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!

Defining Your English Comfort Zone

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjcMHEr_ZJs Hi folks, and welcome to the 20th English Harmony video episode! I really hope you enjoy watching my videos and you gain plenty of useful advice to implement when you’re speaking English! Today I’m going to tell you about a certain aspect of being a foreign English speaker – namely, being aware of the fact that on certain occasions you lack English understanding and also you’re not probably able to speak as well as you would want to – and all this even if you’re not experiencing the typical English fluency issue whereby you’d be getting stuck in speech. So let’s analyze such situations and figure out if you need to take further action. To do it best you’d need to take a better look at your everyday life and analyze if you’re fully comfortable with English you use to get by at work, when socializing, and also when enjoying your hobbies ;-) (more…)

How to Write Formal e-Mails in English

I’ve been working in a number of jobs where there’s constant e-mailing going on – not to mention the fact that I’ve been running this website and providing customer support via e-mail since 2007 :!: So, as you can imagine, I know a thing or two about writing e-mails and how to make your e-mails effective, concise and to-the-point. And considering that I’ve been receiving quite a few requests to provide a comprehensive guide on how to write e-mails in English, I decided to publish this article where I’ve compiled the most popular means of expression used in formal e-mails. Now, traditionally people would divide e-mails into two types: Formal e-mails which is official communication at work, with various institutions and people you don’t know. Informal e-mails which is when you e-mail your friends, family and people you know very well. In reality though, it’s sometimes quite hard to draw a distinct line between the two for the simple reason that you can have a situation, for example, when you’re very familiar with your superiors at work. In theory, it would be considered formal communication. In reality, there’s nothing wrong with you using less formal means of expression in that communication – and believe me, it’s common practice in companies and organizations all over the world! Anyway, for the sake of simplicity, we will look at formal and informal e-mail writing separately, so in today’s article let’s see what English phraseology and expressions is used when writing formal e-mails. (more…)

20 most common ‘Words often confused’ in English

I really liked the ‘desert’ at the party. What? How can someone like a desert at a party? Oops! I made a mistake up there. It should have been ‘dessert’ in the above sentence which is the sweet course eaten at the end of the meal. English pronunciation can be quite weird sometimes, isn’t it? It is for this reason that not only non-natives, but also a native English speaker gets confused with its usage sometimes, and hence they are often referred as  ‘Words Often Confused’ or 'Homophones'. Hey to everyone out there, Welcome back again to English Harmony and I hope you are all doing good. So today we will learn about ‘Homophones’, which are also known as ‘Words often confused’. What are Homophones? Homophones are the words that have exactly the same pronunciation but different meaning. The root of the word ‘Homo’ means ‘same’, while ‘phone’ means sound. Be it a non-native or native, people get confused with these homophones because of the same pronunciation; so you see, you are not alone. There is no doubt ‘practice makes a man perfect’, and the same goes with learning homophones. They are not that easy, but with a regular practice and proper learning, it will be a piece of cake for you. So without further ado, let’s get down to the business and see some of the most common homophones in English: Accept/ Except Accept (verb): consent to receive or undertake. Example: I accepted his proposal for the meeting this weekend. Except (Preposition): not including, other than. Example: Everyone came to my birthday party, except Ben. Advice/ Advise Advice (noun): guidance or recommendation about what someone should do. Example: You should always follow his advice if you want to improve your game. Advise (verb): recommend that someone should do something. Example: He advised his brother not to be in the bad company of rogues. Ate/ Eight Ate (verb): The past form of ‘eat’. Example: I ate my lunch after I came from school. Eight (noun): The number between seven and nine. Example: There are eight rooms in our house. Bear/ bare Bare (adjective):  not clothed or covered. Example: He bared his chest to show his scar. Bear (noun): a large, heavy mammal with thick fur and very soft tail. Example: I saw a black bear in the zoo yesterday. Desert/ dessert Desert (noun): a waterless area of land with little or no vegetation typically covered with sand. Example: Sahara is the largest hot desert in the world. Dessert (noun): the sweet course eaten at the end of the meal. Example: I don’t think a meal is complete without a dessert. Deer/ dear Deer (noun): a hoofed animal, the male of which usually has antlers. Example: I saw a deer on a roadside while dropping Joe to school. Dear (Adjective): regarded with deep affection Example: “God bless you my dear son”, said the church father. Die/ dye Die (verb): to stop living. Example: His uncle died in a car accident. Dye (noun): natural or synthetic substance used to color something. Example: He bought a dye for just 40 cents. Band/ banned Band (noun): a flat, thin strip or loop of material used as a fastener or as decoration. Example: John gave Emma a friendship band on her birthday. Banned (verb): past form of the ban. Example: Alcohol has been banned for some days in some of the cities due to the increasing number of accidents. Haul/ hall Haul (verb): To pull or drag something with effort. Example: He hauled his bike out of the shed. Hall (noun): the room or space just inside the front entrance of a house. Example: The students were ordered to assemble in the hall so admit cards could be distributed. Higher/ hire Higher (adjective): the comparative degree of high. Example: The prices of these products go higher every day. Hire (verb): pay to be allowed to use something for an agreed period. Example: I can't say for sure if they will hire you or not. How many of them did you know? A few? Or all? I hope you would have found this article useful and easy to learn. Make sure you learn their meanings off by heart so you never get confused down the line. Lemme know in the comment section below about your views and suggestions and keep learning and improving. In case you wanna give my personal blog ‘Your English Vocabulary’ a knock, you are always welcome. Till then, take care and? Bye-bye.

