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!

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!

3 Killer Tips on How to Write in English Like a Native Speaker!

This blog’s main focus is the spoken English improvement, yet in reality I spend a lot of time creating written content for my blog visitors to enjoy. Here are a few facts about me and writing in English: I’ve been regularly creating written content in English for the last 6 years – I’ve worked in IT customer support (constant e-mailing), I’ve been involved in a few online projects (content creation – articles, video scripts) and I’ve been regularly writing articles for this blog. If I really set my mind to it, I can write a 1000 word article in about an hour. Of course, speed isn’t an indication of one’s ability to write fluently and in a native-like fashion; however, the point is – I write as if I were speaking, and that’s part of the success formula to become a good writer. A few years ago I was involved in an Internet-based project catering for a native English speaking audience and over the course of a couple of years NO-ONE EVER hinted that the content creator might be a foreigner – even though my English wasn’t as developed as it is now. So, the point I’m trying to make here is that writing like a native English speaker is easier than you may think! ;-) (more…)

Car Video #3: Spontaneous Speech vs Slow Speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUCvR754R7U Here’s another video broadcast from my car on the way to work, my friends! If some of you are wondering why I’m recording myself while driving to work, here are the main reasons: I practice spoken English with myself on a daily basis I practice what I preach – speaking in English ALL THE TIME :!: I know you love watching my videos – so why not use my free time and record them whenever I get a chance? ;-) This time I’m discussing merits of speaking spontaneously as opposed to speaking slowly. Yes, you’ll make more mistakes when speaking faster, but on the flip side it’s a great way of developing your gut feeling for correct English! Does it sound like a contradiction? I mean – making more mistakes to develop correct English? Well, my friends – here’s how it happens: (more…)

Connecting Your Ideas in Written English

When you are writing in English, there are two main components that you must achieve in order to express yourself well: First, you must have strong, clear ideas. And second, you must present these ideas in a well-organized fashion. However, finding the right words and phrases to connect your ideas can be challenging. If you struggle to come up with the right transitions in your writing, don’t worry: we've provided you with a cheat sheet for various popular transitional words and phrases in English! These phrases are useful connectors that will make your writing flow in a natural and organized way. They’re also key phrases to use in the writing sections of English exams like the IELTS or TOEFL. (more…)

David Gemmell’s Heroic Fantasy Fiction: How It Helped Me Define My Moral Code

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 22- What a small world!

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")); Helloooo everyone out there, How are you all doing? Welcome back again to English Harmony and a new of 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 wasting even a single second, let’s get down to the business and read the given context: Context (First day at college) Josh (moving to a table with his coffee): Can I sit here? Emma: Yeah, of course. Josh: So it’s your first day, how are you feeling about this new place? Emma: I think it’s nice. But as I am a bit shy, so getting along with people takes me some time. Josh: Oh, I see that. I am sorry, but you didn’t mention your name. Your name, please? Emma: My name is Emma Clarke, and you? Josh: I am Joseph Watson aka Josh. Emma: Great! Nice to meet you, Josh. Josh: Same here! So you must have scored quite well in your high school, I mean getting admission in this college is not easy. Emma: I was an average student at my school times. It’s because of sports quota why I have been admitted to this college. Josh: What a small world! I also got admission from sports quota. Emma: Oh really! What do you play then? Josh: Tennis, and you? Emma: Me too. Why don’t you come to practice today at 4:00 pm? Josh: Alright. See you then at 4:00 pm sharp at the sports complex. Emma: Done! Bye-bye. Josh: Bye. Expression-What a small world! Explanation- People often use this expression in reaction to an unexpected coincidence. “It’s a small world!” is also a phrase that can be used instead of “What a small world”. Let’s say you meet a person who is from the same university where you graduated from, or you and your friend decide to go to a common place without even telling each other, these are situations where you want to use this phrase, as it’s a coincidence that same things happened unexpectedly. So how did find today’s chapter? Did you like it? 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"));

Can You Learn American English by Learning American Phrases & Idioms?

English Idiomatic Expressions: “Correct Me if I’m Wrong” & “If I’m not Mistaken”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrPZxW9MLms Correct me if I’m wrong, my dear fellow foreign English speaker, but I have a strong feeling that you’ve been eagerly anticipating a new English Idiomatic Expression video, am I not right? Well, today I’m going to deliver double joy for you! :grin: If I’m not mistaken, I’ve never published TWO very similar phrases in a single video, so you may want to take this opportunity and watch the above video on how to use the two expressions: Correct me if I’m wrong and If I’m not mistaken together in a single sentence! I would have to think long and hard before I’d come up with another pair of English phrases that would check the following boxes: They would mean pretty much the same thing They could be used together OR you could choose to use either of them! So, as you can see today’s English idiomatic expressions are quite unique in the sense that you can use your discretion as to how you use them, so you’d better get onto it immediately and add these phrases to your active English vocabulary: (more…)

Are you making these collocation mistakes?

