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 You Forget English Words and How to Avoid It

I’m pretty sure you’ve had the following happen to you many, many times: You open your mouth to say something in English; You start the sentence and then suddenly you FORGET a specific word… You’re going mad trying to remember it… As a result you can’t say a thing! It’s one of the worst experiences that any of us, foreign English speakers, can possibly have because it makes us feel stupid and worthless, and the funny thing is that the more we try to make sure it doesn’t happen, the worst it gets :!: Sure enough, there are strategies such as PARAPHRASING, for example (trying to say it in different words) or speaking in SHORT SENTENCES which can be very successfully implemented when you can’t remember the exact word you’re looking for. I mean – why try and struggle to remember something you obviously can’t remember at the risk of not being able to say anything? Simply put it in different words, and let the conversation continue! Having said all that, however, I have to agree that you might still want to figure out WHY you forget English words and how to make sure such incidents don’t happen ALL THE TIME, am I not right? So, let’s get down to business and let’s start dissecting your brain in order to see why you forget English words and how to make sure it doesn’t happen that often! ;-) (more…)

Using Short English Words AT, OF, A, THE in Conversations

VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog. I'm Robby, your English fluency mentor from EnglishHarmony.com and in today's video we're going to look at what you should be doing when you're not sure of usage of certain little English words such as "at", "of", "a", and "the". So basically, when you're speaking and you're not sure of whether you should stick that little word in the phrase or sentence or you shouldn't - let me tell you right up front: if you start analyzing your speech too much and you start wrecking your head over these tiny little details, your fluency is gonna go out the window. Here is a typical example of what I'm talking about today - just listen to it once more: "out the window". What did I just say? Did I just say, "out OF THE window" or did I just say, "out THE window"? (more…)

English Verb “To GET” & How To Use It in Phrasal Verbs, Expressions & More!

I love simple, short English verbs such as TO DO, TO PUT, TO GET and others - the reason being: the same verb can be used in a huge number of different situations thus making it possible for you to communicate about A LOT without spending a lot of time on learning massive amounts of new English vocabulary! Just look at how the simple verb TO GET replaces other words: Do you understand me? – Do you GET me? (As a matter of fact, this is what you should say when asking people if they understood what you’ve just said – a lot of foreigners overuse the verb “to understand”!) How much do you earn? – How much do you GET? Will you arrive on time? – Will you GET there on time? Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you didn’t know the words “to understand”, “to earn” and “to arrive”. If that were the case, you’d hardly be able to formulate the above questions without using the word TO GET, and it just goes to show how effective it is to learn how to… Use One Word in 100 Different Ways Instead of Learning 100 Different Words! Well, obviously I’m not trying to discourage you from learning more English words and widening your vocabulary, it’s just that I’ve always believed it’s much easier to learn to speak English fluently with limited vocabulary and THEN learn more words. Unfortunately, so many foreign English speakers (I was one of them, by the way!) are trying to build massive vocabularies believing that it will somehow make them fluent while in reality nothing could be further from the truth … Anyway, let’s stop beating around the bush and here’s all you’ll ever need to know about the English verb TO GET! ;-) (more…)

Memorizing Grammar Rules to Get a Promotion? How Crazy is That?!

Which is Better – Direct or Indirect Speech?

