English phrases for daily use – Small Talk with Staff Members
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…)
Don’t Analyze Your English – Part 2: Why Questions Beginning With WHY Are the Worst!
Don’t Analyze the English Language Too Much – It’s Not Good for Your Fluency!
What Happens When You Don’t Learn English Contextually?
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! One of my blog readers posted a piece of English writing on my blog here and asked me what was wrong with it. Having taken a closer look, I quickly realized that the author of that piece had used quite sophisticated language, but the words just didn’t go together which was a telltale sign of lack of contextual English learning! So here it is: Now, it’s no secret that in order to learn to speak and write in English in a native-like fashion you have to embrace the concept of contextual English learning. Well, I guess I should put it this way – it’s no secret to those who’ve been following my blog and watching my videos. (more…)
How to Organize English Phrases for Optimal Learning
Why Can’t I Use All Those English Phrases and Collocations?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu71FfBmuFU VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hello, everyone! I'm Robby from English Harmony and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to address a particular issue that has been raised by a number of my customers and some of my Fluency Star coaching clients. And, to be honest with you, what prompted me to record this particular video was a comment I got from one of my blog readers, and that particular person says that he or she - I'm not really sure - they have been practicing their spoken English for around four years, half an hour a day at least, which is quite a lot! It's quite sufficient to improve your English to a great degree over the period of four years to be honest with you my friends, right? So, basically, they've been doing that, but they still find it difficult to implement the phraseology and collocations they learn in those practice sessions. So, the basic issue is: How to make sure that you can actually use all those collocations as you go about your daily spoken English practice? And, furthermore, for those who might be finding themselves in situations where they have to speak with other people on a regular basis, it begs another question: How you can actually use all those collocations and phraseology in real life conversations? And let me tell you right up front - this is something I haven't I guess specified previously on my blog and on my videos, which is quite surprising considering I've been running this YouTube channel for a good few years, right? So, basically, the thing I have to mention is that there's two types of collocations, right, two types. (more…)
Collocation “Scour the Web” & Why the Word “Scour” on its Own is Useless!
English Collocation: “Sparked Heated Debates”
English Collocation: “Well Thought Through”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv9SXgH1d8w In this blog post I’m going to focus on the following English collocation: “well thought through”. It’s just another way of saying “well planned”, and it’s how native English speakers – or fluent foreign English speakers! – would speak in circumstances when they have to describe a very well planned activity, arrangement, or even a physical object or structure. Anything can be well thought through. A well thought through business development plan. A very well thought through fire escape route which ensures the fastest evacuation of company’s employees in the case of fire. Furniture in your house can be arranged in a very well thought through fashion ensuring the optimal functionality and creating a nice impression. (more…)
English Collocation: “In-depth Research”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aX7Cy027jA If you’ve ever been attending an academic institution, you’ve certainly conducted an in-depth research into some matter – be it deep-sea volcanic activity, bird migration or the true causes of the American Civil War. I picked these topics totally randomly, and it just goes to show that you can do an in-depth research into pretty much ANYTHING. Some research, however, no matter how profound and comprehensive it is, is bound to return some imprecise and misleading conclusions, so I always like to question everything I hear, see or read in the mainstream media. Not that I’m some mad conspiracy theorist, it’s just that I’ve heard a lot of contradictory information about a wide variety of subjects over the years, and now I’m quite cautious when it comes to making important decisions in life. (more…)
English Collocation: “Not so dissimilar from”
