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!

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

Is it OK to Pretend to Understand What an English Speaker Says When You Don’t?

The other day one of my Irish workmates was telling me a joke. He started off speaking the way he normally does and I could easily make out what he was saying. After all – I’ve spent nearly ten years in Ireland and by now I’ve managed to understand different regional accents and also different types of speech – muffled, very fast, with word endings dropped and so on. It’s not always possible, however, to understand native English speakers, especially when they throw in some slang words and expressions you haven’t heard being used before, and the indistinct speech makes it every harder to figure out what they’re saying :!: As you can imagine, I had to pretend that I got the joke my workmate Louis was telling me and I just gave a short laugh as a sign that his joke was really good… Please, don’t blame me! I know that it’s not quite right to pretend to understand what native English speakers tell you because you run the risk of making a fool of yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t pretend regardless of the speaker’s national background. It should never be a problem to admit that you didn’t get what was being said, even if it’s another foreigner trying to explain you something! You see, denial originates in fear of being perceived as a poor English speaker, but then you can get yourself in even more embarrassing situations trying to conceal the fact that you didn’t understand something. Admitting the truth almost always pays and you should treat such moments very casually; don’t make a big deal out of them. If you radiate confidence, few people will ever think of associating the fact that you asked them to repeat what they just said or to explain what they meant with bad language skills. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to end the conversation quickly and avoid discussing the same topic, it might give an impression of someone who’s not very comfortable using the English language. So how do you know when you should definitely tell your conversation partner to repeat what they just said or say it slower and when it’s OK to pretend you understood them? (more…)

Skype Based English Teaching – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZu2eY5jMcA Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! :-) A few days ago I re-opened my Skype-based English fluency coaching program Fluency Star and needless to say, the available places filled in quickly enough and I had to close it down for another 2 months while I’m working with my new students. But wait… I don’t actually like the term “students”. It sounds too traditional – almost as if I’m putting myself on a pedestal and forcing those who I teach to look up to me. That kind of an approach has never worked in favor of those who are being taught no matter what discipline we look at – math, science or English – you name it! Why? First and foremost – it’s because the teacher is just showing off his or her superior skills and knowledge thus leaving the poor student in the same position where they were previously. (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 23- Bite off more you can chew!

This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz")); Hello everyone out there, Did you practice yesterday’s expressions? I know you did and I can see it because we made it so far. Hence, I welcome back again to all my dear English learners in today’s chapter of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” where you'll learn something new every day with context and examples, and so will you today. So without further ado, let's get down to the business and read today's context: Context Jane: Hey, how are you doing? Ben: Can’t complain! Jane: What happened? You seem so tense. Has anything to do with the changes that are you facing now in your relationship with your wife? Ben: No, not at all. By God's grace, everything is good between us now. Jane: Good for you. Ben: Yeah. Jane: You are my friend Ben; please never hesitate to ask me for any help whenever you need it. Ben: That’s really sweet of you, but I think I have bitten off more than I could chew. The manager went on a vacation and there was no one else to manage his part of work so I suggested transferring his activities to me while he will be out of office. I thought, that if he sees my dedication and hard work, I will get my promotion I have been waiting for so long. Now I don't know how I will manage to do all that work. Jane: Is that all? Why do you worry so much? I know the work is mainly related to accounts and you must be knowing that my brother Josh is an accounting expert. It will hardly take 15 minutes for him to do it. You just give me the papers and I will ask him to help you. Ben: Oh Jane, thank you so much. You saved my day. Jane: Anytime! Expression- Bite off more than you chew Meaning- It means when one takes on too much responsibility or accepts more commitment than one can handle. Example- A: I have to go to the English course and after that to the music academy. B: Your mom told me that you are also joining the sports academy next month. Are you? A: Yeah, I was thinking about that because I also like sports as much as I like music. B: Make sure you don’t bite off more you can chew. Did you have any situations in the past where you bit off more than you could chew? I hope today’s lesson added some new vocabulary to your arsenal of active vocabulary which will be definitely useful in your daily life. Make sure you read this article thoroughly and practice it with your own examples so as they become your second nature. See you tomorrow with some new topic and vocabulary. Till then keep learning and improving. Take care and? Bye-bye. This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz"));

Is It OK to Point Out Mistakes Made by Others?

