3 Situations When It Might Be Easier For You To Speak in English With Your Fellow Foreigners
Some time ago I published an article called “5 Reasons Why It’s Easier To Speak With Native English Speakers Than Other Foreigners”. In today’s article I’m going to look at reasons why on certain occasions it might be actually easier to speak in English with another foreigner :!: As I already pointed out in the first article – on most occasions it’s all a matter of perspective. All other things being equal – such as your level of English fluency, language comprehension etc. – you may feel more comfortable speaking with another foreigner simply because you’re not ashamed of saying something wrong (which inevitably happens during any conversation). Or it also could be that you spend most of your time working in an international team, and speaking with native English speakers is an exception rather than a rule. "It is mostly our OWN mental inhibitions that make us favor conversations with natives or foreigners!" And of course – it varies from person to person a great deal! While you mightn't have any problems chatting with your native English speaking work colleague, your supervisor might be giving you the creeps and you always stutter and find it difficult to explain yourself in his or her presence. Anyway, here are the 3 situations when you may find it easier to speak with your fellow foreign English speaker instead of a native speaker. Enjoy! ;-) (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “You better make sure to”
Your English Is NEVER Too Bad For Your Career Development!
Story About Not Being Able to Speak in English in the Morning and Speaking 100% FLUENTLY in the Afternoon!
I woke up on a Thursday morning. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for some reason or another, and I wasn’t feeling as energetic and ready to roll as usually. I poured my morning coffee and started dealing with Fluency Gym Coach Program customers’ queries in my inbox, but I was too exhausted to do any spoken English practice which is how I’d normally start my day. To cut a long story short, when I’d driven to work, entered the premises and got engaged in my work related activities, I hadn’t uttered a single word in English for the simple reason that I was really tired and I just didn’t want to do any spoken self-practice at all… Normally I would speak with myself in the car while driving to work in order to get my English speech going, but this particular morning was an exception. And I think it would be fair to say that I hadn’t actually spoken at all – even in my native Latvian - because all I’d said was a couple words to my daughters while dropping them off to school that morning. Anyway, shortly after starting work my boss walked up to me and asked where my work colleague was (he wasn’t aware he’d taken half a day off). I opened my mouth to provide the answer (which was not only the first verbal human contact for me that day but also the first English word SPOKEN that day!) and I realized to my dismay that I could barely put my thoughts into the right words… (more…)
English Vocabulary Building – Part 3
Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 2 How are you getting on, foreign English speaker? Have you heeded to my advice from the previous videos? I hope you have because if you’re still experiencing difficulties with speaking English fluently, you have to take action. Just by standing by and hoping the things will improve achieves nothing, so today I’ll be telling you about the third aspect of building your English vocabulary. And it’s about not learning many meanings of the same word at once – believe me, if you do it, the chances of memorizing and using that particular word are slim indeed! ;-) I can tell you from my own experience that if you write down a new English word in your dictionary that has a number of different meanings; it’s a very bad idea to try memorizing them all at once. And taking into account that most of English words do have a number of meanings, you might be very tempted to learn a few of them at once assuming that this way you’ll increase your learning curve. But it just doesn’t work that way, and here’s why. (more…)
What Books Would You Suggest to Improve My Spoken English?
You Should ACT Rather Than REACT During English Conversations!
I’m pretty sure that you can remember having a conversation with another English speaker during which you felt quite insecure and didn’t quite know what to say when responding to the other person’s questions – or maybe the other person didn’t even ask you anything and did all the talking themselves! Here’s what would typically happen during such conversations. “Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” (this is the other person initiating the conversation) “Ah, well, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking, and how are you?” “I’m all right, I’ve got the Monday blues all right, but what can you do when you have to bring another paycheck home at the end of the week, isn’t that right? Anyway, I went to see the football game on Saturday – the Falcons where taking on the Giants and you’d never guess who won the game! The Falcons had to beat the Giants to end their losing streak so they were giving it all they had, but then suddenly…” – and your conversation partner just goes on and on and on… … and you’re just left wondering when YOU are going to get a chance to say something! Personally I wouldn’t even call this type of one-way communication a conversation – it’s just one person’s MONOLOGUE and you’re a passive listener, nothing more. I warmly suggest you take matters into your own hands and make the conversation sound something like this: “Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” “Hi John, not too bad actually!” “That’s good, yeah… Listen, I went to see this football game on Saturday…” “Hey John, sorry, but I’m not really into football! Ice-hockey is what I prefer, and my team is having a really good run this season! The Rangers, on the other hand, are performing really badly unfortunately – my son roots for them and while I’m happy Boston Bruins are at the top of the league, I don’t like being too enthusiastic about it because it makes him unhappy!” Now, did you see what happened here? YOU became the one who delivers the speech, and John had to listen to what YOU are saying instead of making you listen to what he wants to say! Obviously I’m not trying to say that you should interrupt everyone who starts telling you something, I hope you realize this was an exaggerated example to make you understand one thing: If you only REACT during English conversations and allow other people to adopt the leading role, you’ll never get a chance to speak and develop your fluency! Be more daring :!: Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say – even if the other person mightn’t be really interested in it! (more…)
English Grammar is Like the HTML Code
Is It Possible to Be Fluent without Knowing Grammar?