Speaking in Short Sentences? It’s Normal!

English Idiomatic Expression: “Down the line”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XNviqdKGkok We never know what’s going to happen down the line – isn’t that right my friends? But let’s not get too pessimistic – after all, it’s time to learn another English idiomatic expression, and I actually just used today’s phrase – “down the line”! ;-) This English idiom is quite simple, and it’s just another way of saying “in the future”. Are you wondering then what’s the difference between the two phrases? Are you asking the question – “Why use ‘down the line’ if I can simply say ‘in the future’?” I warmly suggest you stop asking questions like the ones I just mentioned! They’re not going to avail you of anything apart from only getting you more confused. So please read this blog post I wrote a short while ago about the bad effects of too much question asking and analysing. So, just repeat and memorize today’s phrase “down the line” and watch the video above to see how it’s used in real life so that you can start using it in your daily English conversations! Chat soon, Robby ;-)

When My Spoken Fluency is UP, My Written Fluency is DOWN…

English Becomes Worse When Speaking With Another Foreigner? Is It REALLY Possible?!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOicavsUr5Q A couple of days ago I got a comment from one of my YouTube followers asking for advice on how to deal with a situation when English fluency deteriorates in the presence of another foreign English speaker whose English isn’t as fluent as yours. I provided a helpful comment and I also touched upon the phenomenon of deteriorating English fluency when another non-native English speaker joins a conversation between a foreigner and a native English speaker. After that I got a response to my comment reiterating the fact that it’s very odd such situations occur at all – considering that speaking with the native English speaker doesn’t present any difficulties whatsoever; it’s only when you have to address the other foreigner whose English isn’t as developed as yours that you start experiencing problems with speaking in English clearly. Long story short, I recorded this video where I’m looking at this phenomenon in the very depth, so if you’ve been experiencing similar issues during your English conversations, you definitely may want to watch this video to understand the very nature of this problem and also find out how to deal with this inability to speak with somebody whose English is worse than yours :!: (more…)

Can You Become Fluent in English if You Don’t Have a Talent for Languages?