Don’t Make Conscious Effort When Improving Your English

Today’s article is dedicated to the importance of not forcing yourself when it comes to learning the English language and also when it comes to spoken English performance. Have you ever noticed that the harder you try to memorize new English vocabulary, the more difficult it actually becomes? Have you been trying to make certain English words part of your active vocabulary to no avail? And you certainly have had situations when you just can’t remember a word even though it’s right on the tip of your tongue! The funny thing is – the moment you stop forcing yourself to remember the word, it just pops up in your mind when you’ve stopped thinking about it… :grin: Similar things may have happened in terms of new English vocabulary acquisition – you remember odd words or phrases you’ve only heard a few times before and they’re stuck with you all the while you’re trying to drill some other words in your memory but they just keep evading you! (more…)

How to Deal With Situations When You Don’t Understand the Other English Speaker At All!

Why It’s So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7TJNdjlCxw

English Idiomatic Expression: “In Full Swing”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDsfoOFkFSo

Ask Me ANY English Grammar Related Question You May Have!

UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Are you having any English grammar related questions that have been bugging you for a long time but you just can’t figure out the right answers? Now you can ask me ANY English grammar related question and I guarantee I’ll answer it in the most detailed and helpful way I can! Here’s the plan (I just thought of it this morning and personally think it’s a brilliant plan!): You post your question in the comments section below I put ALL of your questions in an article I respond to each and every single one of your questions As a result we’re going to have a massive article on this blog where I've answered all your questions! UPDATE! Here you can check out the article where I've answered all your questions below!!! Just think about it – not only you’ll get your own question answered, but you’ll also bound to come across some other question that’s also going to be really helpful in your particular situation ;-) So please my friend, if you have a couple of minutes to spare – just head over to the comments section below and ask your grammar related question – and remember, no question is too simple! I’m going to answer them all :!: Chat soon, Robby

How to Develop Your Ability to THINK in English

What’s Common Between Running and Speaking English?

I’m into running for nearly 3 years. Two, sometimes three times a week I’m doing a circuit of around 5 kilometers. And my loyal friend Roger – the mischievous beagle – is always doing the 5K with me. He’d do more; I’m sure, because when we run back home it’s me who’s out of breath – not him! And the amazing thing about running that I wanted to share with you is exactly about what I just said – being out of breath! You see, throughout all the years that I’ve been on the run, I was having issues. I was always having pain in my left side. You know, the kind of pain we’ve all had when having too much food and going for some exercise afterwards – be it swimming or running. But I was having the pain all the time – regardless the size of my last meal and how long ago I had it. As a result, I was also having issues with stamina. Most of the times I could run quite fast and keep at my normal pace despite being in that constant, mild pain. However, on some occasions it would get so bad I could barely drag myself back home. A couple of times I nearly passed out – but I always put it down to a bad day or just said to myself – sure it’ll be OK next time! (more…)

Spoken English Topics and Technical Aspects of Spoken English Exercising

How to express opposing ideas in English

Hey there everyone, How are you all doing? On cloud nine? Of course, you must be, it’s Christmas Eve and New Year is about to begin after a few days and everybody is super pumped up for everything. So what do you like to eat more during these eves? Cake or pizza? Wait!!! What did you just say? Pizza? Or Cake? You must be thinking what am I rambling on, isn’t it? I got no problem if you like any of the above two options, but same scenario (one-word answers) occurs whenever I hear a non-native stating their choice. Conversation is all about two or more people interacting equally with each other. Now if a person asks you about choices and you give him a one-word answer, it kind of puts him on the stand to lead and balance the vacuum you created for the further conversation. And I can tell from my personal experience that following up every time after such gaps is definitely not a piece of cake on the other end, hence the conversation ends out of nowhere. It doesn’t mean that I am telling you to exaggerate the situations or answers. The thing is, one-word answering is one of the top conversation killers in spoken English. Well, how to deal with such issues? Luckily, dealing with these issues is not that tough how it seems. Using one of the three formats of sentences that I am about to mention down below, you will start noticing your conversation skills improving and you the one leading the conversation. So without beating around the bush, let’s begin: Method 1: Question: What do you like- Pizza or Cake? Answer: Although some people like cake, I prefer pizza because I love its toppings and cheese. Method 2: Question: What do you like- Pizza or cake? Answer: Some people like cake; however, I prefer pizza because I love its toppings and cheese. Method 3: Question: What do you like- Pizza or cake? Answer: Even though some people like cake, I prefer pizza because I love its toppings and cheese.   In all three methods above, we have talked about the negative part first and then explained why we prefer our respective choice. You can see yourself how better it sounds than just one-word answers like- Pizza or cake. Make sure you start applying these strategies in your spoken English and you will notice your conversation skills improving day by day. Merry Christmas to you and your family and enjoy your time. May you have an amazing year ahead! Till then, keep learning and improving. Bye-bye.