As you may already know, there are two main ways in the English language you can talk about what another person has said: DIRECT speech INDIRECT or the so-called reported speech Direct speech is a word-by-word account of what the person in question said. For example, if your friend asked you “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” and now you’re telling someone else what your friend had asked you using the direct speech, here’s how you’d say it: “Mark asked me “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” so I can’t really go out with you on a Saturday night, sorry!” As you can see, direct speech is very easy to incorporate into your own speech for the simple reason that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE WORDS! You simply say it the way you heard it and I think it’s one of the biggest benefits of the direct speech – especially in situations when you find it a bit hard to speak in English and you hesitate and stumble upon words a lot. Indirect speech, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought put into it, and here’s an example: “My mom told me that my dad was going to take us to Disneyland the following summer, isn't that amazing?” Now, what I want you to pay attention to is the following: You HAVE TO CHANGE WORDS AROUND in indirect speech! The exact words used by mom were different; here’s what she said: “Dad IS going to take us to Disneyland NEXT summer!” – but when you REPORT what she said as part of indirect speech, it becomes “… dad WAS going to take us to Disneyland THE FOLLOWING summer…” It’s called BACKSHIFT and it simply means you have to change words around in indirect speech (verbs adopt Past Tense forms and words like “tomorrow” change to “the next day” etc.) if you begin the sentence with PAST TENSE – and more often than not, you will be using the Past Tense when reporting another person’s speech. After all, it was at some stage in the PAST when you heard the other person speak :!: So which one is more convenient for you as a foreign English speaker – direct or indirect speech? Keep reading this article to find out more about benefits and advantages of using both – DIRECT and INDIRECT speech when speaking in English with other people! ;-) (more…)

The More English You Know, The… Less You Know?!

4 Strategies to Stop Stumbling Upon Words When Speaking in English

Unless you’re a super-fluent foreign English speaker, you most certainly find yourself in situations when you stumble upon certain English words and sentences which leaves you frustrated and angry with yourself, am I not right? ;-) Well, I’m not talking about the typical tongue-twisters here such as “she sells seashells by the seashore” (try to say it out loud fast a few times in a row – you’re bound to make a mistake sooner or later by saying “she shells..” or something similar!) What I’m going to be looking in this article is simple words and phrases which are still quite easy to mispronounce because of repeating letters or similar sounds following each other in a quick succession: World Wide Web (letters “d” and “b” as well as the ‘R’ sound) I brought the bad goods back (letters “b” and “g”) What a wonderful world! (‘R’ sound) What happens sometimes when saying such and similar English sentences is the following – just because you’re trying to pronounce each sound within those words, your sound producing organs suddenly can’t cope with it, and that’s when you can implement various strategies I’m going to look at in this article. Let’s say, if you can’t get the sentence “What a wonderful world!” right and your tongue and lips just can’t seem to pronounce it correctly, you can re-write the sentence in your mind the following way: “Whada wondeful wold”. Try it, and you’ll realize that if you omit the letter “r”, (the ‘R’ sound isn’t that audible in this sentence anyway!) it becomes much easier for you to pronounce the sentence without getting your tongue twisted and you’re less likely to stumble upon words in the process. Bear in mind that I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to pronounce English words the right way. It’s just that I believe if you have to choose between struggling when speaking AND speaking freely albeit with a slightly incorrect pronunciation, you should go with the last option if your ability to speak fluently is very important at that particular moment in time. But now let’s look at some examples on how you can modify English words and sentences so that you can pronounce them easier :!: (more…)

4 PRACTICAL Things You Didn’t Know About the English Language

Even if you’ve been learning and using the English language for years, I can assure you that there are some quite practical things about this language that you’re not really aware of :!: “Ah well, this is just another article about English word origins, historic facts or funny things about the English language…” – you may have been thinking when reading the headline. If so, then let me tell you – you're in for a very pleasant surprise! In this article I’m actually going to reveal a good few things about the English language that will HELP you in your fluency improvement routine by making it easier to learn new vocabulary, pronunciation and a whole lot more. Are you ready? Then what are we waiting for – let’s get started! ;-) (more…)

“Blow – blew – blown”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!

