This English Stuff Is Too Easy, Give Me Something More Difficult!
The English Language is Multidimensional Indeed!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Which Brings Us To The Next Point”
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…)
Power of Memorizing English Sentences, Paragraphs and even Poems!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71b8GJkxHKM The traditional English teaching methods mostly rely upon grammar studies whereby the student is required to learn grammar rules. Next step is to learn new English vocabulary and then construct sentences by a way of sticking words together and applying grammar rules at the same time. Here at English Harmony we all know by now that such methods are ineffective to say the least; most foreigners never learn to speak fluent English because they try and construct sentences in their head instead of simply MEMORIZING NATURAL ENGLISH SPEECH PATTERNS. Memorization is the most natural way of acquiring a language, and while some people may think it’s too robotic and you don’t really learn anything because of the lack of analysis – here’s the deal: Analysis actually hampers your progress! (more…)
You Should ACT Rather Than REACT During English Conversations!
How To Always Maintain Fluent English
First of all (and probably most importantly!) – always have a successful mindset! :!: This is absolutely crucial if you want to succeed with achieving English fluency. When you think positive and don’t allow little mistakes and failures during your speech irritate and annoy you, you’re already one step closer to improving your spoken English! When you worry you self-program yourself in a subconscious level that you speak poorly and that creates a vicious circle that is very hard to quit. It is difficult to maintain a positive outlook on something that is an issue for you, there’s no doubt about that. However, you must try. Let it go. Don’t reproach yourself and don’t start frantically thinking – what’s wrong, what’s wrong with me? The first thing you have to program in your mind instead is – I KNOW that I CAN speak very well, and I don’t allow anyone and anything make me feel embarrassed when I speak English! Once you’ve programmed yourself that way you have done some 30% of the job! The next thing you have to do to make your English speech more natural and easy - forget about words you have to force yourself to look up in your virtual vocabulary. Most of them will be some difficult words you’ve learnt by memorizing. You can learn hundreds of words by heart but when it comes to a real life chat – we can’t just speak those words out because they haven’t been learnt as a part of a live language. In fact the language doesn’t consist of words – it consists of word combinations! When a natural English speaker says: “How could you do that to me?” he doesn’t think about the separate words making up the sentence and how to stick them together. The whole sentence comes into parts – “how could you”, and “do that to me”. These things have been heard in the very childhood when mom told her child “How could you?” and the child’s mind memorizes the whole thing as one – “howcouldyou”. When we, non-native English speakers speak English, we tend more to think about the things before we speak them out, we organize them into our mind, unwillingly translate from our native language (here I’m talking about us who haven’t learn the language the natural way and experience lack of English fluency!). This is why it is very important to learn new words as part of a live conversation. I’m not telling here that all the vocabulary you have learnt by self-studies is useless, of course, it isn’t. Your mind is going to put everything in its places and the more time you spend in an English environment, the better the words will settle in your consciousness and will be associated with an abstract meaning rather than with a word from your own language. What I’m telling is that while you experience the English fluency problem stick with simpler words which don’t require much of your will to speak out and don’t give a damn about how simply it sounds and what others might think about you. So – when speaking English, feel completely free to use “go up” instead of “increase” and “drop” instead of “reduced”. By the way, it sometimes is quite surprising how simply some things can be said by a natural English speaker! At work on many occasions the e-mails sent by my Irish boss sound as if written by a non-national worker and vice versa. Remember it and never feel embarrassed when choosing a simple way to explain something. The two things mentioned above are very important if you really want to improve your English fluency! :!: Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
What Happens When You Don’t Learn English Contextually?