Time and time again I’ve been told by all sorts of different people that I have a talent for languages. And when they find out I speak three languages fluently – Latvian, Russian and English – their opinion of my abilities is pretty much identical: “Robby, you’re naturally gifted when it comes to language learning! I wish I were like you!” And guess what? I think it’s a load of crap! I honestly believe that my ability to speak three languages fluently has nothing to do with my alleged talent for languages. And I also believe that ANYONE is capable of learning to speak English fluently regardless of whether you believe you have a talent for it or not. It’s just that most people don’t realize they have the potential to become fluent in English due to one or all of the following reasons: They think they’re not naturally gifted so they don’t WORK HARD on their English Deep down inside they know they’re too lazy to do something about their English skills so they use the lack of talent as an EXCUSE They’re using the WRONG METHODS to improve their English so the whole “I’m not naturally gifted at languages” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! Now, would you like me to prove to you that YOU DEFINITELY have what it takes to become fluent in English – and any other language for that matter? Then keep reading this article and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! (more…)

Want Solid Proof that Spoken English Self-practice Works? Check This Out!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTNeyx3qAro

FGC Goal #1: American Slang Phrase #5 – IT HAS WRONG WRITTEN ALL OVER IT!

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 28- Don’t sweat it!

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")); Hey everyone out there, How are you all doing today? Welcome back yet again to another chapter of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” where you'll learn some new vocabulary every day about a subject with context and examples, and so will you today. So without further ado, let get down to the business and see today’s context: Context - Joe (son) is talking to his father Mike Mike: Look what I brought for you! Your favorite chocolate cake! Joe: Thanks dad, but I don’t want to eat anything right now. Mike: You never said no to the chocolate cake! What happened to my boy? Is everything alright? Joe: I am okay. I just need some rest. Mike: No, you are not. Tell me what’s the matter? I am your father Joe; I know something is upsetting you for sure. Joe: I always got good grades. All teachers used to praise me for my brilliance in every subject, be it Science or Mathematics. I have always excelled in every field, but this time, I think I won’t even pass. Mike: Why do you think so? Didn’t you write any answers? Joe: No, that’s not the case. I don’t know what happened to me at the last moment that I could not remember properly anything that I have learned. I wrote the answers anyhow, but I don't think they were correct. Mike: See Joe, there is nothing you can do about it now. If you think about this now won't change the situation. So you see, even if you didn't do well this time, you have so many other chances in life to prove yourself. Joe: I just wish I pass this time. I will make sure I revise everything at least twice from next time, so it will never happen again. Mike: You are going to do good. I believe in you, so please don’t sweat it now. Cheer up your mood and eat this cake I bought for you. Did anyone ever say not to sweat it when you were in worry? Did it confuse you then? I hope it’s clear from the above context what this idiom means. Well, in case you didn’t get it by now, it is simply another way to tell a person not to worry. Usually, people who are in some tension start sweating, it is where this expression originated from and became a popular way of telling someone not to worry. Example: Don’t sweat about the results now. There is nothing you can do about it. So did you like today's chapter? I know you did and I hope it 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"));

English Idiomatic Expression: “If you’re anything serious about”

English Idiomatic Expression: “In the first place”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5mvTxNF8e4 Today's English idiomatic expression is "In the first place", and please watch the video above to hear my examples of how to use this phrase. They mightn't always be the best samples sentences, but you can rest assured that I would never tell you something that is totally wrong - EVER! I might be a foreigner and my spoken English mightn't be exactly native-like; however, I have a pretty decent level of fluency and over the years I've developed a good 'gut feeling' for correct English. Thanks for visiting my blog, and chat to you soon again my friends! Robby ;-)

There’s Always Someone Worse Off Than You!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wK5J94FKo3M

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 30- Talking about a Celebrity

