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!

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Confusing English Grammar: “Roast” vs “Roasted” Chicken – Can We Use Verb Base Form as an Adjective?

Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! It was almost 5 years ago when I published an article about using past participles as adjectives – a typical example of that would be the following statement “the job is done”. Prior to that I was constantly struggling to wrap my head around that concept, the reason being – I couldn’t figure out why there’s two ways of saying the same thing – “the job is done” and “the job has been done”. Initially I just presumed “the job is done” is just a conversational version of “the job has been done”, but soon enough I realized that when you say “the job is done”, you simply use the word “done” as an adjective! It’s pretty much the same way you can say “good job”, but you just use the linking verb “is” to express the idea – “the job is good.” Today’s topic is somewhat similar in that the role of an adjective isn’t only limited to a past participle form of a verb, it can be the very base form of the verb itself! Just like you read in the title of this article, the word “roast” (it’s the base form of the verb “to roast”) can be used instead of the past participle “roasted” to describe the roasted nature of the chicken, thus “roast chicken” is a totally valid English collocation. Hell, collocations such as “roast chicken” and “roast potatoes” are even MORE popular among native English speakers than “roasted chicken” or “roasted potatoes” which may be very confusing to a lot of foreign English speakers! I mean – once you’ve gotten used to the traditional way of describing nouns by using the past participle: Cancelled concert Forgotten purse Lost child … you may think that this rule applies in all situations, so when you come across a collocation such as “open book”, you may get totally confused… (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…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 9- Debating

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 doing today? Welcome back to another chapter of our "Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course" where you'll learn some new vocabulary daily with context and examples so as to improve your overall natural fluency and sound more natural. (more…)

English Idiom: “To Your Heart’s Content”

FREE eBook – Practical English Grammar!

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#af-form-2014040194{display:block;} #af-form-2014040194{overflow:hidden;} .af-body .af-textWrap{text-align:left;} .af-body input.image{border:none!important;} .af-body input.submit,.af-body input.image,.af-form .af-element input.button{float:none!important;} .af-body input.text{width:100%;float:none;padding:2px!important;} .af-body.af-standards input.submit{padding:4px 12px;} .af-clear{clear:both;} .af-element label{text-align:left;display:block;float:left;} .af-element{padding:5px 0;} .af-form-wrapper{text-indent:0;} .af-form{text-align:left;margin:auto;} .af-header,.af-footer{margin-bottom:0;margin-top:0;padding:10px;} .af-quirksMode .af-element{padding-left:0!important;padding-right:0!important;} .lbl-right .af-element label{text-align:right;} body { }   Your Name: Your Email: Your e-mail will never be sold or rented to a third party. I hate spam as much as you do and I'll contact you only to send news about improving English fluency! Right after the request you’ll receive an e-mail with a confirmation link which will bring you straight to the download page. And here’s the good news – you can read this eBook on your computer or laptop as a PDF file, you'll get a MOBI version of it in case you have a Kindle eBook reader, but if you have an iPad - you can make use of the EPUB file! Bear in mind, my fellow foreigners, that this isn’t your traditional English grammar reference book or textbook :!: This “Practical English Grammar” eBook contains my own observations, analysis and interpretation of how English grammar is sometimes much different in real life than we expect it to be, and instead of having this “why would I speak like that, it’s not what my English teacher taught me!” attitude, I’m suggesting you to make it easier for yourself to speak English by speaking exactly like native English speakers speak! There are twelve chapters in the eBook covering aspects of English Grammar that you wouldn’t have probably even heard of – such as how to substitute Present Simple Tense for Present Continuous Tense in order to sound more natural and friendly - yet they’re very relevant for us, foreigners! And don’t worry, I’m not being very technical in the eBook and I’m not using very specific English Grammar related terms. All you need to know is what the Past Perfect Tense is and what GOING TO + Infinitive Future form is and you’ll understand everything I’m writing in the “Practical English Grammar” eBook! ;-) Wishing your Happy Reading, Robby

