around”? It looks like a conditional sentence, so does it mean that the person who speaks doesn’t actually think that the unemployment is on the rise but would think so if certain conditions are met? The moment I see those questions, it instantly brings me back to when I used to analyze everything I was reading or hearing, and needless to say, that’s exactly the reason why I couldn’t speak fluently in the first place! My mind was gone into a permanent analytics mode and I was under the false impression that if I were to become proficient in terms of English grammar, I would also become fluent. Little did I know at that time that it was completely false logical reasoning. Just think about it – how being able to DEFINE what a particular group of words represents is going to help you REPRODUCE that phrase or sentence when writing or speaking? It won’t – that’s the thing! ;-) You see, it’s all because most English learners can’t distinguish (and it’s all because of the traditional way of teaching English at school!) between the following: Theoretical KNOWLEDGE about English grammar and syntax, and Practical SKILLS and ABILITY to use English when speaking or writing! Many of us believe that KNOWLEDGE directly translates into ABILITY – but nothing could be further from the truth! Ability to SPEAK, for example, is all about you being able to REPLICATE correct speech patterns and the best way to go about it is by simply REPEATING and MEMORIZING a specific sentence. When you speak with real people in real life, does anyone care about the sentence being a conditional or not? NO! All that matters is your ability to SAY IT OUT LOUD! (more…)
Update on My Personal Situation: Why I’m Doing a PC Course
Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!
There are plenty of social situations when you’d be speaking with a group of other English speakers as opposed to just one person. Just think about the following situations: Having a lunch break in your work or college café with your colleagues; Having a cigarette with your work colleagues or schoolmates; Sharing a car ride with your friends. So, what do all these situations have in common? Anyone? That’s right! What they have in common is SOCIALIZING IN A GROUP, and it’s very important for you to understand that group conversations tend to be much different from one-to-one conversations :!: When there are two people having a conversation, you have more control over the whole process, whereas in a group your voice will oftentimes be quite literally drowned out by others. Does that mean you should avoid group conversations and wait till you get a chance to have a face-to-face conversation with some other English speaker to practice your English? Not at all! As a matter of fact, if you avoid such situations, chances are – you won’t get any opportunities to get to know other English speakers and as a result you’ll end up being alone. The best way to go about it is by knowing WHEN and WHAT to say during a group conversation in order to minimize your chances of being ignored and maximizing your potential for English fluency improvement, so keep reading this article to learn from my experience having lived in an English speaking country for 13 years :!: (more…)
Don’t Look for Specific Audio Material for Improving Your English Listening Skills!
How to Write Formal e-Mails in English
English Words I Used to Mispronounce
At this stage I’ve lived in an English speaking country for more than 12 years, and I can call myself an English speaker for more than that because I was speaking the language long before I came to Ireland all those years ago. Anyway, having been an English speaker for so long doesn’t mean my language is free from errors. Every now and then I realize I’ve been making some sort of a mistake. It might be a specific English word that I’ve been using wrong. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I found out that the English word “deal-breaker” has a negative connotation rather than a positive one! I thought that if something is a “deal-breaker”, it’s the most appealing feature among all others, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite – a “deal-breaker” is the biggest risk factor! It could also be an English idiomatic expression I’ve been using the wrong way. Only this week I found out that the idiom “rule of thumb” doesn’t actually mean a very strict rule – which is what I’d thought – it actually means a general rule that can be widely applied. On some occasions though, it turns out I’ve been MISPRONOUNCING a specific word for years without realizing it, and that’s what today’s article is all about! Before we begin, just let me tell you one thing – making these kinds of mistakes is completely normal! Nobody is perfect, and I know for a fact I’ll keep correcting my English till the day I die – but I’m not feeling like my English sucks because of it. I just do it as a normal part of my English improving process, and I warmly suggest you approach your own errors the same way! And now, without further ado, let’s look at the English words I’d been mispronouncing without realizing it! (more…)
Best Essay Writing Tools For Non-native English Speakers
The process of learning a new language is always challenging. Some ESL students have a natural talent to grasp the grammar and vocabulary aspects of English language, but most of them have serious problems to fit into the new environment. Although educators are getting better in motivating students to have a more enthusiastic approach towards learning, they still face serious challenges to infuse educational technology into the curriculum for the appropriate level. But you don’t have to wait for your teachers’ recommendations to start relying on apps, websites and tools that will help you become fluent in English essay writing in no time! The following list of tools is the right place to start. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Doesn’t Cut It”
SUPER Important for English Fluency: SLOW Down Your Speech!
