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.

English Harmony System

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For those foreign English speakers whose English understanding, writing and grammar is already good but they're struggling with spoken English!

Imprints natural English speech patterns in your mind - revolutionary speech exercising technology!

Builds your English confidence - no more situations when you stop and hesitate when speaking English!

How You Can Write Your Research Paper in Under 24 Hours!

A Guide For International And ESL Students As an international student or an ESL student, the English language is most probably your biggest stumbling block. You have most likely been struggling to keep up with the rest of your class who are native speakers of English. The language barrier can really get in the way of you participating actively in class and this can be frustrating. It is understandable that you may find writing research papers and college essays specially difficult to grasp. You might have also faced situations where you’ve been asked to write a full-fledged research paper, and the deadline is around the corner, sometimes in less than 24 hours. You feel stuck and confused and don’t know where to turn for help. What do you do in such cases? Don’t worry, this guide is here to help you. It will show how to break down the process of essay writing into easy steps so that you can put together a completed research paper in just 24 hours! (more…)

Use English Comparative and Superlative Adjectives Sparingly – Better Describe than Compare!

Here’s a couple of English adjective related problems even an advanced foreigner might run into when having a conversation with others. PROBLEM #1: Analyzing your speech from the grammar standpoint Let’s say for example, you want to describe something during a conversation, but your mind keeps going back to the tables in your English grammar textbook where irregular adjectives were listed. It may happen completely involuntarily, but it’s this traditional way of structuring adjectives according to their forms that makes you analyze the structure of a sentence instead of being fully engaged into the conversation. That in turn may result in all sorts of English fluency issues! PROBLEM #2: Limiting your means of expression You may be brilliant at describing and comparing objects, living creatures and people, but if you only stick with the traditional system – adjective – comparative adjective – superlative adjective – you’ll limit your spoken English development. For example, in a sentence “She’s really resourceful in the way she solves practical problems compared to her sister”… the word ‘resourceful’ isn’t a comparative form of some other adjective. If your mind is tuned to the standard way of using adjectives, however, you may find that you just can’t see past the standard way of using the same adjective you already described her sister with. Let’s say for example, you described her sister as not being practical, so if you go down the traditional adjective comparison road, you automatically may say – “she’s more practical than her sister”. Well, it’s not a bad thing in itself, but it’s just that on certain occasions it may limit your ability to speak freely and improvise. So how do you develop your ability to speak automatically and without analyzing too much if you’ve got to use this or that particular adjective form? WATCH THIS VIDEO WHICH EXPLAINS MY MISTAKE USING 'ADVERBS' INSTEAD OF 'ADJECTIVES' THROUGHOUT THE VIDEO ABOVE... SORRY! ;-)    (more…)

English Grammar Construct “Couldn’t Have Been”

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: Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog. Today I'm bringing you another English idiomatic expression video but unlike other English idiomatic expression videos where I'm focusing on typical English idioms and phrasal words and collocations today I'm bringing you what I like to call a grammar construct. And the grammar construct in question is “couldn't have been”. At first if you just look at “couldn't have been,” it might confuse you. You might try and figure out what it means in grammar terms. What the English grammar tense represents and all that sort of thing but you don't have to do it. And you may actually want to read this article where I'm talking about it that you don't have to try and figure out what exactly something means in grammar terms, okay? All you've got to do is just repeat that particular grammar construct, memorize it and then you'll be able to use it in relevant situations without knowing what it represents, right? And the funny thing is that prior to recording this video I was kind of thinking to myself “Hold on, I have to look it up and see what it actually means, what kind of tense it is.” But I'm not going to get bogged down on these grammar terms just like I told you because it serves no purpose whatsoever, okay? So all you've got to do is just repeat it, memorize it and then you'll be able to use it. (more…)

Why Can’t I Use All Those English Phrases and Collocations?

Don’t Compare Your English With Others!

