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.

English Harmony System

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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!

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…)

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

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Tonight is Monday night. I had to give it a thought because I was going to say almost Sunday night but it's not Sunday, it's Monday. But the thing is - today is Bank Holiday Monday and it almost feels like Sunday! But to tell you the truth guys, I'm not sure when this video is going to go live for the simple reason that I'm recording a number of videos and then I'm editing them and publishing them as I see fit, as my schedule permits because I'm quite busy nowadays. And one thing you might not actually know and to tell you the truth you definitely don't know that because I haven't actually mentioned it on my blog yet - I've started a computer course... (more…)

Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!

Don’t Look for Specific Audio Material for Improving Your English Listening Skills!

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! Today let's talk about improving your English listening, right? Basically your comprehension. And the biggest mistake, by far the biggest one that all foreign English speakers make, is they search for specific listening material. Very specific audios or whatnot specifically created with a single purpose of improving English learners' comprehension. But it's a big mistake and here’s why. First of all, those materials, well, they are obviously designed in order to improve specifically your listening but then again it's not necessarily something that you would be interested in, right? The way I like to approach things is if you are serious about your English improvement, there's no reason on Earth why you wouldn't surround yourself with English in your daily life. Watch English movies. Watch English TV programs. Listen to English radio. Basically whatever you do, do it in English and then you won't have to search for specific audio material for listening! And if you've been following my blog for a good while, you'll definitely remember that my main approach towards English listening is that you don't have to train your listening separately. It all has to go hand in hand with your spoken English improvement. Basically, you do it all together, right? (more…)

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…)

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!

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! In today's video I'm going to provide you with a very vivid example of why learning word groups and phrases as opposed to learning individual words is very important. As a matter of fact, it's of the utmost importance if you're really serious about your English fluency. And fluency in any other language for that matter - in case you're learning some other language on top of English. So what happened to me last week was the following. My daughter, she's participating in a German student exchange program, so basically my daughter is learning the German language and she went to Germany a few months ago and now the German partner who happens to be learning the English language came over to us, right? And she lived with us for a week. And so what happened is that I have studied some German in the past. To be more specific - it was seven years and it's a long time. In theory I should be able to speak fluent German but as you may know the traditional way of learning languages doesn't necessarily facilitate your ability to speak. And needless to say, after all these years I've also lost all the ability to understand and write and read in German. So basically there's just a few words that I recognize nowadays. (more…)

38 Typical English Sentence Endings

English Idiomatic Expression: “Come As a Surprise”

In this English idiomatic expression video you’ll learn how to use the following phrase: TO COME AS A SURPRISE There’s a number of variations to this particular phrase such as: It shouldn’t come as a surprise that… It came as a surprise to me that… … and each of them can be used in a different kind of a situation. The first one – “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that” – can be used whenever you want to express the predictable nature of some event or a person. Basically it’s when you want to say that it’s not really surprising that something happened or someone acted a certain way. (more…)

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…)

“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

The moment you start reading my blog, you can’t help noticing that I’m highlighting specific word groups in red. These word groups are idiomatic expressions or the so-called collocations, and they’re very useful for all foreign English speakers for the following reasons: They allow us to speak using native-like English speech patterns; They enable us to group words together thus avoiding hesitant speech; They render translation unnecessary thus facilitating overall English fluency. For best results, you should incorporate such and similar idiomatic expressions into your spoken English practicing routine, but here’s the million dollar question: “How to organize all those phrases for optimal learning?” Now, before we get into the nitty-gritty of how exactly you should organize English phraseology for the optimal learning experience, let me remind you that I’ve already done all that work for you :!: I’ve created a unique fluency improving program called the English Harmony System and it took me a good few months to organize hundreds upon hundreds of idiomatic expressions which provide the framework for almost a hundred speech exercising video lessons. Basically you can save yourself all the hassle of organizing all your phrases and you can start practicing your spoken English RIGHT NOW! But what if you’ve already been using my product and now you’d like to keep practicing on your own? As we all know, spoken English improvement is a lifelong process, and it only stands to reason you would want to keep working on your English phraseology for the rest of your life, right? So for those of you interested in taking your fluency improvement to the next level, here’s a few ways of organizing your English phraseology for your spoken English practice sessions. (more…)

Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!