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #25: I JUST…, IS ALL!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ztvsgZl1L8 Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Hello my friends! Yesterday I published the second video where I’m using multiple phrases in a single spoken English self-practice session, and this time around I did phrases 13 through to 24 which forms the second set of dozen phrases out of my 50 American Phrase Acquisition Mission. Now I’m ready to move on, and let me introduce you to the phrase number 25 which is somewhat unusual: I JUST…, IS ALL! So, in what situations can you possibly use this colloquial expression? (more…)
English Teacher Destroys Student Confidence by Scolding Them? It’s Unacceptable!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4dXcUqnjKc This video is a response to one of my blog readers’ e-mails, and he’s painting a pretty dire picture of his English class! Their English teacher makes them read a paragraph out of their textbooks and then the students are required to retell the story using their own words. It’s all nice and well up to the point where she starts scolding those students who are struggling with verbalizing their thoughts :!: IT IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE! What she’s doing is the following: she’s taking a brilliant English fluency improving tool – retelling stories (read more about it in this blog post) – and then she turns it into a confidence destroying machine! It’s mad. As a teaching professional, she’s actually supposed to do the VERY OPPOSITE: (more…)
Shocking: Native English Speakers Don’t Always Spot Your Mistakes!
I’m actually tired of repeating the same thing in nearly every blog post but it’s so important that I just can’t help pointing it out once more – you shouldn’t be so conscious of your mistakes made when speaking English! Today I’m going to provide another good reason as to why you shouldn’t be so stressed out when the inevitable happens and you catch yourself having said something weird – be it a wrong word, a wrong grammar Tense or a wrong word combination. So, the reason is the following – when you converse with a native English speaker, they will actually miss many of your mistakes, so your English speech won’t actually sound anywhere near as bad as you think :!: So if you have a tendency to hesitate and struggle for the rightwords to say and eventually get some of them wrong, don’t be overly concerned about what your conversation partner thinks of your level of English – many of those small mistakes will pass unnoticed. But in case if you’re wandering how I can be so sure about making such a claim – after all I’m a foreign English speaker and not a native one – here’s the reason. It’s because I’ve actually asked many of my native English speaking work colleagues what they think of my spoken English level on my bad English days and on many occasions they didn’t have a clue what bad English I was talking about! You see, sometimes when I’m having a down period in terms of English fluency, I struggle a little bit to put my thoughts into words. Over time my fluency has gone up big time because it inevitably happens with anyone living in an English speaking environment, but still I have days when I just can’t perform at a 100% of my ability. So whenever I drop the question to any of my native English speaking colleagues – “By the way, have you noticed that today I keep struggling to find the right words to say and I hesitate all the time?” – their response is pretty much the same – “Well… Not really!” (more…)
80/20 Rule – You Have To Be Selective About What You Learn!
Have You Ever Thought About Your MOUTH As a MUSCLE?
How many years have you been working on your English? Two? Five? Ten? Guess what – I’ve been receiving e-mails from folks having been trying to achieve English fluency for TWENTY YEARS to no avail :!: And I can see exactly why it’s happening – the heck, years ago I was among those struggling English speakers myself! – it’s because most foreign English speakers don’t perceive their mouth as a muscle. Are you confused? What I mean by saying – perceive their mouth as a muscle? Well, it’s EXACTLY what I mean – your mouth for you as a foreign English speaker is just like muscles for a bodybuilder or just about any other athlete or indeed for any person on this planet who’s using their body to move their arms and legs to lift things and move around. You’re using your mouth to produce English words, phrases and sentences in order to communicate with other English speakers, and there’s actual body movement involved in every step of the way – your lips, tongue, jaws and a whole array of facial muscles are actively involved to help you with the task! (more…)
Passive English Immersion is Good for Keeping Your Vocab Refreshed
English Idiomatic Expression: “The Fact of The Matter Is That…”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSOdpUeFEkU 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! Hello boys and girls! In today’s video you’ll learn how to use the following English idiomatic expression: THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT… And the fact of the matter is that a week ago I published a video about quite a similar English idiomatic expression “as a matter of fact” - but please don’t confuse the two! While AS A MATTER OF FACT can be used as a replacement phrase for the word “actually”, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS THAT is used in a different way. You could say that it means pretty much the same thing as the phrase “Here’s the thing”, but if you want to learn more about using it – please watch the video above! Cheers, Robby ;-)
English Fiction Books I’m Going to Read Before I Die (Kick the Bucket)!