Today’s blog post’s topic is about the importance of not comparing your English with others. And I don’t mean it in a way that you’d have to ignore English spoken by people around you. It’s quite the opposite - I want you to perceive this piece of advice as an encouragement not to feel inferior to other English speakers :!: The sense of inadequacy and worthlessness as an English speaker can sometimes overwhelm you and it can have a detrimental effect on your English fluency. The goal of my English Harmony project is to help foreigners deal with occasional drops in spoken English fluency which are quite common in those who’ve followed the traditional path of English learning by focusing on writing and studying English grammar. So not only you have to deal with the actual speech issue itself; you also have to be mentally tough and resilient to maintain the ability to communicate with others when going through the bad English fluency phrase while hearing others perform much better than you :!: Here’s a typical scenario – and if you have the English fluency issue you definitely would have had similar moments. You arrive at work, and say hello to your co-workers, but for some reason your English isn’t as good as normally so you feel that you’re struggling a bit to say the simplest things - like morning greetings. Anyway, you’re already under mental pressure to keep your speech steady and slow – otherwise you risk running into even bigger issues like getting completely stuck in a middle of conversation and getting a total blackout in your mind. And then suddenly you hear some other foreign English speakers having a chat and they just speak away fluently and effortlessly. Or it could even be you involved in a chat with, for instance, your native speaking colleague and another foreign person. The other foreigner speaks freely, but you constantly catch yourself struggling with picking the right word, or expressing your thoughts clearly. So tell me, what would be the most natural reaction on this? Of course, anyone who’s in the situation I just described would start comparing their performance with the other foreign person’s performance :!: It’s a totally natural competitiveness and in normal circumstances facilitates one’s desire to compete, to become better at it. (more…)

We’re All Capable of Correcting Our English Speech Ourselves!

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…)

10 Reasons Why English Is The World’s Language

For as long as I can remember myself, I’ve been fascinated with the English language and all things related to it. I had my first encounter with English when I was around ten years old, and I haven’t stopped loving and learning the language ever since! Surely, there were plenty of challenges along the way, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I didn’t actually achieve English fluency up until seven years ago. I arrived in Ireland back in 2002 and it took me five years to figure out what exactly I’d been doing wrong all along in terms of my English improvement. Anyway, that hasn’t changed my love for the language and now I believe more strongly than ever that ENGLISH IS THE WORLD’S LANGUAGE – at least that’s how I feel about it, and here are 10 reasons why I think so: (more…)

Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?

Let’s say you’re having a conversation with a native English speaker whom you’ve met for the first time. It could be a sales assistant in a shop, or a member of staff in McDonalds. You’re being asked a question, and you’re taking a few seconds to think on it. And here’s the thing that annoys me a lot – on many occasions the native English speaker mistakes your moment of silence for lack of English understanding when you’re actually thinking over the very question asked! :mad: Please forgive me, native English speakers, if I’m being unfair to you but I just want to discuss this issue at length in this blog post as I feel it might be not just me who sometimes feels the same way. Here’s a real situation I had last summer when I was visiting one of costal towns on the south cost of Ireland. I had just parked my car near the seaside and was looking for the parking ticket machine. Eventually I found out that parking had to be paid in a nearby souvenir shop so I walked in and asked the lady where and how I could pay for parking. She asked me how long I was going to stay but I didn’t give a straight answer because I started thinking over her question. The lady from the souvenir shop, however, didn’t wait on my answer. Instead she repeated her question using very simple and slow speech involving hand gestures. It was very much the same way you’d speak to a deep-jungle tribesman who’s seen a white person for the first time in his life! Apparently she thought that I didn’t answer her question because I didn’t get was she was saying – not that I was just thinking over the very question and trying to decide how many hours I was going to pay for! Frankly speaking, I hate when my level of English is judged is such a generalized manner. It’s kind of – if he didn’t answer instantly in perfect English, most likely his English is so poor he didn’t even get me! :mad: (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “For a good while”