11 Sports Idioms – Learning with Theme!

Topics For Practising Spoken English

You don't have anyone to talk to in English? Don't despair! You can actually practice spoken English with yourself! Does it sound weird to you? Well, it's not as bad as you initially thought! Image this - when you're taking shower in the morning, or walking your dog - you're on your own and as far as no-one is close by - you're perfectly fine talking with yourself! And by the way - it's a great way of organizing your thoughts and improving spoken English at the same time! So here are a few topics you can use if you don't know what you can chat with yourself about!  Talk about what you have done by now since the moment you woke up in the morning. Remember all the events that have happened to you – how you were driving or went by bus to work, what happened on the way – if you saw some interesting person, if there were new road works on the way. Talk about the weather this morning – if it’s nice or rainy and how you feel about it.  Plan your day – this is actually a good moment to remember everything you have to do during the forthcoming day! Make an appointment to the doctor, call to the bank about rejected direct debit from you electricity company, write an e-mail to your boss asking about your holidays, book airplane tickets – there’s always more or less to do everyday! While going through the list you can talk about those things in detail and predict how the events are likely going to evolve and how you’ll act.  Recall pleasant events from your past – your childhood, your teenage years and go through them. You’ll be amazed how many long forgotten things you can bring up in your memory! And the excitement is going to heal the English speaking issue as well – your speech will become more fluent as a result. Remember your school friends you haven’t seen a long time and all the mischievous things you’ve done together – crazy college years…  If you’re going for a meeting with someone - speak with yourself about the main points of the conversation. By doing so you’ll be better prepared for the real talk. Is it an interview, a meeting, or just a talk to your boss – it is always good to be prepared and now the main points.  Analyze your feelings at this moment – are you happy? Are you sad? Are you excited? What made you feel so? A number of things are going to appear in the process to talk about and maybe you’ll settle some issue eventually! Act like a psychologist for yourself! Try to tell yourself that after all there’s no point of being annoyed about something you cannot change and make your mind brighter.  Talk about the latest movie you’ve seen or the book you’ve read. Go through the events and describe them in detail – this is another powerful tool if it seems to you that there’s nothing to talk about.  After some entertaining night out or weekend trip to somewhere you’ll have plenty of things to remember – whether you met new people, something interesting happened, or you got into a funny situation.  If you have a relationship you can talk about your partner – remember all the good and the bad things you’ve been through together, think about how important he or she is to you and if you had a row the night before – think about who was right and who was wrong and what’s going to happen when you return home in the evening. Robby P.S. Are you ready to get on the fast track to spoken English fluency? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

English Schwa Sound [ə] – What It Is & How To Get It Right!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTLJ_wsD0-w There was a time when I didn’t have a clue what the “schwa” [ə] sound was. I’d heard people say this strange word – “SCHWA” – and it got me thinking “What the hell are they talking about?! It must be something quite complicated because it sounds smart…” As is often the case though, the seemingly complicated matter turned out to be a very simple thing – the “schwa” [ə] sound is nothing more than an unstressed vowel sound which occurs in A LOT of English words: About [əˈbaut] Bank account [bæŋk əkaunt] I don’t know what to do! [ˈaɪ ˈdount ˈnou ˈhwat tə duː] Can you help me? [kən ju ˈhelp ˈmiː] So far so good, right? Well, turns out it’s not all that simple! ;-) There are a lot of languages in the world, and it’s not that easy for everyone to get the schwa sound just right. Recently, for example, I received a comment by one of my blog commentators Juhapekka in which he raises concerns over pronouncing the English schwa sound while being a Finnish speaker himself. (more…)

How Do I Force Myself Into Reading English Fiction?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZ7YTb98ewc

How to Reduce Clauses to Phrases in English Sentences

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

English Fiction Books I’m Going to Read Before I Die (Kick the Bucket)!