English Collocation: “Sufficient Information”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dAi_V6uvc_Q Hello my friends! :grin: Today I’m bringing you another English idiomatic expression, although technically it’s rather a collocation than a typical expression. What’s the difference? Well, a collocation is a two or more English word combination observed in a native English speech (and also writing), and the funny thing is that there’s practically no way of telling WHY this or that particular thing is said in a certain way. You simply have to learn it and use it, that’s all! Let’s take, for example, today’s collocation ‘sufficient information’. It’s a TYPICAL way English speakers refer to the minimum amount of information necessary to get something done; the simplest way of putting it would be ‘enough information’, I guess. ‘Sufficient information’, however, is the EXACT way native English speakers would describe a situation when one hasn’t been able to fulfill their work related duties because of lack of information, for example: (more…)
More Proof That Context and Associations Play Crucial Role When It Comes to Spoken English Performance
4 Pieces of Evidence That Past Experience, Context and Mental Associations is Everything When it Comes to Spoken English
We humans are creatures of habit and conditioning and all our actions are rooted in the past performance and experience. No matter what human activity is looked at, chances are that your subconscious remembers similar activity from the past and it dictates you what to do. The tricky part is, you might not be even aware of it because your brain literally has a mind of its own and you might have a very little say in the process. Let’s say for instance, you’ve just started in a new company and you have to speak with plenty of new people during your first days in the new job. Your English performance is quite good, and you’re satisfied with yourself. Then comes along a particular person you experience a few awkward moments with because you don’t really know what to say to each other. You hesitate, you stutter, you say something silly. It’s no big deal, it happens to everyone, right? Yeah, right… Try to say it to your brain :!: :grin: There’s a big likelihood that every time you meet that person, you’ll be more prone to making mistakes and not being able to speak proper English - and all because of that first bad experience. And, if it happens for a few more times, the damage is done. Conditioned reflex has been created. Do you want more proof that past experience and spoken English performance are closely related resulting in conditioned reflexes? Then read the rest of this article and you’ll see for yourself that spoken English is all about past experiences, associations and conditioned behavioral patterns :!: (more…)
3 Ways of Hard-wiring Unnatural English Collocations into Your Brain
5 Ways of Learning Natural English Collocations and Creating Useful Vocabulary Associations
Unnatural Collocations and Wrong Mental Associations
I've highlighted the importance of learning English collocations in many of my previous blog posts; this time let’s look at what happens if you create wrong associations in your mind between words in English as well as in your own language. If it doesn’t sound believable, just think of such quite a realistic situation. An ESL student is learning how to conjugate the verb ‘to be’ so he’s reciting the string of words “I am, you are, he, she, it is, we are, you are, they are…” in order to memorize the personal pronouns with the respective form of the verb ‘to be’. Now, when the student has repeated the aforementioned sequence of words for a good number of times, it imprints itself into his mind, and the desired effect has been achieved. Of course, for those words to stick with the student permanently, he needs to go back to them the next day, and then after a few more days – that’s the basic principle of spaced repetition. Anyway, the job is done, and the English student is now capable of using the verb ‘to be’ in real life conversations, isn’t that right? All right, fair enough! But now let’s try to remember how many times you’ve heard a foreign English speaker mix up the two personal pronouns – ‘he’ and ‘she’ – when speaking? I would say it happens quite often, and by the way – haven’t you made the same mistake at some stage during a quick chat in English? I have, and I have my own theory on why it happens. It’s all because wrong association has been created between the pronouns ‘he’ and ‘she’ when repeating the words “… he, she, it is…” :!: You’re training your mouth to pronounce those two words together in one phrase and later on even years after you were just a beginner English learner, you may catch yourself saying things like “You know, I haven’t seen her before. He… sorry, she… hmm… she is Jennifer’s sister and is going to work here for the next half year while Jen is away.” Had there been a strong separate connection created between words ‘she is and ‘he is’ followed by a contextual example or an abstract image of a male and female, you wouldn’t be making such mistakes. Your subconscious mind would be used to describing activities where females are involved as “she is…”, so I’ll say it once again – it’s all about unnatural collocations, and I have loads of advice in store for you on how to avoid creating wrong associations in your mind! Did it pique your interest? Then read on! (more…)
Learn English Irregular Verbs Through Collocations, Idioms and Phrasal Verbs
