Past Events in English: “There Was This Time When… Next Thing I Know…”
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! Hi guys, hello boys and girls and hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's me, Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! Now, in today's video I'm going to give you two new English idiomatic expressions which is somewhat unusual because normally I'd be giving just one. The reason being, if you learn a number of expressions all at once, especially if they describe a very similar concept, oftentimes you would get confused when we learn them all at once and then we try to speak all those expressions would mix together kind of. So that's why I normally suggest only focusing on one particular expression at a given time. But in this particular case the topic that I want to touch upon today is discussing past events, all right? The reason being, a lot of my blog visitors have contacted me in the past asking me “Robby, can you tell me ways of simplifying my speech when I talk about past events because I oftentimes get confused about using the different tenses or whatever?” And on top of that, a lot of my Fluency Star coaching clients have also expressed the same wish that we incorporate some storytelling basically into our programs. And by saying storytelling don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about some old style storytelling whereby the storyteller gets in front of the crowd and entertains everyone by telling entertaining stories. It's not about that. It's just about talk about past events, right? So basically provided all this I have a pretty clear picture basically. A lot of you guys are struggling with talking about past events and that's exactly the reason why I'm going to be touching upon that subject today. And the two phrases will come in very handy because the first one “there was this time when…” is a great way of initiating the story, right? And then the phrase “next thing I know...” is a very handy way of making the transition from the past tenses into the simple present. The reason being, you can use simple present when talking about past events. Surprise, surprise, a lot of you guys probably didn't know that, right? And chances are that you didn't because nobody really tells you that. You wouldn't find that information in an English grammar book. Nobody would write in it that simple present can be used to talk about past events, right? But in reality it happens a lot. Native English speakers use this strategy a lot but nobody – I suppose nobody really thinks a great deal of it. You know what I mean, people just speak that way, okay? But if you want to learn exactly how to use these two phrases “there was this time when…” and “next thing I know...” and how to make the transition from past tenses back to simple present to simplify your speech and get your story going, please bear with me and you'll find it all out, my friends in a couple of moments! (more…)
Your English Teacher’s Expertise Means Little When It Comes To YOUR Ability To Speak!
Some time ago I watched a video where a non-native English teacher was teaching a large class of English students. You know the way you sometimes browse YouTube videos and one video leads to another and you end up watching something you didn’t even intend to look for in the first place? So the Chinese man was teaching his fellow countrymen and women, and he was literally radiating knowledge and expertise. He was really eloquent, he was writing plenty of sample English sentences on a whiteboard to illustrate the grammar related points he was making, and he was talking non-stop thus making a really, really professional impression of himself. And guess what the poor students were doing while our super-teacher was entertaining himself in front of the classroom? They were all crouched over their copybooks frantically trying to write down every single bit of the precious information their English teacher was throwing at them! And believe me – there was A LOT of information to be processed because their teacher was really knowledgeable and you could just tell the guy must have worked really hard to achieve such a level of expertise in the English language and its grammar aspects in particular. What about the students though? Did their super-teacher pass all that knowledge, skill, expertise and ability to speak in English fluently directly onto them by being so generous with information in front of the classroom? Well, I strongly doubt it, and that’s the very reason I decided to write this article! (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Slang #28 GO SEE/WATCH/DO SOMETHING…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftudwHOnfGU Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Good morning my friends! ;-) Did you know, by the way, that it’s totally fine to omit the word AND when saying things like: I’ll go AND check on my sister to make sure everything’s OK. I had to go AND watch a movie with an old friend of mine even though I didn’t like it! Let’s go AND see what food we can round up! Yes, in conversational English it’s 100% fine to omit the word AND so the above sentences become: I’ll GO CHECK on my sister… I had to GO WATCH a movie… Let’s GO SEE what food… (more…)
Shocking Reality About Foreign Accent and Fluent English
Speak Really LOUD and Get Your English Fluency Back in Check!