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 everybody out there, How are you all doing today? I am so pumped up that it’s the 30th day of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” and I am damn sure so are you. I have a hell lot of things to say and tell, but let’s not get carried away at the moment and put it off for the time being (that just means we do it in the next article). Today I am gonna teach you some extra expressions than how much we used to learn daily, as it’s the last day of our course (and I am so excited), so take your seat and be ready to learn and pick some awesome vocabulary. Context Medha- Hey, What’s up Shiv? Shiv- Nothing much! I am just done with my college assignments. Medha- Let's go outside to have some coffee and toast. Shiv- I am sorry Medha, I just had a hunk of bread right now so I don’t feel like to eat anything. By the way, you can go if you want. Medha- No, it’s alright. I was just getting bored at home so I wanted to go somewhere outside. Shiv- Did you see the premiere of Robin’s new TV series yesterday? Medha- Yeah, I did. It is doomed to fail for sure; I mean there was not even a flicker of emotion in the entire episode. One can clearly notice a yawning gap between his previous TV series and this one. I just can’t believe he did it. Shiv- I completely agree with you on that one. His previous series does not bear any comparison with this one. That was so good. Medha- Exactly! The director can just pin his hopes on Robin’s die-hard fans now to make it a hit; else there is just a glimmer of hope that it will even cross a million in its earning. Shiv- I agree! By the way, you said you wanna go outside. Would you like going for a long drive? Medha- I would love to. Let’s go! Vocabulary to Acquire Today Put it (something) off Meaning- To procrastinate or delay something for other time. Example- We decided to go for an outing this Wednesday, but as John was so sick we put it off until next weekend. Even a flicker of emotion Meaning- It is a colloquial way of saying 'even a little emotion'. Example- There was not even a flicker of emotion when he was apologizing for his mistake. I just can't believe how can a person be so emotionless. A glimmer of hope Meaning- Just a little hope. Example- There is just a glimmer of hope that the council will re-examine the case, else the career of these sportsmen is completely finished now. A hunk of bread Meaning- Thick slices of (bread, cheese or meat). Example- I cannot eat even a single bite now as I just had a hunk of bread at café. Yawning gap Meaning- An enormous difference. Example- There was a yawning gap between his sayings and his actions. Doesn’t bear comparison with Meaning- Can’t be compared with. Example- His policies just don’t bear comparison with our ex-director. He was way too good. Pin your hopes on Meaning- To rely on. Example- He can just pin his hopes on his previous achievements, else there is just a glimmer of hope that he won't get fired this time. Doomed to fail Meaning- sure to fail. Example- With such an undedicated staff member and no financial support, the company was doomed to fail. How did you find today’s chapter? I hope it 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 will become your second nature. See you tomorrow in a new article where we can draw some conclusions from what we learned, so I would definitely expect your attendance. 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"));

5 Ways of Learning Natural English Collocations and Creating Useful Vocabulary Associations

English Idiomatic Expression: “Such and similar”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vPcOGDi1_0 You’ve probably noticed by now that in my English idiomatic expression videos I don’t focus on the typical English idioms such as “Heard it through the grapevine” or “It’s raining cats and dogs”. Why? First of all, I believe it’s more important to focus on idiomatic expressions that are used more often – such as “I would have thought” or “Down the line”. These expressions can be used in various situations whereas the more specific idioms are limited to certain occasions. Secondly, the typical English idioms aren’t going to help you speak more fluently. Idiomatic expressions such as the following speech pattern – “It’s not that… it’s just that…“ – on the other hand, are instrumental in helping you structure your speech around those key-phrases and as a result your fluency is improving :!: Lastly… Well, read this blog post yourself and you’ll find out everything in relation as to why I favor English idiomatic expressions over traditional idioms! ;-) Today’s expression, by the way, is “such and similar”. It’s quite a simple speech pattern, yet it will come in handy whenever you want to… To find out when EXACTLY it’s useful – watch the video above! :grin: Chat soon, Robby ;-)

English Collocation: “Sufficient Information”

Must-Follow YouTube Channels by Foreign English Speakers!