When I used to cram plenty of new English vocabulary words using the wrong techniques (memorizing meaning of the word in my native language, memorizing many meanings of the same word at once), I also memorized loads of irregular English verbs. I had a list of them written down in my notepad and every now and then I’d go back to them to review the irregular verbs and make sure I knew every single one of them. Many years have passed, but I haven’t had a real need to look at the English irregular verb forms since. Do you think it’s because I’m so good at it that I remember all of them? I’m sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not the reason (to be honest with you – I remember all of them as part of my passive vocabulary; active vocabulary is a different story altogether so keep reading to find out why you don’t necessarily need to know ALL irregular verb forms...) The real reasons are of a more practical nature – when I swapped English studies for speaking English in real life, I realized that a big part of those irregular verb forms aren’t used in day-to-day conversations at all! It’s a typical 80/20 rule in action, and to put things in perspective, just think back to when you used, say, Past Participle “sewn” of the verb “to sew” when speaking with someone. Personally I’ve heard it used just ONCE over the two and a half years spent in a knitwear manufacturing company where there’s thousands of garments parts being sewn together every day! And you know what the funniest thing is? The person who said it (by the way – it was a native English speaker), didn’t use the irregular Past Participle form “sewn”. He used “sewed” instead and I remember thinking to myself “Why on Earth did I ever clog up my brain with unnecessary irregular English verb forms like “sewn” if I don’t use them at all?” Also, I realized that there’s so much more to the irregular verb forms, especially Past Participle, than I originally thought. Years ago I learnt them to use when speaking in my translated-from-my-native-language English. I would therefore focus exclusively on the literal meaning of the Past Participle; so for instance, “broken” for me would only be a word that describes a finished action of the word “to break” as in a sentence “I have broken my promise.” But what about word combinations like “broken down”, “broken dreams”, “to sound like a broken record”? All these English collocations have the word “broken” in them yet they don’t represent Perfect Tenses that English students traditionally associate the Past Participle form with :!: If you learn such collocations by heart, you’ll instinctively know when to use the word “broken”, and that’s what fluent English is all about! Of course, you have to know how to use the irregular Past Participle when forming Perfect Tenses and also Passive Voice – “my car wasn't broken by me”, for example – there’s no question about it! All I’m saying is that if you learn to use irregular verb forms as part of useful phrases rather than purely as a string of words – shrink, shrank, shrunk - your chances of using them as part of fluent English are much, much bigger. (more…)
Mimicking – The Best Way to Learn English Collocations!
How To Make Your English Sound Right? Use Collocations!
If you ask an average English speaker what a collocation is, they’ll probably shrug their shoulders and will ask you to provide an explanation. Well, I’ve no problems doing it for you! Collocations are words that normally go together in written and spoken English. They make your English sound more fluent and native-like, and it’s when you get a collocation wrong when people would say – “Well, it doesn’t sound right, they don’t say it like that in English…” The tricky part is that there are no English Grammar rules stipulating how and when certain words go together, you simply have to develop “the feel” of how words are naturally used. Basically you have to learn English collocations and incorporate them into your spoken and written English. For instance, when you go back to work after a few days illness, you’d tell your work colleagues that you’re “fully recovered”. If you use any other word with “recovered” – “completely recovered”, “absolutely recovered” or “totally recovered” – it doesn’t sound as good as the natural collocation “fully recovered”. The two words – “fully” and “recovered” are the ones that naturally go together in English language, so we can say that those words collocate with each other. Collocations are somewhat similar to English idioms. Just like idioms they’re word combinations that are used by native English speakers and you just have to learn those phrases to be able to use them; you can’t just translate the same meaning from your native language and stick relevant English words together :!: However, it won’t make you a better English speaker if you only KNOW what a collocation is. Knowing alone doesn’t make you fluent, and that’s obvious to me now after my years long pursuit of English fluency! So let’s cut the rant, and let’s get straight down to the business! ;-) (more…)