Over the course of the last few years I’ve come up with a great number of English fluency management strategies ranging from slowing down your speech to trying to speak as fast as possible and trying to make as many mistakes as you possibly can. There’s also such fluency improvement techniques as: Proving to yourself that you are in fact a fluent English speaker by way of logical argumentation Developing a certain degree of IGNORANCE towards other people’s opinions Accepting your current English fluency limitations Clearing your mind completely and speaking without any emotional involvement whatsoever …or even Speaking with a HARD foreign accent! And, to tell you the truth, up until recently I thought I’d looked at every possible angle of the English fluency issues leaving no stone unturned. I was under the impression you couldn’t possibly think of something fluency improvement related that I hadn’t already written on my blog or made a video about! But guess what? I proved myself wrong! A couple of days ago when I was doing my usual spoken English self-practice, I did something that radically improved my fluency with an immediate effect. And that SOMETHING was something so simple that it blew my mind! I mean – how come I hadn’t thought about it throughout all these years while constantly speaking with myself and trying out everything imaginable starting from speaking with a hard foreign accent and ending with focusing on certain key sounds to get my fluency back in check? Alright, let’s not try and keep the suspense going because the tile of this article gave it away anyway – basically what I’m talking about here is speaking LOUD. And I mean – REALLY loud, just like Rich Piana does in his YouTube videos! (more…)
Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”
Two Kinds of Mistakes Made by Foreigners When Speaking English
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2woUXuLZQDY I’ve been writing extensively about the topic of making mistakes when speaking in English, and I’m sure you know my stance by now – you don’t have to worry about making mistakes too much :!: You’re much better off making sure you use a lot of popular phrases and word combinations when speaking and that way you’ll be constantly working on your fluency! There are folks, however, who feel strongly about this topic. They think I’m sending the wrong message to my audience by condoning erroneous speech. They are strong proponents of the ‘make sure to speak 100% correctly whenever opening your mouth’ approach, and they’re worried my articles and videos will teach my fellow foreigners bad habits and they won’t be able to get rid of their spoken English mistakes! Let me address this issue now and settle the matter once and for all so that we’re on the same page when discussing any mistake related issues in the future! ;-) (more…)
What Exactly I Mean By Saying “Don’t Study English Grammar”
English Idiomatic Expression: “For the simple reason that…”
English Idiomatic Expression: “For a good while”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PW_VsSTxO8 Today’s idiomatic expression is very simple – FOR A GOOD WHILE. It’s just another way of saying: For quite some time OR For a long time Basically it’s to be used whenever you want to emphasize the fact that the time-frame in question is relatively long, and typically you’d use it in following sentences: (more…)
Paraphrasing – A Brilliant Method Of Improving Your Spoken English!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCPJAzEVRLY On a daily basis, we all find ourselves in situations when we can’t find the correct word to say. You know what you want to say, but it just won’t come out! Many people refer to the phenomenon as being 'tongue-tied'. For foreign English speakers, this problem can be even more pronounced. You might have heard some news or read an article in a newspaper, and you want to tell the story to others. The problem arises when you just can’t remember the news word-for-word. Let’s look into the problem by using an example. The news on the previous evening announced: - The president issued a warning to all opposing his bill. You want to discuss the implications of the Presidents warning with your work colleagues, but you can’t remember the exact words. The solution is to PARAPHRASE the statement. Paraphrasing is defined as: -verb: express the meaning of something using different words. -noun: a rewording of a passage. Therefore, if we paraphrase the statement above, it can be said in many different ways e.g.: - The president issued a warning to those against his bill, or -The President warned those opposing the bill. All three statements convey the same message in different words. The statement has been somewhat simplified but does not lose its meaning! No one to whom you speak will correct you to say that's not EXACTLY what they said on the news! No one will even notice that the words have been changed. Paraphrasing means you don't have to be tongue-tied. You won’t have the feeling of knowing what you want to say, of having a word on the tip of your tongue, and not being able to say what you want. (more…)
English Fluency Q & A – 17 September 2016 – Ask Robby!