I can’t stress enough how important it is NOT to try and speak very fast! I’ve been doing it myself for a long, long time – mostly to impress others and HERE you can read why trying to impress others is a really stupid idea. You know yourself how it goes – you’re speaking with someone and you want the other person to feel how good your English is. It’s as if you are COMPELLED to speak as fast as native English speakers, which is also a very stupid idea on two accounts: First – people will notice that you’re a foreigner ANYWAY, Second – you should NEVER COMPARE your English with that of others because it will always make you feel inadequate! I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that speaking too fast is one of the BIGGEST mistakes all foreign English speakers are making all over the world :!: It’s the reason #1 why non-native speakers get stuck for words in English. It’s the reason #1 why we mispronounce words when speaking in English. And it’s the reason #1 why we think we suck at speaking in English. The solution to this issue is quite obvious, as a matter of fact – it’s staring right in your face: SLOW YOUR SPEECH DOWN! In real life, however, it’s easier said than done. Unless someone tells you: “Hey, just slow down a bit and you’ll be able to speak so much more fluently!”, for some strange reason you’re unable to figure it out for yourself. And even when you know you should be speaking slower, you still catch yourself trying to speak faster than your natural ability allows you. It’s like a vicious circle that you find very, very hard to get out of. So, keep reading this article and you’ll learn: Why you’re trying to speak in English very fast; Why fast speech is very detrimental to your fluency; What you can do to overcome this problem! (more…)
Learning English Phrases Beats Learning Individual Words Hands Down!
38 Typical English Sentence Endings
A while back, I published an article containing 25 English sentence starters - they’re great to get your speech going and some of them can be used in pretty much any life situation. Then, a short time later, I received a request from a blog reader of mine to provide him with typical English phrases used at the end of a sentence, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do in this article! This is going to be a compilation of 38 typical English sentence endings, and I’m going to group them into several categories so that it’s easier for you to learn them. And remember – you HAVE TO incorporate these sentence endings in your spoken English practice sessions to be able to use them in real life. If you’re not going to USE them, you’ll lose them – simple as that! And now, without further ado, let’s start looking at these English sentence endings. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Come As a Surprise”
How Many English Phrases Do I Have to Learn to Become Fluent?
Don’t Try to Impress Others With Your English!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a subject that I've actually spoken about before, and it's the fact that you don't have to try to impress other people with your English. Typically what happens is, when you're having a conversation with someone, deep down inside you're trying to show off your English skills. You're trying to show that person that your English is up to scratch, which is another idiomatic expression for you, which means up to standards, right, basically, good enough. And more often than not, it backfires on you, which means you end up being in a worse situation than in the beginning, in a worse situation than you're starting with. (more…)
How to Become a Good English Interpreter and Translate TV Shows Into Your Native Language
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! As you may already have noticed, sometimes I create blog posts and videos based on my blog visitors’ comments and questions. This article is not an exception, and here’s the original comment that inspired me to write it: So basically the problem I’m going to discuss in this blog post is the following: “How to develop your ability to translate from English to your native language INSTANTLY?” Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this matter, just let me tell you that I’ve actually written about this particular phenomenon of not being able to translate a TV show into my native language while watching it with others – you may read about it HERE. It goes to show that this problem isn't unique – I would even go so far as to say that it’s NOT ACTUALLY A PROBLEM at all! (more…)
English Phrase: Just Because… It Doesn’t Necessarily… It’s Quite the Opposite, Actually!