You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!
Who’s Your English Good Luck Charm?
Are there certain English speaking people who you seem to be unable to speak with fluently? Does it feel like those people are actually triggering the ‘writing mode’ of your mind whereby you start stuttering and preparing your speech in your head prior to speaking out loud thus making it totally unnatural? Well, it’s nothing unusual! It’s happened to me on countless occasions, and even though now I’m over the very severe ‘writing mode’ symptoms, I would experience moments when I can’t speak at 100% of my ability with a particular person. Sometimes, however, quite the opposite happens, and my English fluency literally opens up when speaking with a particular person. It’s as if THAT PERSON IS MY GOOD LUCK CHARM and my English fluency issues simply can’t do me any harm because I’m protected by that person! I know it sounds far-fetched, and I fully understand that in real terms there’s nothing to prevent me from speaking fluently with any English speaking person in the world. When I speak, it’s ME who speaks after all, so why would another person’s presence have such a massive positive or negative effect on my fluency, isn’t that right? In real life, however, people you communicate with DO play quite a significant role in the way you can perform in terms of using the right means of expression and also your overall fluency. Some have a negative, but some have a very positive effect on your spoken English – just like my mortgage advisor, for example! (more…)
Is it OK to Pretend to Understand What an English Speaker Says When You Don’t?
The other day one of my Irish workmates was telling me a joke. He started off speaking the way he normally does and I could easily make out what he was saying. After all – I’ve spent nearly ten years in Ireland and by now I’ve managed to understand different regional accents and also different types of speech – muffled, very fast, with word endings dropped and so on. It’s not always possible, however, to understand native English speakers, especially when they throw in some slang words and expressions you haven’t heard being used before, and the indistinct speech makes it every harder to figure out what they’re saying :!: As you can imagine, I had to pretend that I got the joke my workmate Louis was telling me and I just gave a short laugh as a sign that his joke was really good… Please, don’t blame me! I know that it’s not quite right to pretend to understand what native English speakers tell you because you run the risk of making a fool of yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t pretend regardless of the speaker’s national background. It should never be a problem to admit that you didn’t get what was being said, even if it’s another foreigner trying to explain you something! You see, denial originates in fear of being perceived as a poor English speaker, but then you can get yourself in even more embarrassing situations trying to conceal the fact that you didn’t understand something. Admitting the truth almost always pays and you should treat such moments very casually; don’t make a big deal out of them. If you radiate confidence, few people will ever think of associating the fact that you asked them to repeat what they just said or to explain what they meant with bad language skills. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to end the conversation quickly and avoid discussing the same topic, it might give an impression of someone who’s not very comfortable using the English language. So how do you know when you should definitely tell your conversation partner to repeat what they just said or say it slower and when it’s OK to pretend you understood them? (more…)
7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking
Why So Many Foreigners CAN’T Speak Fluent English?
Are you a foreign English speaker? Is your overall English knowledge very good but you struggle to speak English fluently and sometimes you even get stuck for words in the middle of a conversation? Then you may be suffering from the so-called ‘writing mode’ syndrome which is widespread among those foreigners who’ve spent long years learning and studying English mainly by reading and writing! What happens when you spend most of your time learning grammar and filling in gaps in textbooks is the following: your brain gets used to constructing sentences by carefully picking the right English words and arranging them according to grammar rules. It works perfectly when sitting English exams and doing written tests, but when speaking with real people in real life, your mind works in the same ‘writing mode’ and it can’t keep up with the speed of a natural conversation! Lots of English reading won’t help to fix this problem either simply because it builds your passive vocabulary, but when you speak, you utilize your active vocabulary which consists of words, phrases and sentences you can speak without much effort – they have to come out of your mouth by themselves! Are you eager to find out how to make the transition from this terrible ‘writing mode’ into a ‘speaking mode’ and stop preparing speech in your head all the time? (more…)
Just Because You Have English Textbooks Doesn’t Mean You Possess That Knowledge!