English Idiomatic Expression: “The Fact of The Matter Is That…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSOdpUeFEkU Here’s how to improve your English listening skills when listening to my video: put the headphones on, playback the video and write it all down while listening to it! Hello boys and girls! In today’s video you’ll learn how to use the following English idiomatic expression: THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT… And the fact of the matter is that a week ago I published a video about quite a similar English idiomatic expression “as a matter of fact” - but please don’t confuse the two! While AS A MATTER OF FACT can be used as a replacement phrase for the word “actually”, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT is used in a different way. You could say that it means pretty much the same thing as the phrase “Here’s the thing”, but if you want to learn more about using it – please watch the video above! Cheers, Robby ;-)

English Idiomatic Expression: MUST HAVE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUt4OmQbVWk 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 ;-)

No Perfection When Mediocrity Is Required!

Repetition in Terms of English Learning & Weightlifting is the same!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8RYc5sNkwU When you go to gym and engage is resistance training, you perceive sets of repetitions as an integral part of your fitness routine. When you learn and improve your English, however, you may find that you have some subliminal aversion (you perceive it as something bad despite not really knowing why) to the very term ‘repetition’! You might perceive it as something robotic, something mechanical. But it doesn't necessary have to be like that :!: Yes, traditionally repetition and memorization is performed in a boring and mechanical fashion whereby you repeat individual English vocabulary words followed by the translation in your native language (and it’s very wrong, please read this article to find out why!) I wholeheartedly agree that this kind of repetition is boring indeed and it’s also detached from your real needs as a foreign English speaker. What you need instead is – contextual repetition & memorization. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “We’ll Take It From There!”

Use English Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Sparingly – Better Describe than Compare!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9JwdPhNlUc Here’s a couple of English adjective related problems even an advanced foreigner might run into when having a conversation with others. PROBLEM #1: Analyzing your speech from the grammar standpoint Let’s say for example, you want to describe something during a conversation, but your mind keeps going back to the tables in your English grammar textbook where irregular adjectives were listed. It may happen completely involuntarily, but it’s this traditional way of structuring adjectives according to their forms that makes you analyze the structure of a sentence instead of being fully engaged into the conversation. That in turn may result in all sorts of English fluency issues! PROBLEM #2: Limiting your means of expression You may be brilliant at describing and comparing objects, living creatures and people, but if you only stick with the traditional system – adjective – comparative adjective – superlative adjective – you’ll limit your spoken English development. For example, in a sentence “She’s really resourceful in the way she solves practical problems compared to her sister”… the word ‘resourceful’ isn’t a comparative form of some other adjective. If your mind is tuned to the standard way of using adjectives, however, you may find that you just can’t see past the standard way of using the same adjective you already described her sister with. Let’s say for example, you described her sister as not being practical, so if you go down the traditional adjective comparison road, you automatically may say – “she’s more practical than her sister”. Well, it’s not a bad thing in itself, but it’s just that on certain occasions it may limit your ability to speak freely and improvise. So how do you develop your ability to speak automatically and without analyzing too much if you’ve got to use this or that particular adjective form? WATCH THIS VIDEO WHICH EXPLAINS MY MISTAKE USING 'ADVERBS' INSTEAD OF 'ADJECTIVES' THROUGHOUT THE VIDEO ABOVE... SORRY! ;-)  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuDsWq-LEN4   (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…)