Hey there everyone, How is your fluency going? What? Good. It's awesome then, but it breaks my heart when I see my dear readers, making mistakes while speaking or writing. And please don’t get me wrong, making a mistake is a part of the learning process, but correcting them is way more important than expanding your vocabulary or scaling up your fluency. Thus, without further fuss, let get down to the job: Pay close attention to the paragraph given below and find the mistakes from the context. Let’s see how many of them you are able to observe. (more…)

English Vocabulary Building – Part 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APVOydFTifQ Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 3 Here we go with the next video episode – and this is the tenth one. Two and a half months in production – not bad, is it? I hope I have enough dedication to see the hundredth one online and there’s no better way to achieve it than by taking just one step at a time… ;-) This time let’s look at the following thing – eliminating your native language from the English vocabulary building process. If you’re like the majority of language learners, most likely you’re using your native language dictionary to explain new English words and phrases. You probably also have a pocket dictionary where you write down the new words and by repeating them on a daily basis they become a part of your overall English vocabulary. Haven’t you noticed, though, that you actually can’t use most of your vocabulary when you have to speak English? And have you not also noticed that sometimes when you try to think of an English word, your native language words start getting into your way? Well, it’s the typical English fluency issue I was facing for long years, and it’s partially down to memorizing new English words through my native language. (more…)

English Harmony System Update: de Luxe Edition!

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…)

You Won’t Fool a Native English Speaker During a Job Interview So Better Stop Trying!

Improve Spoken English Fast – Focus On English Around You!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/2f_xdJXQEb0 Check out my English Harmony System HERE! Hi folks, and welcome to the 17th English Harmony video episode! Today’s topic is about many foreign English speakers being detached from reality and focusing their English improving efforts on the wrong things. For instance, you may be working in a frozen food factory and 90% of your daily conversations with your work colleagues and superiors involve discussing different aspects of the production process, different issues that occur on a regular basis, and so on. So what would be the logical approach to improving your spoken English? I’d say it’s rather obvious – master 50 - 60 most commonly used phrases in your workplace and you’ll sound nearly as fluent as your native English speaking work colleagues :!: You may argue that any foreign English speaker will eventually master the active vocabulary used at his work anyway, but I don’t fully agree. You see – you may be so determined to become fluent at speaking English that you can end up being mentally detached from the natural environment you spend most of your time in. (more…)

11 Love and Relationship Phrases for this Valentine’s Day

English Idiomatic Expression “To Happen To (Be)”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WvhDeao5LU Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Have you ever heard anyone say things like: Thank God I HAPPENNED TO BE there – otherwise who knows how it all would have ended? You won’t believe me – I HAPPENNED TO BE in the same hotel as Justin Bieber! I don’t think it was a cosmic coincidence – he merely HAPPENNED TO have gone to the same college with her sister… … and you’ve been wondering why people use the English verb “to happen” in this particular context? Why don’t they just say: Thank God I was there… I was in the same hotel… He went to the same college…? (more…)

Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!

New Year’s Resolution in 2013 – Take Real Action & Become Fluent!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a_G6LDMRv8 Do you know what’s the biggest curse preventing people from all walks of life achieving any kind of a goal they aspire to achieve? Procrastination. Not taking action. Now, ask yourself the following question – how many times have I committed to becoming fluent in English? And now, ask yourself this question – how many times I’ve failed to follow through with that commitment because my focus weakened over time and I simply stopped getting involved in English fluency improvement related activities? 2013 is going to be different. I recently joined a movement which is going to bring about massive change in foreign English speakers’ lives by helping them stay focused on their English improvement goals. It’s called YearOfEnglish.com! Many English language teaching enthusiasts and professionals are participating in it, and the idea behind the project is simple enough: Any foreigner who aspires to become Fluent in English, signs up for a DAILY e-mail notification; EVERY DAY throughout the year 2013 you are going to receive an e-mail containing action steps, things to-do and specific assignments; By the end of 2013 you’ll see a massive improvement to your English fluency, and provided you’ll have taken action, you WILL BE FLUENT IN ENGLISH :!: Isn't that a great idea, my friend? I think it’s one of the best things to do when starting a New Year – make a resolution, and then follow through with it instead of abandoning it a month into the New Year. YearOfEnglish.com is simply leaving you with no choice; you won’t have any excuses not to take action because once you’ve signed up for it, you’ll be given the EXACT advice and assignments to do, and the chances of you becoming a fluent English speaker are thus greatly increased! So, do yourself and also your friends a favor, let everyone know about YearOfEnglish.com and make sure to sign up for the FREE mailing list that’s going to blast 365 e-mails to you throughout the whole year and keep you motivated! Thanks for reading, Robby ;-)

Focus on Your Achievements & Ignore Perfectionists if They Make You Feel Worse!

