Is It a Problem if Your English is Too Simple, Plain and Lacking Smart Words and Expressions?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HsF_IZ7yhG4 I’m receiving quite a high volume of e-mails on a daily basis and they’re all related to English improvement and fluency in some way, shape or form. Today I received an e-mail from a gentleman whose name I’ll keep anonymous – of course! – and he explains the following situation. He’s been told by his friend that his English is quite fluent (which is a reason to celebrate on its own!) but he lacks sophisticated vocabulary and different means of expression – such as phrases, idiomatic expressions and so on. Basically my fellow foreign English speaker asking the question feels that as far as his speech is understandable and he’s making his point, he’s fine. So he wants to know what my take on this issue is, and that’s exactly what I’m doing in the video above! I’m giving a thorough analysis of the issue in question, and I hope all of you will find this video useful! Of course, don’t hesitate to leave your questions in the comments below! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
Fluency Gym Coach Goal #1 Complete: 50 American Phrases Acquired!
English Idiomatic Expression: “The Fact of The Matter Is That…”
Skype Based English Teaching – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZu2eY5jMcA Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! :-) A few days ago I re-opened my Skype-based English fluency coaching program Fluency Star and needless to say, the available places filled in quickly enough and I had to close it down for another 2 months while I’m working with my new students. But wait… I don’t actually like the term “students”. It sounds too traditional – almost as if I’m putting myself on a pedestal and forcing those who I teach to look up to me. That kind of an approach has never worked in favor of those who are being taught no matter what discipline we look at – math, science or English – you name it! Why? First and foremost – it’s because the teacher is just showing off his or her superior skills and knowledge thus leaving the poor student in the same position where they were previously. (more…)
6 Types of Foreign English Speakers: Which One Are YOU?
Being a foreign English speaker is the common denominator of this blog’s audience. We’re not all the same, however. Some of us are living in our home countries. Some of us have emigrated to English speaking countries. Many of us have studied the English language at school. Most of us have a certain degree of oral fluency deficiency due to the nature of traditional English studies. A good few of us are hell-bent on grammar perfection. A certain number of us have bought into the myth of English fluency improvement via listening. In this article I’ve tried to put some structure on this blog’s audience because I’ve observed so many different types of foreign English speakers dropping into my blog over the years that I can say with the utmost certainty: “I know my average blog visitor pretty well!” (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that…”
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…)
Watch Breaking Bad If You Want to Improve Your American English!
English Idiomatic Expression: “To Go the Extra Mile”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdiXDxmdFGg Hello boys and girls! ;-) I haven’t posted any English idiomatic expression videos lately, so I figured why not record one and put it up on YouTube and on my blog so that you can learn something new! Today’s phrase is the following: TO GO THE EXTRA MILE and if you want to find out how it’s to be used in real life English conversations, please watch the video above. In this video I’m providing 3 examples of using this particular idiomatic expression, but obviously there’s a whole lot more ways of using it when communicating with other English speakers. The expression TO GO THE EXTRA MILE can be used whenever you want to describe someone making extra effort – if you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Walking another mile when you’ve already walked the entire way quite obviously involves some extra work, and apparently at some stage native English speakers started using this phrase to describe making extra effort in general. So, watch this video, do some spoken English practice with this expression in order to cement it into your brain, and if you’ve any questions in relation to this phrase – let me know in the comments section below! Cheers, Robby
How to Sell Your English Skills and Put On a Show Every Time You Speak
5 Ways International English Students Can Start Writing Like Natives
You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!