Is It a Problem if Your English is Too Simple, Plain and Lacking Smart Words and Expressions?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsF_IZ7yhG4 I’m receiving quite a high volume of e-mails on a daily basis and they’re all related to English improvement and fluency in some way, shape or form. Today I received an e-mail from a gentleman whose name I’ll keep anonymous – of course! – and he explains the following situation. He’s been told by his friend that his English is quite fluent (which is a reason to celebrate on its own!) but he lacks sophisticated vocabulary and different means of expression – such as phrases, idiomatic expressions and so on. Basically my fellow foreign English speaker asking the question feels that as far as his speech is understandable and he’s making his point, he’s fine. So he wants to know what my take on this issue is, and that’s exactly what I’m doing in the video above! I’m giving a thorough analysis of the issue in question, and I hope all of you will find this video useful! Of course, don’t hesitate to leave your questions in the comments below! Chat soon, Robby ;-)

How English Fluency Issue Manifests Itself

Forget the English Grammar Tense Table Forever!

Here’s a very comprehensive English Grammar Tenses table with thorough explanations as to when each tense is used as well as sample sentences. All is nice and well, and you may print it out, carry with you, and learn it off by heart if you’re really passionate about your English tenses (by the way, it’s exactly what I did at the start of my 5 year long journey to English fluency!) As I said – all would be nice and well if not for a human being’s natural tendency to over-analyze and try to structure the knowledge when speaking which inevitably leads to English fluency problems. The moment you open your mouth, you’ll start wondering if the action you’re about to talk about is going to happen for sure or just MIGHT happen… Or maybe it’s going to happen over a certain period of time in which case you should be using Future II Progressive tense – “I will have been…” Basically the more you know about English tenses, the more confusing it may become, and in the end you’ll be constantly questioning and second-guessing yourself when trying to speak which is definitely something you DON’T want to happen because what good is your super-advanced English grammar knowledge if you can’t say a single sentence without hesitation and stopping to think about what tense to use? Moreover, there isn’t consensus even among English grammar professionals as to how many English tenses actually are out there! The more you read into it, the more confusing it will get. Just read this forum thread and you’ll realize that opinions differ so wildly that a normal human being can’t even wrap his or her head around it all! Some think there are only 2 tenses (which I personally thing is a total nonsense), and some extend the figure to 16, 24 or even 32 (which takes into account the existence of Passive Voice). So what do you do? Get totally bogged down on 32 tenses, learn all the conditions as to when exactly each of them is used, learn the respective sample sentences and then LOSE YOUR MIND when trying to speak with someone because of all the analysis happening in your brain while you’re speaking? NO! Instead, just FORGET the English Grammar tense table and approach the whole tense thing from a different angle!!! Forget the little used grammar constructs such as “I will have been speaking…” that aren’t used in real life English conversations. Forget the various Conditionals. And stop thinking about the merits of Past Perfect Progressive vs Past Perfect Simple. What I suggest you to do is this: (more…)

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

2 Dictionary Websites You’ll Ever Need To Improve Your English

I’ve been using the Internet to improve my English for a good number of years, especially when it comes to finding out meaning of new words and figuring out how to use them in context, what other words they collocate with, and what idioms there are containing those words. Sure, you can use Google and other search engines successfully to find relevant information; however, there are two websites that just can’t be beaten in terms of the sheer amount of information they provide when it comes to English vocabulary. Also, they are brilliant when explaining how that vocabulary is used in context, and you have to bear in mind that it is crucial for all foreign English speakers. Learning new English vocabulary out of context – just memorizing separate words – is going to do you little good simply because you won’t know that particular word is used by native English speakers. There’s so much more to speaking fluent English than just sticking separate words together, and these two websites will provide you with countless examples on how new words and expressions are used in the English language. Last but not least, those websites will explain you meaning of new English words through English language using dozens upon dozens of synonyms, and this is also of the utmost importance for us, dear fellow foreign English speakers! Why? It’s quite simple – you should build your English vocabulary ONLY through the English language to prevent you from translating from your native language in your mind which can have a terrible effect on your ability to produce fluent and coherent speech! Well, I guess I’ve piqued your interest with describing how good those websites are, so now let’s look at them so that you can start using them in your English improving routine! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “As A Matter Of Fact”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9NSbNZdViQ