I’ve been publishing videos on my English Harmony YouTube channel for a good few years now, and there was a time when I thought I was pretty much the only foreign English speaker publishing videos on YouTube. Sure enough, I’d seen some videos made by beginner and lower-intermediate English learners in a bid to exercise their spoken English skills, and it’s all nice and well, but what I’m talking about when saying I thought I was the only foreigner publishing videos is a well-established YouTube channel with massive following! Needless to say, I proved wrong. It turns out there are more non-native English speakers publishing on YouTube on a regular basis, and their videos are really interesting and engaging :!: Well, you see – probably the biggest obstacle in finding such YouTube channels was the fact that initially I was looking only in the English learning and teaching niche. And I’ve got to tell you that in this niche I’m indeed pretty much the only foreigner. Once I started looking beyond English learning and improving though, I started finding well-established YouTube channels where other foreign English speakers were sharing their thoughts and expertise on various other things. And it only goes to show that pretty much the only way to achieve complete English fluency is by enjoying life and things you LOVE instead of focusing on English learning related materials! So, without further ado, let me introduce you to these YouTube channels run by foreign English speakers, and I’m 100% sure you’ll find at least one of them extremely captivating and relevant to your own interests as well as providing an extra motivation to keep improving your spoken English to a level where you could possibly start recording similar videos and who knows… maybe you’ll even start a YouTube channel of your own one day! (more…)

Your English Is NEVER Too Bad For Your Career Development!

Sometimes It Makes More Sense to Acquire English Vocab as Part of Figurative Speech

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1rMxAYbNVM If you’re a keen English student, there’s a good chance you dedicate a considerable amount of your time to learning new English vocabulary. If you’re a SMART English student, you’re learning new English vocabulary in context (basically I’m talking about phraseology here) because that’s pretty much the only way to ensure you can use that vocabulary as part of live, fluent English speech. If you’re REALLY SERIOUS about your fluency improvement, however, you’re also being selective about the way you choose which phrase containing this or that particular English word you assign the most importance to! Let’s take, for example, the word BOG. I guess you know the word, but in case you didn’t know what it means (nothing wrong with that!) – it’s land covering an area of an overgrown lake where there’s plenty of soggy, moist soil and people have been known to get sucked into bog sinkholes because it’s pretty much impossible to get out of one. So, let’s say you just learned the word BOG, and you’re going to learn the most commonly used collocations containing that word to make sure proper mental associations are created in your mind: I was walking on a bog Walking on a bog may be dangerous Sucked into a bog sinkhole Bog oak woodwork (specific type of hardwood that’s being recovered from a bog having been there for thousands of years) If you learn these collocations (it’s just a fancy way of referring to word combinations), you’re so much more likely to be able to USE the word BOG as part of a live conversation for the simple reason that the word BOG is going to be connected with other words so they’ll all come out of your mouth without you having to construct a sentence from scratch. (more…)

Unnatural Collocations and Wrong Mental Associations

English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/sM3-Dknc8N8 Hi Folks, This is the first video in the English Harmony Practical Grammar video series. The grammar videos are still going to be part of my usual video blog. I just came up with this idea of the English Harmony Practical Grammar brand because I know that many of you are using grammar as a starting point to improve your English. But my English grammar lessons will be different – you’ll learn how to use it in real life conversations! I’m not going to repeat what you can find on a million websites on the Internet, or read in any English grammar book. Instead I’ll be giving you interesting and practical interpretation of ordinary English grammar – and it will be much more useful to you, believe me! Moreover, I’ll put all my experience, mistakes and conclusions that I’ve had throughout the years of improving my English into these lessons for the biggest benefit to you! So today’s topic – the possessive case in English language. If you’re not sure what it is – read more about the possessive case here. It’s simple enough, and your English teacher probably didn’t dedicate more than ten minutes to the possessive case in the classroom. However, it’s not that simple at all! I can remember myself struggling with the possessive form of nouns a few years ago – I was applying the same grammar rules on English that I would on my own language. As a result I was using the possessive case way too often! (more…)

English Teacher Destroys Student Confidence by Scolding Them? It’s Unacceptable!

Beware! I’m a False Fluency Expert & I’ll Con You Out of Money!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2WM6tYViTg

English Idiom: “Wrap Your Head Around Something”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxUZqEuw_9c