Improving Your English is Simpler Than You Think!

If you’re a non-native English speaker working in an English speaking company, you may have gotten the impression by listening to those with better English than yours that you have to learn loads of specific English vocabulary in order to be able to fully function in your work environment. If you’re preparing to sit an English test or an exam – such as IELTS or CAE – you may believe that you have to dedicate all your efforts towards English grammar, syntax and irregular verbs. And if you aspire to learn to speak in English fluently so that you can simply communicate with other English speakers out there, you may also have this notion that you have to be able to discuss hundreds and thousands of various topics which would quite logically require you to learn a massive amount of new English vocabulary. All in all, you may believe that English improvement is: Super-hard, Inevitably based on studying textbooks, Demands exceptional intelligence and analytic mind! Is that so? Not really, my friend! ;-) In reality, while requiring lots of hard work, English improvement is MUCH EASIER than you think :!: (more…)

English Fluency Monitoring & Management

If you’re anything serious about improving your spoken English - and I bet you are otherwise you wouldn’t be reading my blog! – your English fluency is inevitably experiencing growth over time, it just can’t be otherwise. Regardless of all ups and downs you may encounter while having conversations with other English speakers, your English fluency trend is always going up – even if you don’t notice it! Of course, your fluency trend may be steeper than that of someone else’s, and it’s only natural because not all foreigners are getting the same amount of passive and active English immersion. And it’s actually totally understandable because everyone has their own fluency requirements depending on how much they use the English language in everyday life. For many of us, foreigners, practical life determines if we’re going to develop our English fluency at a fast pace or stay on a plateau for years. Anyway, today’s article is about your English fluency management and it’s especially relevant to those who experience sharp drops in fluency resulting in the infamous English fluency issue. Getting tongue-tied and stopping in a middle of a sentence, getting a feeling as if your head is stuffed full with thousands of English words and you know EXACTLY what you want to say but you’re unable to say anything, making stupid mistakes… These are the typical symptoms of the English fluency issue and what’s really baffling is the fact that we, foreigners, often experience such terrible moments right after having been absolutely fluent. We’re hitting the heights of our English fluency graphs, our confidence is very high, we’re achieving a near-native level of spoken English, and then suddenly we experience a downturn in our ability to express ourselves! It may even become so bad that on certain situations we find it hard to say anything at all, and it can be very, very distressing indeed… So how do you manage these peaks of your English fluency trend? How do you prevent the drops from being so sharp? To find answers to these questions, please read the rest of today’s blog post! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression & Phrasal Verb: “To Get Across”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hf8eOS9jYPw Did you know that English phrasal verbs are also idiomatic expressions? It’s not commonly accepted knowledge, yet in reality any phrasal verb – ‘to bring about’, ‘to carry over’, ‘to calm down’ and thousands of others – possess the main characteristic of idiomatic expressions: You can’t replace a word within the phrasal verb without losing its meaning! Let’s take today’s phrasal verb – ‘to get across’. It means ‘to communicate successfully’ and it’s a very short and handy way to describe a successfully communicated message (or lack of thereof): “Sometimes even native speakers struggle to get the message across if they speak with different accents.” Remember I told you that you can’t replace a word within the phrasal verb without losing its meaning? Now, imagine that you’ve forgotten what words this particular phrasal verb consists of, and you only have a vague recollection of it. You remember the ‘across’ part, but you’re not sure of the first word. You’re trying to get it right, however, so you’re saying – “I don’t think Sarah made the message across during the meeting, everyone was looking just as confused as I was!” Don’t get me wrong (‘to get wrong’ is also a phrasal verb, by the way!), I’m not saying you shouldn’t be trying to say things you’re not 100% sure of. (more…)

Is It Possible to Preserve National Identity When You’ve Lost Your Native Language?