How to Talk About Past & Future Without Using Corresponding English Tenses

You may have been led to believe that in order to indicate a specific English grammar tense, you HAVE to conjugate verbs and actually USE that particular grammar tense. Well, guess what? It’s not always the case! In conversational English it’s more than possible to refer to the future or the past without using those specific English tenses and without conjugating the corresponding verbs. And here’s an example to clearly illustrate what exactly I’m talking about here. Let’s take, for example, the following sentence: “I’m planning to visit my friend tomorrow.” Now tell me please what is the grammar tense we can observe in this sentence? It’s Present Continuous – “I’m planning” – isn’t that right? Yes, that’s right! And now, tell me please what you’re actually referring to – present or future – in this particular sentence? Before answering the question, just let me draw your attention to the fact that if we’re looking at the sentence purely from a grammar standpoint, it is indeed the Present Continuous Tense you can observe, that’s right. But here’s the question you have to ask yourself: “Am I really emphasizing the fact that I’m MAKING PLANS at this particular moment in time or am I stressing the fact that I’m visiting my friend TOMORROW?” So, are you referring to the present or the future in this particular sentence? Of course it’s FUTURE! You’re using Present Continuous to refer to a FUTURE event so the take-home lesson is: There are situations when you don’t have to use the corresponding grammar tenses to refer to the future or the past! And now, just to provide you with a deeper insight into the whole thing, let me give you a number of phrases and expressions to be used in your English conversations. It’s going to save you time and effort trying to figure out the right English grammar tense to use – instead you can just learn those phrases and use them when a fitting occasion arises! (more…)

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…)

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!

Over the years I’ve been working in a number of jobs where I’ve been dealing with both non-native and native English speakers. My work colleagues. My superiors – managers, team leaders, supervisors – you name it! Our customers as well. Quite naturally, I’ve been constantly communicating with them. I’ve been engaging in all the necessary work-related verbal communication. I’ve been chatting with them during my break times. I’ve been participating in meetings. I’ve been sending dozens of e-mails a day to a lot of different people. Also, I’ve been running this blog since 2007 – you can do the math! – and I’m constantly dealing with my blog visitors e-mails and inquiries, not to mention my Fluency Star clients I coach via Skype. So, as you can imagine, I’ve made a lot of interesting observations in terms of people’s ability to speak and write. Did you know, for example, that judging by some native English speakers’ writing style, you’d think they’re just beginner English learners? Yes, it’s totally true and I’ve come across such people time and time again! And to be totally honest with you, sometimes their writing has been so bad that it’s made it next to impossible to figure out what they’ve actually meant in their e-mails :!: So, would you like to read more about my interesting observations in relation to English speaking, writing, non-native and native English speakers? Then find a comfortable seat, make yourself a cup of coffee, and keep reading this article! ;-) (more…)

Dictation: Benefits of Listening to English & Writing It Down!

What Books Would You Suggest to Improve My Spoken English?

This is a question I get asked quite often when people contact me – “Robby, I want to improve my spoken English. What books would you suggest?” The moment I read the question, I just can’t help but to think: “Why on Earth are you looking for a BOOK if it’s your SPOKEN English you want to improve?” To me it’s quite obvious that no amount of books will help you on your journey to become a fluent English speaker. If you want, we can do an experiment. Just give me your address and I’ll send a trailer-load of books to you and I bet you’re not going to gain an ounce of spoken English fluency after reading them all :!: You don’t believe me? Well, I’m a living proof of that – there was a time when I was literally devouring English fiction books and as a result I achieved a complete reading fluency. And guess what? I was still struggling with basic communication for the simple reason that reading books didn’t train my MOUTH :!: Basically the issue is the following: You may have the BEST English learning books and textbooks in the world, but they’re not going to make any difference to your ability to speak unless you PRACTICE YOUR SPOKEN ENGLISH… …which brings us to the REAL question: (more…)

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…)

Why Can’t I Use All Those English Phrases and Collocations?

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hello, everyone! I'm Robby from English Harmony and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to address a particular issue that has been raised by a number of my customers and some of my Fluency Star coaching clients. And, to be honest with you, what prompted me to record this particular video was a comment I got from one of my blog readers, and that particular person says that he or she - I'm not really sure - they have been practicing their spoken English for around four years, half an hour a day at least, which is quite a lot! It's quite sufficient to improve your English to a great degree over the period of four years to be honest with you my friends, right? So, basically, they've been doing that, but they still find it difficult to implement the phraseology and collocations they learn in those practice sessions. So, the basic issue is: How to make sure that you can actually use all those collocations as you go about your daily spoken English practice? And, furthermore, for those who might be finding themselves in situations where they have to speak with other people on a regular basis, it begs another question: How you can actually use all those collocations and phraseology in real life conversations? And let me tell you right up front - this is something I haven't I guess specified previously on my blog and on my videos, which is quite surprising considering I've been running this YouTube channel for a good few years, right? So, basically, the thing I have to mention is that there's two types of collocations, right, two types. (more…)