There was a time during this summer when I noticed my fluency wasn't what it used to be. Well, I would still speak very well, it’s just that I’d started spending more time on thinking of certain English words I wouldn’t be able to recall while having conversations with people which lead to more hesitation than normally. This wasn’t the end of the world situation for me – even after dealing with my severe fluency issues years ago I’d still experience a slump in my ability to speak without much thinking in English every now and then, and normally it would be gone in a day’s time or so. This time around, however, it was lasting for quite some time, and it got me thinking what was so different about all the various circumstances in my life and at work that would have made me go into this permanent mode of deteriorating fluency. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Let Me Draw Your Attention to The Fact That…”
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! Video Transcript Below: Hi guys! Hi boys and girls and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog. I welcome you to this video on this nice Sunday afternoon. However, let me draw your attention to the fact that it might not be a Sunday that this video is published on YouTube, simply because I tend to record a bunch of videos and then I publish them as I see fit, basically, right? And, if you notice that I used this phrase that we're going to be talking about today, “let me draw your attention to the fact”... I used it, previously, a couple of seconds ago there. And that was pretty much the first example scenario, how would you use it, right? It's simply to draw somebody's attention to a specific fact, right? And also, let me draw your attention to the fact that this phrase is somewhat more professional, formal, if you know what I mean. You wouldn't be, probably, using this phrase when chatting with your friends in a very, very informal setting, you know? You might use it, it won't hurt, you know? But, it's just that it's probably, typically used in a professional environment. Imagine giving a presentation, or giving a speech, and that's when you would use this phrase. But if you want to hear more example scenarios when this phrase is used, please bear with me for a few more moments and you will hear more from me, right? (more…)
Where I Source All These English Idiomatic Expressions?
Can You Learn American English by Learning American Phrases & Idioms?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAq0VluuoBo I recorded this video as a response to a comment I received today, and here’s the comment in question: Hey Robby, can you make a complete list of phrasal verbs, idioms and slang used in American English. I want this because I wanna learn American English. The question looks simple and straightforward enough, and instead of recording a lengthy video I could have just posted lists of American phrases just like these: American Phrases American English Phrases There is another dimension to this question, however, and it’s all got to do with what it actually means to LEARN AMERICAN ENGLISH. (more…)
Can’t Say a Word in English Because Of Embarrassment… Is That Normal?
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #37: YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dtTbuc2lLo Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Morning! Today’s American English phrase is YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you’re approaching a group of people with an intent to tell them some news. And by the way, this phrase is a typical example of how we can omit words in conversational English, and while some perfectionists will consider such a grammar construct a mistake, in reality it’s exactly how people are speaking in real life! Obviously, grammatically correct way of wording this phrase would be the following: “Have you guys heard about?” or “Did you guys hear about?” – depending on context. In real life conversations, however, native English speakers quite often omit the auxiliary verbs from the beginning of sentences, and the resulting sentence is something of a crossbreed between a question and a statement. And if you think about it, this phrase YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT? doesn’t even follow any English grammar rules! (more…)
Take Advantage of People Who Make You Really Fluent in English!
Many Native English Speakers Don’t Realize How HARD It Actually Is to Learn a Language!
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 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…)
2 Dictionary Websites You’ll Ever Need To Improve Your English
5 Memory Improvement Tips for Language Learners
As technology advanced and civilizations were allowed to record and externalize information, the art of memory lost its power. Many people complain that they have bad memory, forgetting that this amazing feature of the human brain can be trained. And the training is critical for language learners who need to memorize plenty of information regarding the grammar, syntax, or vocabulary of the language they're learning. Here are 5 smart memory improvement tips to help you in learning a new language! Take advantage of mnemonics The word “mnemonics” derives from Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory. A mnemonic is basically any device that helps to memorize a piece of information – for example, a verse or a formula. Memory isn't about repeating a fact until it's rammed into your brain. It relies on imagination. Learning and memory are both creative processes. When memorizing new pieces of information, you form connections between disparate acts to create something new. Make sure that the image you create stands out, that's how you'll remember it for the years to come. (more…)
Want Solid Proof that Spoken English Self-practice Works? Check This Out!