Aspiration to become a fluent English speaker is what brought you to my blog, isn't that right? Then let me take a wild guess - at least at some point in your pursuit after English fluency you've been engaged in a lot of English grammar studies, am I now right? Well, in reality you don't need to be a grammar genius to speak English fluently. First of all, only a few grammar Tenses are actually used in real life conversations. Secondly - phrases and expressions constitute large amount of spoken English. And thirdly... Well - watch this video to hear everything for yourself! Stay fluent, Robby ;-)
Written English is from Venus, Spoken English – from Mars!
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #16: I’VE HAD A RUN-IN WITH…
How I Said “Check” Instead of “Receipt” in a Hardware Store (And What You Can Learn From It!)
I’ve been an English fluency mentor for a good few years now, but it doesn’t mean I speak in English perfectly at all times. You see, I’m an active proponent of letting it go when speaking in English which invariably involves making a few mistakes here and there, and there’s nothing wrong when a person capable of speaking fluent English says something wrong. In this particular situation I was paying for goods in a hardware store, and I wanted to ask the cashier for a receipt. Instead of using the word “receipt”, however, I worded the request the following way: “Can I have a check, please?” Needless to say, I corrected myself immediately after saying the wrong phrase – “Can I have the receipt, please?” is the proper way of asking for a proof of purchase at a till (the word “check” is used when you’re in a restaurant). Was a feeling bad about confusing the cashier though? Not at the slightest! :-) (more…)
English Phrase: Just Because… It Doesn’t Necessarily… It’s Quite the Opposite, Actually!
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and I'm back with another English idiomatic expression. Now, this time around, the expression in question is, "it doesn't necessarily, it's quite the opposite actually." And to be honest with you guys, this is more than just an expression. It's actually a whole sentence or the so-called SENTENCE STRUCTURE. That's how I like to refer to such and similar phrases, which basically constitute entire sentences. You just have to stick in a few more words and you have a ready-to-go sentence. And, if you are really interested in how this particular sentence structure, "it doesn't necessarily, it's quite the opposite actually," how it can be used in real life, just stick around for a few more minutes and everything is going to be 100% clear to you, my friends! (more…)
Is Learning English grammar not important for speaking?
Terrible English Fluency Issues? You’re Not Alone In This!
Hi guys, hello my dear foreign English speakers, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog where we talk about all things related to English fluency and obviously the related issues such as inability to say something basically. You're having a conversation with someone, that person asks you something and all of a sudden just like with a wave of a magic wand, you are unable to say anything at all. And you go like “a-a-a”, not being able to say anything, right? This is a typical English fluency issue. And it's all about how you've been learning the English language. Most likely, you've studied the English language as an academic discipline. You've been doing loads of textbook exercises, grammar, vocabulary, all that kind of stuff but you haven't been focusing on developing your speech, right? But just because the whole English teaching system is centered around grammar and filling in gaps in textbooks and all that kind of stuff, right? It's all centered around those activities. It's very hard for the average foreigner to see the wood for the trees which is an English idiomatic expression meaning you can't really see the truth, right? It's hard to distinguish what's what. And why I'm bringing up this particular issue again in this video is simply because I had a conversation with someone over the last few days. And that person told me that they're having this particular issue and they thought that they were alone in this, right? (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Here’s the thing”
Funny English Phrases: Animal Related Idioms
Hello my friends! :grin: This Funny English Phrase video is my contribution to the YearOfEnglish.com project, and in case you haven’t noticed it yet, I’m publishing a video dedicated to YearOfEnglish.com audience once every three weeks. This time around, let’s learn some animal related English idiomatic expressions and conversational phrases. You’re more than welcome to watch the video above where I’m doing a little role play portraying two people at the same time. And, in case you need it, here’s the video script in written format: (more…)
Translation from English is Bad For Your Fluency + Example From My Early Days as a Teacher
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW Hi guys and welcome back to EnglishHarmony.com video blog! I’m Robby from EnglishHarmony.com, obviously, and in this video episode, we’re going to touch upon a subject that we’ve spoken about many times before, namely - the fact that you don’t have to translate from English into your native language and vice versa while getting involved in English improving related activities. Obviously, we’ve spoken about it at length previously so I’m not going to get into the reasons why you shouldn’t be doing that. By now, they should be quite obvious to you but for those who haven’t watched my videos in the past and haven’t visited my website probably, let me tell you just one thing. If you translate, you can’t speak fluently because your mind is too preoccupied with dealing with all the grammar related issues and basically creating sentences from scratch in your mind, instead of speaking spontaneously and that’s what fluent speech is all about. In relation to the whole ‘don’t translate’ subject, I’m going to bring up an example of what happens when people try to translate, and it happened years ago. (more…)
Do I make myself clear now?