3 Big Reasons Why the English Language is More Relevant Than Ever!

Whether we like it or not, I think at this stage we have to admit that there’s no denying the importance of the English language. It started spreading around the world with the onset of the British Empire, and as it currently stands, it’s the lingua franca of the world. (more…)

11 Things English Fluency Has Given Me

Now that I can communicate in English with ease, I take everything that comes with it for granted. Looking back in time, however, I can clearly see that many aspects of my life in an English speaking country AND my personal life in general weren’t as fulfilled as these days. Even such a simple task as asking for price of roast chicken in a supermarket would make my heart race with the prospect of stuttering and not being understood properly! :mad: Here’s a list I came up with when trying to list as many advantages of being a fluent English speaker as I possibly could. The list is not exhaustive by any means, but it does paint a pretty clear picture of what an average foreign English speaker can achieve when possessing good English communication skills! And please don’t get me wrong – I didn’t create this list to brag about my fluency and make those who haven’t achieved it yet, feel bad about themselves. This list is rather intended to serve as a reminder of what awaits you at some stage in the future IF you’re among those foreigners still struggling with fluency! (more…)

Shame Is The Enemy #1 Of All Foreign English Speakers!

Here’s how to improve your spoken English when reading this article: read it out loud, then read out loud the collocations highlighted in red 10 times each to memorize them, then look away from the monitor and try and say 3 sample sentences for each of those collocations! For best results record your speech so that you can go back, spot any mistakes you might have made, and then do some more spoken English practice by correcting yourself! How many times you HAVEN’T SAID something in English because you’ve been ashamed? I bet it’s too many to count, my friend foreign English speaker, and that’s the prime reason why your fluency isn’t at the level you’d like it to be. Well, of course, it could be the case that you’re quite happy with your level of English fluency, but the chances are – if that were the case, you wouldn’t be reading this blog, am I not right? Anyway, let’s not get side-tracked from the main subject which is all about being ashamed of your level of English and NOT speaking enough. Imagine the following scenario. Two foreign English speakers move to an English speaking country, take up jobs and settle down to live in that country for a good few years. The first foreigner takes every opportunity to open his mouth and say something in English. Every time his boss, co-workers or customers ask him something, he always tries to say something extra, something to keep the conversation going. And he also doesn’t miss a chance to start a chat with others. Now, the second foreigner is also doing alright, however, unlike the first one, he will only say the bare minimum that people ask him. He will never start a conversation, will never say anything extra, and it’s all because he’s ashamed of making mistakes and sounding stupid. You think the first foreigner isn’t making any mistakes? Oh boy, of course he is! We all do, it’s an integral part of being a foreign English speaker – you are bound to make lots of mistakes before achieving a decent level of fluency. Yet, the first guy just DOESN’T CARE. (more…)

Start Using English Contractions If You Haven’t Already Done So!

SUPER Important for English Fluency: SLOW Down Your Speech!

I can’t stress enough how important it is NOT to try and speak very fast! I’ve been doing it myself for a long, long time – mostly to impress others and HERE you can read why trying to impress others is a really stupid idea. You know yourself how it goes – you’re speaking with someone and you want the other person to feel how good your English is. It’s as if you are COMPELLED to speak as fast as native English speakers, which is also a very stupid idea on two accounts: First – people will notice that you’re a foreigner ANYWAY, Second – you should NEVER COMPARE your English with that of others because it will always make you feel inadequate! I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that speaking too fast is one of the BIGGEST mistakes all foreign English speakers are making all over the world :!: It’s the reason #1 why non-native speakers get stuck for words in English. It’s the reason #1 why we mispronounce words when speaking in English. And it’s the reason #1 why we think we suck at speaking in English. The solution to this issue is quite obvious, as a matter of fact – it’s staring right in your face: SLOW YOUR SPEECH DOWN! In real life, however, it’s easier said than done. Unless someone tells you: “Hey, just slow down a bit and you’ll be able to speak so much more fluently!”, for some strange reason you’re unable to figure it out for yourself. And even when you know you should be speaking slower, you still catch yourself trying to speak faster than your natural ability allows you. It’s like a vicious circle that you find very, very hard to get out of. So, keep reading this article and you’ll learn: Why you’re trying to speak in English very fast; Why fast speech is very detrimental to your fluency; What you can do to overcome this problem! (more…)

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

Should We Make Sure Everything We Say Is Grammatically Super-correct? My Opinion on Correct English!