FIRST OF ALL READ THE ARTICLE BELOW where I’ve explained everything about how irregular English verbs should be acquired: Learn English Irregular Verbs Through Collocations, Idioms and Phrasal Verbs! In that article you’ll learn why it makes no sense to learn the typical irregular verb word strings consisting of 3 words such as: “blow – blew – blown”. And not only it doesn’t make sense – it’s even bad for your fluency :!: Why? Well, simply because instead of USING those verbs (which happens when you learn them as part of phraseology) you’d be desperately trying to think of HOW and WHEN to use them… Needless to say, that’s when fluency goes out the window! Anyhow, let’s stop beating around the bush, and let’s focus on today’s English irregular verb “TO BLOW”. Here are the phrases from the video above you’re going to learn containing all three forms of the verb “blow – blew – blown”: (more…)

I’m a Useless English Teacher Because I Make Mistakes… And I Should Go Back to Farm!

Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First!

I’ve been going on about the importance of doing spoken English practice for years on this blog, and here are the 3 main benefits of doing it regularly: You develop your ability to speak spontaneously and fluently You prepare yourself for conversations with real people in real life You deal with your anxiety and fear of speaking in English But what if you find it hard to get your creative juices flowing when trying to verbalize your thoughts? What if you don’t engage in spoken English self-practice for the simple reason that you don’t even know where to begin to produce a monologue on a specific topic? Well, there’s an easy solution to this problem – you have to kick-start your spoken English self-practice routine by going down the easiest road possible, namely – reading a certain piece of writing out loud, and then repeating it without looking into the text. You simply have to WRITE IT ALL DOWN first, and then speak it all out loud! Well, the best case scenario, of course, is to completely separate writing from speaking in your mind; after all, the typical English fluency issues originate in English studies that are centered around writing and reading and so your mind has adopted this funny “writing mode” whereby you try to speak as if you’re creating English sentences on paper (as a result you hesitate and get stuck for words when you have to speak in real life.) But if you have to choose between not speaking at all and reading off a sheet of paper (or computer screen), then it’s a no-brainer – you have to do whatever it takes to develop your ability to SPEAK in English :!: (more…)

Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)

English Fluency Issues Is a Blessing in Disguise!

Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby, your friend and English fluency expert, and this time around I'm going to tell you that all these English fluency issues you might be having (and most likely you are having them, otherwise you wouldn't have visited my blog and you wouldn't be searching for English fluency improving related information online, right?) doesn't mean you're a total loser. More often than not, it's a good thing! Now, if you think that it's total nonsense – I mean, how could English fluency issues be good for you? Surely if you didn't have them at all then you'd be more successful in your career, in your professional life and in your private life, right? But think about this now, my friends. Just because you have these issues whereby sometimes you can't talk normal, fluent English, it forces you to work so much HARDER on your fluency than if you didn't have those issues at all! (more…)

How I Said “Check” Instead of “Receipt” in a Hardware Store (And What You Can Learn From It!)

I’ve been an English fluency mentor for a good few years now, but it doesn’t mean I speak in English perfectly at all times. You see, I’m an active proponent of letting it go when speaking in English which invariably involves making a few mistakes here and there, and there’s nothing wrong when a person capable of speaking fluent English says something wrong. In this particular situation I was paying for goods in a hardware store, and I wanted to ask the cashier for a receipt. Instead of using the word “receipt”, however, I worded the request the following way: “Can I have a check, please?” Needless to say, I corrected myself immediately after saying the wrong phrase – “Can I have the receipt, please?” is the proper way of asking for a proof of purchase at a till (the word “check” is used when you’re in a restaurant). Was a feeling bad about confusing the cashier though? Not at the slightest! :-) (more…)

Develop Your English Fluency by Helping Others!

Everyone Says My English is Good Enough… But It ISN’T!