Are you having difficulty understanding what a character said in a TV series or a movie? You think your vocabulary is strong enough to communicate fluently, but when it comes to understanding native TV series or movies, you get baffled. If that's you, there is nothing to worry about, because today we will decode the cause, and why it happens? (more…)
Embedded Questions – When Reversing Word Order Isn’t Necessary
Spoken English Topics and Technical Aspects of Spoken English Exercising
Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First! This video is a follow-up to the last video episode which was about the importance of practising spoken English with yourself in case you’ve got no-one to talk to! After the last episode I received quite a few e-mails asking what topics you can discuss with yourselves. I’ve come to realize that it’s not that easy for everyone to think of something to talk about so I decided to dedicate today’s video episode to various topics you can use as source of inspiration to kick-start your English practicing routine. But before you even attempt practicing English with yourself, you should remember the following. Don’t try to talk about something that is detached from reality. Don’t try to convince yourself that you should speak about something that you don’t actually take any interest in :!: A typical example of this would be taking some English learning material and reading a certain topic and then trying to create a monologue around that topic. Well, you may succeed and have a nice chat with yourself about, say, concepts of time and distance, and similar. On most occasions however, if you try to create a monologue around something that isn’t relevant for you personally, the chances are that you’ll find the very idea of such speech practicing very boring and you’ll give up after a while! :-( So the most important piece of advice to anyone who decides to engage in regular English monologues is the following – talk about something that reflects your interests, your personal and professional affairs, generally speaking – your life! And now let’s look at particular spoken English topics you can always count on not be become boring! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Within a matter of…”
WILL and GOING TO English Future Forms: How to Use Them in Conversations
Welcome back to another Practical English Grammar lesson where we talk about Future in spoken English and how to sound fluent and natural when talking about future events! In the previous video we looked at how to use Present Progressive Tense – also called Present Continuous – for describing future events. The most important bit of information from that lesson is to perceive Present Progressive as the basic grammar tense for describing future. You know – in 9 times out of 10 foreign English speakers use the traditional WILL + verb in infinitive Future Tense when speaking about future events, but it transpires that this grammar form is being massively overused :shock: Many future events we talk about on a daily basis have been arranged prior to the conversation, so we can confidently use Present Progressive instead. For instance, you have to say “Sorry, I’m watching a very interesting TV program tonight” instead of “I will watch a very interesting TV program tonight” if you have a conversation with your friend and he asks you if you can go out with him tonight. By now you’re probably getting slightly confused over my ramblings on future in spoken English. Judging by the previous video, one might think that WILL + verb and GOING TO future forms are redundant and there’s no need to use them. Especially if you take into account that I said that you’d be better off overusing Present Progressive rather than the WILL Future Tense – to many it may sound as if I’m saying that you can speak English and use Present Progressive ONLY when it comes to talking about future events.Â Well, it’s not so. Other Future forms are also necessary; you just need to know WHEN to use them :!: So today let’s look at the traditional English Future Tense – WILL + verb in infinitive and also the GOING TO Future form and how to use them in conversational English. (more…)
“Beat – Beat – Beaten”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!
Why Being a Foreign English Speaker Gives Me an Edge Over ANY Native English School Teacher
You ARE What You DO!