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, it's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video we're going to discuss the correctness of the English language. And the fact of the matter is that there's so many things that we say in our English conversations that would be considered as incorrect if we went by the textbook English grammar rules. And if you paid particular attention to the last sentence - I said something incorrectly! I said “there's so many things” whereas in reality I should have said “there are so many things” because the noun “things” obviously is in plural in this case so the verb “to be” should have been conjugated to reflect that, I should have said “there are so many things”. And this is just one of those examples where something that's incorrect, it has been accepted in the general public and everyone speaks like that and there's nothing wrong with it. So it begs the question and as a matter of fact this particular phrase “it begs the question – to beg a question” has also been criticized as being incorrect English, right? In reality we should say “it raises a question”. But this phrase “it begs a question” is also used by everyone. And I would say that it actually makes it correct. (more…)

30-Day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 3- Traffic

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")); Hello, my dear friends out there, How are you doing today? (more…)

Have You Ever Thought of Having a CPU Implanted into Your Brain? Read S. J. Kincaid’s INSIGNIA!

Hello my fellow foreign English speaker! This is the first English fiction review article on this blog, and so it happens that it’s a sci-fi adventure book with a brand new concept I’d never EVER heard of before! This is the Right Book 4 U if… … you’re a foreign English speaker wanting to start reading English fiction. This would make a perfect first English fiction book for you, and even though you might have to look up certain words on a dictionary website or thesaurus, by and large it’s written using plain language. … you’re a sci-fi fan. Concepts described in this novel are quite unique, and you’ll find yourself intrigued – especially in the first part of the novel. … you’re a gamer. The main character in this book is a teenage boy named Tom and he’s brilliant at playing games. If you share his passion for gaming, this might be the only book you’ll actually ever want to read! … you like conspiracy theories. Do you believe in Illuminati and the New World Order (NOW)? Then you’ll find this particular novel to your liking because it depicts a world governed by gigantic corporations forcing people to buy their products and services while the political scene is dominated by a war waged in the outer space between the two main blocks of countries – Indo-American and Russo-Chinese. (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “In question”

“Can’t Improve English Because I Live in Non-English Speaking Country…” is Often Just an EXCUSE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MbvfrM4T8Q I’ve been living in an English speaking country for more than 11 years, and I’ve been speaking fluent English for more than 6 out of those 11 years. It took me 5 years to achieve fluency, and looking back at it now I can clearly see what I was doing wrong and was I was doing right to realize my dream. Did I become a fluent English speaker because of constantly speaking with others? Nope. I’ve always been working on my English without any need for others. Did I achieve English fluency by virtue of residence in an English speaking country? Nope. I’d been constantly learning the English language way before the idea of emigration was even conceived! Was moving to an English speaking country the single biggest reason why I was able to improve my English to a level where I’m very comfortable with my own speech? Yes, but not for the reasons you may think. It didn’t happen because I found myself in an English speaking society, and that would somehow magically result in me picking up the English language. The heck, there are a lot of foreigners living down here who spend all their time in their own language bubble and don’t even try to improve their English! (more…)

Why Reading an English Newspaper is 100 Times Better than Studying a Grammar Workbook

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…)

Memorizing Grammar Rules to Get a Promotion? How Crazy is That?!

Back in the day when I was still naïve and thought that learning plenty of English grammar rules would avail of increased fluency, I used to dedicate a significant amount of time to re-reading all those grammar rules and memorizing them off by heart. I mean – I was actually MEMORIZING the grammar rules like a POEM! Here’s an example: When to use the indefinite article “a”: With nouns in singular only First mention with countable nouns In predicate with the verb “to be” Instead of “every” I won’t list the rest of the stipulations on when the indefinite article is used because this is just an example of what I used to memorize so that you get the drift of what I’m saying here. Basically I would memorize LONG LISTS of stipulations and example sentences describing specific aspects of English grammar and I was hoping that when I know them all, I’d become a fluent English speaker. I was even hoping that this exercise would help me get a promotion in the job I had at the time! (more…)