I got contacted by a guy living in the US recently, and he said in his e-mail that quite often he finds himself in situations when he can’t have a normal small-talk conversation with native English speakers DESPITE having been told by a lot of English teaching professionals that his English is almost perfect. So basically the problem can be defined the following way: Everyone says my English is good enough, but I know for a fact that it ISN’T! This may sound like an attempt to be super-perfect (it’s as if the person in question is saying that his or her English is never going to be good enough), but in reality it happens to a lot of foreign English speakers due to reasons other than having very high standards when it comes to English acquisition. The reasons are as follows: (more…)

Thinking in English Happens With Your Mouth

English Learning Principles for Total Beginners

Here are other links mentioned throughout the video: http://englishharmony.com/why-cant-speak-fluently/ http://accentadventure.com/sentences/ http://englishharmony.com/kids-vs-adults/ http://englishharmony.com/present-continuous-vs-present-simple/ Throughout the years while I've been running this blog, I've always focused upon needs of those non-native English speakers who find themselves in a situation I was in a number of years ago - unable to speak fluently despite possessing fairly good grammar, reading, writing and comprehension skills in English. In other words, I'm catering to those foreigners who are long past the beginners English level in terms of general English knowledge and they've developed what I like to call a "writing mode" syndrome. But what about those who only start the journey into the English language now? Obviously, they wouldn't be able to read and understand this article for the simple reason that they haven't built and developed their vocabulary and all the rest, but I can definitely imagine a scenario whereby someone who just starts learning the English language is receiving some useful info from a person having read this article. Maybe it's YOU who can help some friend of yours to acquire the English language the right way and AVOID all the pitfalls that we've been falling for and that have prevented us from developing natural English fluency from the outset: Learning meanings of individual words; Learning grammar rules and creating sentences by applying them; Translating directly from our native languages; and many more! Well, I know only too well that the worldwide dominance of the traditional grammar-translation way of teaching languages - English included - is so deeply ingrained in people's minds that you'll find it very hard (on most occasions - even impossible!) to convince people NOT TO learn vocabulary lists, NOT TO try to understand the exact meaning of new words and NOT TO analyze the syntax of sentences too deeply by trying to find the exact equivalent of the given English sentence in their native languages. It's a constant uphill battle, and most of the times you'll fail. It's worth a try, however, because if you do succeed in persuading your friend to try out the contextual way of learning the English language right from the start, they will NEVER develop the English fluency issues in the first place! So, where to begin? Well, I guess a very good place to start would be by understanding that it’s SUPER-IMPORTANT to learn English word combinations right from the start - there's no need to learn individual English words :!: Why? OK, here we go! ;-) (more…)

Watch Breaking Bad If You Want to Improve Your American English!

Everyone was talking about Breaking Bad. My friends were watching it. People at work were talking about it. When the 5th season finale aired on Netflix, there was so much talk of it that it made me wonder why everyone is so obsessed with this TV show but I still didn't start watching it because that's typical me. It oftentimes takes me a bit longer to embrace new things than for everyone else, but eventually I catch up with everything in my own time. Breaking Bad was no different. After countless attempts to encourage me to watch it my friends gave up trying to convince me, but then one fine day (maybe it's some sort of reverse psychology?) I just opened my Netflix page and clicked on the Breaking Bad link. I got hooked right from the get-go :grin: This crime drama turned out to be so exciting, so captivating and so different to anything else I'd ever seen before that I just couldn't help myself being glued to the laptop monitor for hours on end! If I had to explain my fascination with Breaking Bad in only one sentence, this would be it: The main characters of the show illustrate very vividly that there's no such thing as black and white in life - sometimes good intentions may lead to disastrous consequences and bad deeds may result in something good - and the type of characters chosen by the creator of the show Vince Gilligan allow anybody to put themselves into their shoes and imagine what it would feel like to be forced into making life changing decisions and start making drugs at the age of 50 to secure children’s future or face a moral dilemma of reporting your husband or partner to the police or accept their criminal background. Being a foreign English speaker myself, however, I have to admit that there's a whole lot more to the show than just the entertainment. As a non-native speaker of the English language I've discovered an array of added dimensions to Breaking Bad, and here's to name but a few: I can shadow the show while watching it thus learning new American English phrases and expressions; Breaking Bad is great for American pronunciation development - obviously shadowing comes into the equation here as well; I can imagine myself as one of the characters (and I can't actually help it because I've a vivid imagination!) and I experience the film as if I were part of the real events which is great because I get to experience the life in the Unites States; I've been also doing some English spoken self-practice putting myself into many of the Breaking Bad characters' shoes which is great to help me acquire new American English phrases and expressions through the associated role-play. And here's some of the phrases I learned while watching Breaking Bad on Netflix - obviously it barely scratches the surface, but at least you'll get to learn some of the phraseology I've come across during the last couple of months. (more…)