“WELL…” – the Simplest English Hesitation Word!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony Video Blog! In this video, I'm going to give you the simplest hesitation filler phrase possible, and here it is: "Well…" It's just a word - "well." And that's how you can begin sentences when you have to buy some time and when you can't really answer immediately. So, basically, a person asks you a question and then you begin your response with saying: "Well…" which buys you a few seconds during which you can actually think about the matter at hand and come up with a reasonable response. Whereas, if you're not saying anything, there's a bigger chance that you'll just get stuck for words. Imagine someone stopping you on the side of the road and asking you for directions to the local police station for example. If you just go like this, "Uh, Uh," it's very easy to get stuck for words. But, if you open your mouth and just say this simple word "well…" it kind of opens up your mouth and forces you to say something extra. And even though those extra bits that you're going to say may come out with a few mistakes, you know, they may come out a big erroneous, it doesn't matter because at the very least you would have said something, right? The word "well" gives you something to say, and it instantly makes you sound like a native English speaker, and do you want to know why? For the simple reason that all native English speakers use the word "well" to hesitate! (more…)
How to Organize English Phrases for Optimal Learning
Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a very interesting thing and, if I'm not mistaken, it's never been spoken about before. I've never discussed it, neither on my videos, nor on my articles on my blog, and I think this is going to be a very interesting topic indeed. Namely, not all foreign English speakers who struggle when speaking, not all of them actually have to improve their English. Some people are quite confident the way they are! And here's what I actually mean by this. I've come across a few such people in my life. And it was actually years ago when I was a young fellow, when I just came over to this country, and there was a bunch of guys living together in one house, and I got to know several new people time and time again. There were a few guys whose English was so-so, but they were quite okay communicating with other people. Their English was broken. Their vocabulary wasn't huge, and their grammar was quite bad to be honest with you, but they felt at ease when speaking with other English-speaking people. They didn't feel it as a problem, right? And that was the whole make or break factor for their confidence. They were confident and they didn't need to improve their English. They didn't work towards that goal that we all share, right, which is improving our English and achieving fluency. They worked towards other goals in their life, professional goals, and personal goals. But, they were happy with their level of English, and it was sufficient to get on with their daily tasks, to go on about their daily business, to work, to drop into institutions and get things done. Yes, it might have taken them a little bit longer because the communication would have been slightly hampered and things would have had to be explained in a little bit more detail to get it all done, but eventually it wasn't a big deal for them. And they were confident enough the way they were and that was it! Their English was fine for them and they didn't need to improve it. They'd never thought of - at least I didn't hear them complaining about their English because they were quite happy the way they were, and it's a funny thing. (more…)
How to Talk About Past & Future Without Using Corresponding English Tenses
What Exactly I Mean By Saying “Don’t Study English Grammar”
How to Give the PERFECT Presentation in English
If I had to name The KEY to your success in giving a presentation, it would be PREPARATION and PRACTICE. If you think about it, it’s not really a rocket science – you have to prepare slides for the presentation and that’s half of the job already done! Yes, it’s the actual slides that make up the main part of the presentation and in theory you could give a decent presentation just by switching between the slides and describing what you see in them! Therefore it would seem to follow that all you have to do to ensure successful performance during a presentation is to prepare the slideshow in a way that enables you to more or less read all the information off the screen, right? Well, slide preparation is obviously crucial in order to give a presentation, there’s no doubt about that! I mean – preparing the slides and presenting all the information to the audience is what makes the presentation a presentation. For those unaware - if you’re just standing in front of people talking about a specific subject, it’s called a SPEECH. Adding some visual clues to your speech makes it a PRESENTATION – at least in my opinion. In reality, to engage the audience and make the presentation flow nicely, reading information off the slides just doesn’t cut it: You have to know how to address the audience. You have to use the best means of expression to comment on the slides. And you also have to use the proper English phrases to stress the main points and draw conclusions during the presentation! That’s exactly where English presentation phrases step in, so without further ado let me give you the very cream of the crop! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: MUST HAVE