English Idiomatic Expression: “More often than not”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NvKWyKumZ24 Hello boys and girls on this beautiful Sunday evening! :grin: This is my last blog post of the week, and this time around let’s look at the following phrase: “More often than not”. To be honest with you guys, I’ve been meaning to record a video dedicated to this particular phrase for quite some time now, but somehow I never got around to it for some reason or another… Anyway, the phrase “more often than not” is a very handy way of referring to something that happens most of the time. You can use this phrase in the beginning, in the middle or in the very end of the sentence, and it’s also going to make your speech a bit more conversationally friendlier. (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Idiomatic Expression #14: IT STANDS TO REASON
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv7kr3EeaeA Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Hi my friends foreigners! :grin: Here’s my fourteenth American English phrase, and IT ONLY STANDS TO REASON I’ve started feeling a bit overwhelmed by this whole 50 American phrase mission for the simple reason that pretty much my entire time is taken up by video recording and editing! Now, the above sentence is probably going to merit some criticism by perfectionists because the word “reason” is repeated a couple of times in it. (more…)
Customer Support & Service Industry English Phrases
Personally I've been working in various service industry positions for the better part of my working life: Shop-assistant. Bartender. Technical Support Agent. Been there, done that! ;-) Having spent many years dealing with clients on a daily basis, I know only too well how important effective communication is when dealing with customers. Not to mention getting your job in the first place! I mean, do you think your future employer is going to hire you if your spoken English isn’t up to scratch and you don’t know how to greet your customer and ask them what they’d like you to do for them? Also, considering that many companies will put you on probation before offering you a permanent position, it only stands to reason you should show great English communication skills when it comes to dealing with people. After all, customers are the lifeblood of the company you represent, and your employer won’t hesitate hiring someone else if customers are struggling to understand you. If the customer service you provide isn't good enough, why would they keep you, right? So, would you like to brush up on your spoken English skills so that you can provide an outstanding customer service? Well, I’m going to give you plenty of useful English phrases so that you can read them, speak them out loud, memorize them and then use them at work :!: (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It Came to Light That…”
Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzs2YgGuwFk Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)
Don’t Learn Complicated English Tenses TOO Soon!
How to Speak During a Job Interview If You’re a Non-Native English Speaker
The truth of the matter is that most foreign English speakers want to improve their English in order to improve their chances of getting a better job or getting that long-wanted promotion in their current company. So, the chances are quite high that you also cherish such dreams of improving the quality of your professional life, and I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that you’d like to be prepared really, really well when going for your job interview! Also, if you’re competing against native English speakers for the position, you may want to make sure you don’t expose your weaknesses in terms of your overall English skills, and most importantly – you definitely want to make sure you’re able to showcase your personal profile, relevant qualifications and past experience without any hiccups during the job interview. Now, do you think you don’t stand a chance of getting that job you desire if: You sometimes get stuck for words when speaking in English; Using the right English tenses during a conversation sometimes presents problems for you; You don’t know how to sound professional during important events such as job interviews and meetings? Don’t worry! In this and the next few articles dedicated to job seeking for non-native English speakers I’m going to provide killer tips for you that will see to your job seeking goals and make sure you put on a great show during the job interview! ;-) (more…)
Why I Love “GONE” Series & Why It’s the Perfect English Fiction for Foreign English Speakers
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0VtnoBbUGU Currently I’m on the second GONE series book called HUNGER and I have to tell you, my fellow foreign English speaker, that these books are simply amazing! It’s typical dystopian fiction – except for the fact that it’s set in these days as opposed to the future – and it depicts life without adults. Anyone over the age of 15 has simply gone, and kids are left to their own devices to figure out what’s happening and also to figure out how to run the society where there aren’t any services available – such as medical, food production & distribution and so on. Now, remember your own childhood. You surely wished at some stage that you’d be left alone to do as you wish and no adult would tell you what to do? Well, GONE series is a perfect way of re-living that fantasy! You’ll be able to experience all the joys and also downsides of what such an adult-free life would bring through the main characters of the books – Sam, Astrid, Edilio and plenty of other mutants and also normal children. (more…)