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby, obviously, and in today's video we're going to talk about a very simple matter indeed. Namely – YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO. I know - this may sound very simplistic – “You are what you do.” Well, what's the big deal? It's common sense! What you do determines what you are, who you are, right? But, just think about this guys. I still keep receiving plenty of emails on a daily basis asking for one basic thing: “Robby, tell me how I can start speaking fluent English? How do I improve my spoken English fluency? Basically, how do I speak in English?” So the basic need, the desire that is the common denominator among all those people, maybe including even you, is your desire to speak fluently. Basically, that's WHO you want to be. You want to become a FLUENT ENGLISH SPEAKER. So, if we go by the equation - you are what you do - going by that logic, it's not difficult to draw a simple conclusion: (more…)
Why I’m Making Mistakes in My Videos & Why I’m Not Concerned About That!
- Video Transcript Below - Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! In this video I'm going to address the matter of me making mistakes while recording these videos. You see, the thing is that some people may hold to the opinion that once I'm positioning myself as an authority in the English teaching field here on YouTube and on my blog, that my English should be impeccable (my spoken English). And there are certain people who are watching my videos and then they're pointing out where I should have said things differently, they're providing actual time stamps and everything, the exact time down to the very second where I'm saying things wrong. Here's the thing - I have to actually go back to the very origins of how I started running the blog and why I did it in the first place and what the whole English fluency issue is all about. (more…)
Confidence Lesson From Kristen Stewart For All Foreign English Speakers
English Idiomatic Expression: “Bear in mind”
Another day – another English idiomatic expression from Robby! Today’s phrase is used in just about any situation whenever someone tells you something important and they want you to pay particular attention to a specific detail. “Please, bear in mind that…” is the typical way you’ll be told that you shouldn't forget what follows this phrase, and if you want to find out more specific examples of this phrase in action – please watch the video above! Sample sentences I’m coming up with are sometimes funny because I’m always improvising in these videos, and I think it’s worth watching the above video even for that reason alone. Not that I consider myself being some sort of a comedian or anything, it’s just that I sometimes laugh at myself while editing my own videos and I would imagine I’m not the only one feeling that way! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #25: I JUST…, IS ALL!
Asking for And Giving Directions in English – So Trivial Yet Essential!
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! Asking for directions in English when you’re not sure where a particular object is located while travelling or helping out some stranger who stops you in a passing-by car and asks for directions to some spot – these could be called textbook English scenarios. Meaning – directions is one of the basics that you’d have to learn as a beginner English student, right? That being said, I have to admit that not every advanced English speaker’s phraseology is up to scratch when it comes to these relatively simple English phrases. The heck, recently even I used to get a bit stuck sometimes when asking for directions or when I had to give someone directions in English, and it’s only when I started coaching other foreign English speakers on Fluency Star that I compiled a list of relevant phrases and also cleared up the whole thing once and for all for myself. So, would you like to tap into Robby’s personal knowledgebase? Then what are you waiting for! Just keep reading and you’ll find the most relevant direction asking and giving English phraseology – just make sure you actually memorize those phrases by way of speaking out loud multiple times and then repeating them over the course of a few days to make sure these speech patterns get imprinted into your brain and most importantly – your mouth muscles! And by the way - don’t forget that you would also sometimes have to describe directions when talking about past events and telling stories, so these sorts of situations aren’t just limited to giving and asking for directions specifically! (more…)
Correct Yourself When Speaking in English Without Others Noticing!
Accept Your English Fluency Limitations!
Forget About WILL Future Tense – Use Present Progressive Instead!
Hello my friends, and Happy Christmas to everyone! :-) I’m back with another practical English grammar lesson, and today let’s look at how to talk about future in conversational English. Just to remind you what I'm teaching in Practical English Grammar – it’s conversational English and it’s not always 100% correct. Real life English is different from school books and text books, so I’m using my extensive experience as a foreign English speaker living in an English speaking country to help you speak more fluently. All right, so let’s look at how we speak about future events in English. The standard grammatical Future Tense in English is formed by using “WILL” followed by the verb's infinitive form. However, this is far from the full picture of how you can describe future in English. To be more precise, this is just one quarter of possibilities that the English language offers, and here are the other three ways how you can describe a future action: I’m going to come home, I’m coming home, I come home. Are you slightly confused? Are you thinking now – “Why is Robby giving examples of Present Progressive and Simple Present Tenses? They’re clearly used to describe actions taking place right now, in this very moment!” Well, you’re right, they are used for that purpose, but Present Progressive, for instance, can also be used to describe Future actions which have already been arranged and the very fact of the arrangement is kind of going on right now, does that make sense? If you say “I’m coming home tomorrow” you mean indeed that you are going to arrive back home tomorrow, but you have apparently decided at some stage that you’ll come home. So as far as English grammar is concerned, the progressive action is already taking place – since the moment you decided that you would come the action is kind of happening - only taking place tomorrow instead of now. (more…)