This time around we’re going to look at the following English idiomatic expression: MUST HAVE Well, to tell you the truth, it’s not really your typical idiomatic expression because it only consists of two words. I’d be more precise if I told you that MUST HAVE forms idiomatic expressions in combination with other words, and here’s a few examples: I’m not feeling very well, I MUST HAVE eaten something bad! So, you’re back from your trip – what was it like? It MUST HAVE been some experience! Was Julie off for a couple of days? She MUST HAVE been sick! Now, I hope you’ve started getting the bigger picture in terms of how MUST HAVE can be used. But you’re always welcome to watch the video above where I’m giving you extra info on how to use this expression in real life! Cheers, Robby ;-)
Customer Support & Service Industry English Phrases
When My Spoken Fluency is UP, My Written Fluency is DOWN…
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Well, for some strange reason, I just can't write today. I don't know what's wrong with me. Then again, my oral fluency is up today for some strange reason, right? So, maybe I should record a video about it, and upload it onto my YouTube channel for my audience to see. Yep! I’d better do that! Hi, guys. It's me, Robby, from EnglishHarmony.com! I’d better turn off the music… And welcome back to my video blog! Today's subject is quite a funny thing that I've observed on numerous occasions. Basically, whenever my fluency, my overall fluency is up, my written fluency goes down. Basically, my ability to create written content diminishes for some strange reason. So, basically, my observation is that my ability to write and to read is not the same. Whenever one of them goes up, the other one goes down and vice versa. Why it is, why it's happening, I haven't got a clue, right? It's just that it happens and I've observed this phenomenon occurring time and time again over the years. (more…)
Relationship Between Written and Spoken English is Really Weird!
Dictation: Benefits of Listening to English & Writing It Down!
I have to be totally honest with you guys and come clean on something. I’ve never done purposeful DICTATION with the sole purpose of improving my English! For those unaware – dictation is exercise whereby you copy someone’s speech by writing it down. But it’s not really odd considering that I used to follow the path of the traditional text-book based English studies for a very long time, and as you can imagine, there’s no-one speaking when you open the textbook. You’re just required to fill in gaps in exercises and to provide written answers to questions. Over the years my English writing improved to a high standard quite naturally, and when I realized that I’d been neglecting my spoken English, I started engaging in spoken English practice whereby I’d rather copy and mimic other English speakers by SPEAKING OUT LOUD instead of writing it down. Well, come to think of it - I actually have done a certain amount of dictation when transcribing my own YouTube videos, but you can’t really count that as a proper dictation exercise. The reason being – I didn’t do it as an English-improving activity, I simply needed to transcribe my videos so that I could publish them on my blog. Proper dictation is done when you purposefully LISTEN and then you transfer what you hear in written form thus improving both your English listening and writing skills. And this one, my friends, is the first benefit of dictation! ;-) (more…)
What Books Would You Suggest to Improve My Spoken English?
Everything About TOEFL: Interview With Paul & Rachael from LanguageTrainers.com
In Real Life Your English is Judged by Your SPEECH!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a subject that I haven't actually spoken about before, namely - the fact that you or me or any other foreign speaker for that matter, We're all judged based on our spoken English performance! When we meet with other people, when we go about our daily business, when we communicate with others, it's the spoken fluency that we are being judged upon. It only makes sense because people don't see - they can't - there is no obvious indicator of how well we understand them. People can't immediately see how good readers or writers we are. But, what they can see, what they can hear, to be more specific, is the way we speak! So, it only makes sense that we are being judged on the basis of our ability to speak with other people. Yet, at the same time, the traditional English teaching setting facilitates all those other aspects of our English, namely, our ability to understand, and write, and listen, but spoken fluency has always taken the back seat. And on top of that, all those exams like TOEFL and IELTS, they all focus predominantly on your ability to understand and provide written answers. (more…)