5 Ways to Practice Your Spoken English if You’re Desperate For English Conversations!

If you’re a foreign English speaker and you don’t get a lot of opportunities to speak in English with real people in real life, it’s quite understandable you’re going to be really desperate for some spoken practice. Well, it doesn’t have to be so doom and gloom! ;-) With a little bit of effort and imagination you can find plenty of opportunities to practice your spoken English, so without further ado please start familiarizing yourself with 5 ways to practice your spoken English that are especially relevant to those non-native English speakers who don’t work in an English speaking environment :!: (more…)

I’ve Been Speaking in English for Years! I Still Require Regular Spoken Practice Though…

Speaking English is Just Like Playing With Lego Bricks!

A few days ago I received the following comment on the English Harmony Facebook page: Your method, learning English through idioms, phrases, proverbs, etc. is so much fun! It’s like playing with Lego bricks! Really! You see, you took most of the grammar (which for most is a party-breaker) out and made it so much less intimidating. You completely changed my view on English. Now I don't see sentences as complex structures (teeming with grammar lawfulness) but rather as different ready-to-go pieces (that is idioms, phrasal verbs, etc.) put together. Just like Lego bricks! That's why I find it like playing with it. You take on brick/part which is at your disposal and then choose which one will go along (with the same method: see what you have and try to make the best combination to convey your message). Thank you for that! I really, really liked this comment – not just because its author agrees with me on the effectiveness of contextual English learning, but also because it puts a completely different spin on the whole thing and makes you realize that English learning and improvement has to be perceived as a fun game rather than a boring chore! (more…)

Learn Only ONE Way of Using New English Vocabulary Words at Any Given Time!

Lower Your Standards if You Want to Improve Your English Successfully!

You may have this idealistic image in your head as to what kind of English you should be speaking – grammatically super-correct, formal, rich and eloquent English spoken by high-class native English speakers – but achieving and maintaining such high spoken English standards may not be just unrealistic. It may also be very unhealthy to your confidence as an English speaker to constantly compare your existing level of English against your desired level of English in terms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and speed at which you speak because it will serve as a constant reminder of your shortcomings as an English speaker! You may believe that most people speak sub-standard English and it’s unacceptable for an intelligent person. You may have this perception that your English just HAS to sound like that spoken by native English speakers – and if it doesn’t, you’ll be always branded as an underachiever. And you may also strongly believe that text-book English taught to English students in schools and universities is the ONLY way forward and that the conversational English is just English for the masses and not for such a well-educated individual as you. Guess what? By upholding such unrealistically high standards you’re making it really hard for yourself to actually improve your English! (more…)

Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!

A good while ago I published a video in which I touched upon contextual English learning and I also provided the opportunity for everyone in that video to do a simple test so that they can see for themselves how effective contextual vocabulary building is as opposed to the traditional way. Check out that video HERE! A few days ago I got a comment on that video asking for a good website to learn English vocabulary in context to which I responded by saying that TheFreeDictionary.com is one of the best dictionary websites out there containing a large array of English phrases and collocations which is exactly what you want when learning English contextually. Yesterday I got another comment by the same person asking how exactly TheFreeDictionary.com website is to be used for the purpose of contextual learning, and so I decided to record this video providing the EXACT instructions on how to look up phrases and expressions containing specific words on that website. (more…)