Face Your Biggest Fears – Halloween Ghosts and English Speaking!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/lH_E5ZE9mTE I’ve been writing and making videos about English fluency and improving English for a good while now. But all of it accounts for nothing if you just read and watch and leave it at that :!: If you don’t go out there and don’t enjoy life at its full, you’re not even using half of your potential as a foreign English speaker! Any language’s primary purpose is to serve as means of verbal communication – and all your English improving efforts should come together in real-life socializing :!: Are you still afraid of being judged by other English speakers? Are you still insecure about your spoken English? Would you rather AVOID situations that can potentially end up embarrassing you than FACE up to your English fluency issues and deal with them? Then learn from Halloween night when it’s all about FACING your fears and becoming stronger as a result! (more…)
11 Love and Relationship Phrases for this Valentine’s Day
Video for YearOfEnglish.com subscribers: Learn English Vocabulary That’s Relevant for YOUR Life!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6CzZVCN54 Hello guys from YearOfEnglish.com and also anybody else having dropped by my blog :!: In today’s video I’m touching upon the subject of vocabulary building, and needless to say it’s all within the context of spoken English self-practice. Why? Simple enough – if you’re serious about your ability to SPEAK, you have to speak, and speaking with yourself is by far the best tool available to ANY foreign English speaker ANYWHERE on this planet! Speaking of vocabulary building, here’s a synopsis of the video above: Engage in spoken English self-practice and write down things (using English ONLY!) you can’t say; Go online and find those new English words you were struggling for; Memorize those words WITHIN CONTEXT – put them in sample sentences and use Google to see how this or that particular word is used; Do more spoken English self-practice sessions and make sure to use your newly acquired vocab! The video above, however, contains more info that just that, so please make sure to watch it if you’ve got 10 spare minutes – you’ll thank yourself for it later on! ;-) Thanks for tuning in, Robby P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
Speaking With Yourself Isn’t As Different From Speaking With Others As You Might Have Thought!
Developing Your Ability to Use All Those Phrases & Idioms in Real Conversations
Get the FREE eBook “Power of English Phrasal Verbs”
If you’ve just moved to an English speaking country, you may find yourself in a situation when everyday English spoken around you is much different from the one you studied at school or university. And even if you’ve spent considerable time in the country, much of what native English speakers say might be lost on you so you blame your lack of English fluency. By the way, haven’t you heard some foreigners say things like: “You know, these Americans (British, Irish – depending on which English speaking country you reside in) don’t speak correct English themselves, that’s why it’s so hard for us to communicate with them!” Well… In fact what some might call “incorrect speech” boils down to a few main factors which aren’t incorrect or wrong by their nature. Native English speakers simply use a whole lot more informal and colloquial means of expression than academically tutored foreigners! Yes, informal speech sometimes doesn’t meet the very high literacy standards – but then I think we can actually argue who set them and why. Learning super-accurate and perfect English without means of expression like phrasal verbs, idioms and colloquialisms will make it much harder for you to communicate, and here’s a perfect example to illustrate exactly what I mean. (more…)
Different Types of English Speakers
How to Develop the Gut Feeling for Correct and Natural English
What You Think is Your WORST English Performance May Just Turn Out to Be Your BEST One Ever!
Do you sometimes get the feeling that you’re a really crappy English speaker and that your English sucks? Well, I also get this feeling sometimes, and despite having dealt with my main fluency issues a long time ago there are days when it kind of feels as if it’s not even worth opening my mouth. There are occasions when I have to record a video for my YouTube channel, for example, but I just can’t stand the way I sound on that particular day, and I can’t get rid of the feeling that I should rather stay away from it and get back to it the following day. Do you think I do that and just keep my mouth shut? No way! I simply ignore the fact that I’m feeling bad about my ability to speak in English properly, and I proceed with recording the videos. More often than not the result is quite surprising – when I watch the video I can clearly see that my English speech is by far better than I thought it was! So here’s the simple conclusion I can draw: (more…)
Should We Make Sure Everything We Say Is Grammatically Super-correct? My Opinion on Correct English!