Funny English Phrases: Discussing Relationships
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6G2ecxdObN4 Are you YearOfEnglish.com member? If not – you still have a chance to subscribe to that website HERE and receive various English fluency improvement related information tips in your e-mail till the end of this year! If yes – you’re welcome to watch the funny English phrase video above I’ve prepared for you! This time around I've stuffed the video full with phrases that might come in handy when you discuss your relationship with a friend of yours. Yes, I know it’s not good to talk about people behind their back – especially if the person in question is your partner, girlfriend or spouse. Still, it’s one of the things people do when they’ve had a bad day at home and they want to unwind – they meet up with their friends and share those experiences with them… After all – what are friends meant for?! :grin: (more…)
FGC Goal #1: Using American Phrases 25 – 38 in a Self-Practice Session
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZloj4PWjFQ Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Hi Boys and Girls! I’m almost 4/5 through the mission to learn 50 new American English expressions, and since the last video I published ten days ago I’ve added another 14 expressions onto my active vocab, here they are: I JUST…, IS ALL! TO DRAW A BLANK CALL BS ON… GO SEE/WATCH/DO SOMETHING… RUN THROUGH A LAUNDRY LIST OF… TRY + AND + VERB YOU THINK YOU’RE SUCH A BIG DEAL? GO OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY AT LOOSE ENDS To FALL OUT OF Use COME + VERB GET PAST THE FACT THAT… YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT? WHAT FELT LIKE… You’re welcome to watch the video above where I’m using all these phrases in a spoken English self-practice session, and I hope you’ll be also trying to copy what I do and apply onto your own spoken English practice! And by the way, here’s the Activity Sheet for today’s spoken English practice session: (more…)
Best Tricks to Practice Your English Language with Native Speakers For Free
Hello English language learners! As you probably discovered during your studies, native speakers are the best way to build fluency, learn pronunciation, gestures, and receive more benefits compared to studying with other learners. Whether you’ve started learning a couple of months ago or you already can show off your language skills to native speakers, choosing this option is the best way to advance quickly. But what if you’re struggling to find native speakers in your city? How can one find them and ask for practice? Don’t worry, there are plenty of great opportunities you can take advantage of to get in touch with English native speakers. They are presented below (all of them are free!). (more…)
30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 21- Busy!!!
You Don’t Have to Know a SINGLE Grammar Rule to Speak Fluent English!
In this article, you’re going to find out: Why English grammar ISN’T necessary to speak fluent English; Why the most complicated grammar constructs are actually quite SIMPLE; How to use your brain’s natural ability to absorb grammatically correct speech patterns without analyzing them; How to use all the above to improve your spoken English! I know for a fact that many of you, my non-native English speaking friends, are struggling with English grammar. You’ve been studying grammar for YEARS only to discover that it doesn’t really help you speak fluently. YET you’re sticking with it. You’re hoping that there will be a point in time where you start speaking fluently once a significant amount of English grammar has been acquired. But guess what? Such a time will never come :!: Read about my 5 year long journey to English fluency HERE to see that the moment I STOPPED caring about grammar was the moment I started speaking fluent English. And keep reading this article to see WHY you don’t have to know formal English grammar rules in order to speak fluently ;-) (more…)
Self-correction – an Integral Part of Your Spoken English Improvement Routine
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.
13 Music Idioms- Learning with Theme
I love music, who doesn’t? Isn’t it? It has a soothing and healing power which helps us relax and free our mind from the worldly negativity. It also has served as a universal language between people, which could not be restricted by the boundaries of a nation or religion. (more…)