Types of Phrasal Verbs- Transitive, Intransitive, Separable, Non-Separable

Hey there everyone, How are you all doing? Today I want to share with you how phrasal verbs can help you improve your English vocabulary and how you can easily learn them. Here's an example: " I don’t like if someone cuts in while I talk". In the sentence above, phrasal verb ‘cut in’ means to interrupt in between. Phrasal verbs are undoubtedly one of the most crucial parts of our daily conversation. Hence, I thought why not shed some light on their types and what they are. So before we jump to their types, let’s see in brief. What is a Phrasal verb? A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and another word or two, usually a preposition or an adverb. They are very important in English as they help you sound more natural when you speak or when you write. Natives usually don’t find it hard to understand them (of course, because it’s what they have been listening to since birth), but when it comes to a non-native, it is definitely not a piece of cake to understand and use in their spoken English, especially if you are a beginner. TYPES OF PHRASAL VERBS Some say there are two types of phrasal verbs, while others four. It has always been a topic of discussion and different English teacher explain it depending on the sources they learned from. I don’t say books or sources they learned from were wrong. I went through many of the English books, blogs, and resources and found a different answer at every place which can make a learner even more confused with the concepts and types. So without beating around the bush, let’s see their types and what they are. Phrasal verbs are basically of two types : Intransitive phrasal verbs Intransitive phrasal verbs are the phrasal verb that does not require a direct object. Examples- • Hurry up! • Robert dropped by at my place yesterday. • I didn’t do that good; I am just expecting to get through. Many of you will comment that the second example is wrong because you see an object in the sentence. So before you all do that, let me explain what direct object means. “A direct object is the group of words that is acted upon by the verb. And as you can see, in the second sentence “at my place yesterday” is not acted upon directly by the verb ‘drop’, so the sentence doesn’t have any direct object and the phrasal verb is intransitive.” Transitive phrasal verbs Transitive phrasal verbs are the phrasal verbs that have a direct object. Examples- • I am going to throw these biscuits away because they have expired far before. • My boss turned down my leave for my brother’s marriage. • My mother came across my lost earphones while cleaning the house. Transitive phrasal verbs are of two types: Separable phrasal verbs- The phrasal verbs in which you can put a direct object in between and separate them, hence they are called separable phrasal verbs. Examples of separable phrasal verbs • You can’t even do the initial steps properly; you need to do it over. • He doesn’t want to let his mother down by failing this time. Inseparable phrasal verbs- The phrasal verbs in which you cannot put a direct object in between and separate them are called inseparable phrasal verbs. Example of inseparable phrasal verbs • I ran into one of my old colleagues yesterday on a bus. (CORRECT) • I ran one of my old colleagues into yesterday on a bus. (WRONG) • He can easily get the role as the lead artist in his brother’s absence; both brothers take after their father almost 100%. (CORRECT) • He can easily get the role as the lead artist in his brother’s absence; both brothers take their father after almost 100%. (WRONG) So that is it for today. I hope you have a clear understanding of their types and the difference between them. You can find here more articles and examples of phrasal verbs. See you soon with some new topic and vocabulary. Till then keep learning and improving. Take care and? Bye-bye.

You Don’t Have to Spend a Lot of Time on Reading English Fiction in Order to Read LOADS!

Your English Has to Be Just Good Enough for You to Be Successful!

Check out the following videos (at the very least listen to 20 - 30 secs of how these foreign English speakers speak): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgbdNNfotwM https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jJolDZMM67Q What do you think all these people have in common except for being foreign English speakers? First of all, their English ISN’T PERFECT :!: If you’re one of those perfectionists out there who’s constantly watching out for mistakes made by other foreign English speakers, you’ll notice small flaws and imperfections in Dr. Coldwell’s and Wagner’s spoken English. Secondly, they’re 100% CONFIDENT :!: Lastly, they’re really PASSIONATE about what they’re doing :!: and they’re totally focused on the matter at hand when speaking about it. What does this all mean for you as a foreign English speaker? If you’re really dedicated to something, you can become very successful without focusing on perfecting your spoken English! You may spend your whole life trying to achieve a near-native level of English – but then it’s going to be too late to realize your dreams in terms of your professional and social life. Or you can SET YOUR GOALS NOW, start taking action and improve your English as you go along according to the specific needs and requirements of the particular industry or a different aspect of your life. Remember – your English has to be just good enough for you to be successful ;-) (more…)

Don’t Try Just to THINK in English – Speak It All Out LOUD!

Way back in 2012 I published an article about the importance of thinking in English if you’re serious about your English fluency development. The reason I wrote the said piece was because one of the primary causes of foreign English speakers’ fluency issues is translation from one’s native language when speaking in English which is a direct consequence of the traditional English studies. You see, if you’re studying the English language the traditional way, you’re bound to start translating when trying to create an English sentence. You think of what words to say based on how you’d say the same thing in your native language. You also tend to copy the syntax of sentences from your native language simply because it’s the only know way for you to say or write anything in English. Basically it all boils down to you THINKING IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. Changing your life-long habit and starting to THINK IN ENGLISH, therefore, is an absolute must if you want to learn how to speak fluent English – as you can imagine, it’s not really possible if your head is full of thoughts in your native language while you’re trying to say something in English. (more…)