How Words Hook Up With Each Other in Spoken English
IMPORTANT! Please grab a piece of paper and a pen before you start reading this article as you'll be required to write down a few English words if you decide to participate in a small experiment! In this article we’ll look at how important it is to acquire new vocabulary in context, and how much time you may be wasting learning new words separately, just by learning meanings of new words or even worse – learning them through a translation in your native language. I've been discussing it on my blog and in my videos quite a lot, but I’ve never actually brought up certain examples to show you the effectiveness of learning new English words through context. So, let’s do an experiment first. It’s very important you participate in this because if you don’t, you won’t be able to feel the difference between learning new vocabulary with and without context, so please follow my instructions, all right? ;-) Basically you'll have to make effort to memorize a few quite sophisticated English adjectives but in case you know a few or even all of those words, please don’t be offended! I’m not trying to insult your intelligence by making assumptions about your English vocabulary; I’ll be doing my best to pick out a few English words that aren’t heard that often in normal daily conversations or in media. Now, please read the following five English words with the corresponding explanations and try to do your best to memorize those words and their meanings: (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Having Said This”
In Real Life Your English is Judged by Your SPEECH!
English Idiomatic Expression (Conditional Sentence Type 3) – Had I (p. participle), I would have (p. participle)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KajCntRAkcE Probably your mind started racing upon seeing today’s English idiomatic expression headline. Conditional Sentence Type 3. Advanced grammar. “What is wrong with you Robby, why are you giving me this confusing advanced English grammar stuff, aren’t you the one who keeps telling me all the time – forget about grammar, focus on speaking instead?!” Don’t worry my dear fellow foreign English speaker! ;-) I’m not going to start stuffing all these fancy grammar terms like Past Participle and Conditional Type II into your head. You must have been exposed to all that theoretical knowledge plenty of times throughout the years spent on studying English grammar, and the simple fact is that if you keep focusing on the grammar aspect of it, you will actually find it hard to use such and similar grammar constructs in real life. The way I see it is much simpler. (more…)
12 Reasons Why Spoken English is Just Like Playing a Guitar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqWl-3dVCLY 1. You may be good at recognizing chords & songs, but you need to be able to play them yourself in order to… play them! If I told you that watching Keith Richards perform and deliver his best guitar pieces for three months straight will make you into a decent guitar player, would you believe me? I guess not! Then why would you ever listen to someone who wants you to buy into the learn-English-by-listening hype? Ability to use your mouth in order to speak in English AND using your guitar to play a song aren’t so dissimilar because it all boils down to your ability to DO something rather than just RECOGNIZE something. It’s all about PASSIVE vs ACTIVE English, music or whatever practical skill we’re looking at! When I picked up the guitar for the first time and tried my first chord, I sucked at it big time. And it’s no wonder I was so bad at it – I simply had never tried doing it before. I had been checking out some related information previously though, and I had a general idea of how certain chords would have to be placed. Doing it myself turned out to be a totally different story altogether, and the very same goes with using your mouth in order to speak in English. You may be able to understand other people fairly well, yet when you open your mouth it’s the same as trying your first chord on a guitar. Remember: spoken English – just like guitar play – is a very PRACTICAL SKILL! (more…)
20 most common ‘Words often confused’ in English
You Have to SUCK at Spoken English Fluency in Order to SUCCEED!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sgRLgi7OoTM You know what I think was one of the crucial factors determining my personal English fluency development? BEING SUCKER AT IT for a long time. How come? Well, it’s fairly simple and straightforward: I struggled with my English fluency and it made me really DRIVEN to succeed; I worked the HARDER to achieve my goal of fluent English; As a result, I ACCELERATED my spoken English improvement and made real gains in the ability to communicate in English properly :!: So all the while I was being really unhappy about my limited ability to speak without interruptions and hesitations, in reality all that struggling made me into a FASTER and more EFFICIENT English learner. If I had the power to change the past and learn English the proper way without too much focus on writing and reading, would I do it? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt! Do I regret my past with all its fluency issue related trials and tribulations? NO! :grin: As I already said, I believe that all this struggling with my fluency provided me with even MORE motivation and hunger to achieve a complete spoken English fluency one day! And here’s what’s in it for you, my fellow foreign English speakers. (more…)
English Collocation: “In-depth Research”
English Idiomatic Expression: “In Full Swing”
You’ll Never Need Legal English Terms and Vocabulary – Way Too Specific!