English Idiomatic Expression: Brought to My Attention

Hello everyone who’s eager to improve their spoken English! ;-) Has the importance of learning English phrases and expressions ever been brought to your attention? If you’ve been following my blog for a good while, I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with the concept of natural fluency acquisition via English phrases and idiomatic expressions. If, on the other hand, this is the first time you’re visiting my blog, let me explain to you in simplistic terms why idiomatic expressions are very important to you as an English student. Now, let’s take today’s phrase – BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION. Imagine yourself having a conversation with someone, and during that conversation you want to say that something has been brought to your attention, in other words – something has been pointed out to you. If you conjugate the verb “to bring” every time you speak and you create the sentence from scratch in your head while speaking – BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION – the resulting speech is going to be somewhat slow and hesitant. (more…)

Practicing Spoken English in Car: Part 2

4 Things Your English Teacher Didn’t Tell YOU!

1. First we should learn SPOKEN English and only then – to read and write Another controversy on EnglishHarmony.com? Well, so be it! I believe that if all foreign English speakers would have learnt spoken English first, nobody would have any English fluency issues. Once your brain is hard-wired with naturally occurring English speech patterns, you can learn to read and write and it won’t mess up your ability to produce coherent speech. Many of us, foreign English speakers though, have difficulties speaking fluently because we speak as if we were writing – in a slow, controlled way, with a chance to go back and correct mistakes and all the time in the world to think things through. Add a bit of stress, and there you go – you can get stuck in a middle of a sentence because real life communication is not your comfortable environment you’re so familiar with; chatting with people happens spontaneously. Remember – speaking comes first, and everything else comes after that, just like in your native language! You spoke long before you learnt to read and write, and you’re so good at speaking your language not because you spent 12 years at school. It’s because you used your language as means of communication long before your first day at school, so why should English be any different? (more…)

The More English You Know, The… Less You Know?!

VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW: Hello boys and girls and welcome back to my video blog! I'm Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and I'm your fluency mentor, and today's video is going to be dedicated to the following subject: Sometimes as you go about your English learning and improvement routine you will kind of realize that THE MORE YOU KNOW, the less fluent you become! If you reminisce about days gone by, a couple years ago probably - when you just started learning the English language, when you knew not so much - basically when your knowledge was quite limited - you could actually say a whole lot more than now, when your knowledge is quite thorough and profound and you know a lot of synonyms describing the same abstract concepts and things and so on and so forth, you sometimes find that you actually struggle to say anything at all! But in the very early stages of your English fluency improvement and learning attempts you could say a whole lot more, or at least so it seems, right? So why this funny thing is happening? There's a very easy explanation for that, my friends: it's SYNONYMS, English vocabulary in general and how you've learned it - that's what it all boils down to :!: (more…)

How To Stop Getting Stuck When Speaking English

Are you having situations when your conversation with an English speaking person suddenly stops because you’re struggling to find the right words to say? Let’s say, for example, you’re having a chat with one of your colleagues during the launch break. He starts talking about last night’s soccer match and expects you to make some comments about it. You open your mouth to start telling something related to what he just said, but … nothing comes out! You’re very eager to say something so that you wouldn’t go down in your workmate’s estimation – but you just can’t utter more than a few sounds like – well… ehhh… ahh…. Or even worse – you might try to force yourself to speak something related to the subject. As a result, you can start mispronouncing words like – was the player really regle… relege…relegated… I know this feeling when you can’t speak at all although deep inside you know that you’re pretty good at writing, understanding, reading and also speaking English. It feels terrible! Especially because you don’t have a real explanation as to why such moments of very bad speech are happening. Well, on many occasions it is how the English fluency issue manifests itself. Countless foreign English speakers on the world are facing this issue on a daily basis and it’s all because of how English is traditionally taught. But it’s not always the case! (more…)

How to Give Weight to Your Opinion? Use Smart English Phrases!

English Idiomatic Expression: “It Came to Light That…”

Another day – another English idiomatic expression! Today we’re going to look at the following English phrase which I’m sure will come in handy for you: IT CAME TO LIGHT THAT… This expression can be used whenever you FIND something OUT. In case you’re wondering why I’m giving you this English idiom in this exact way (Past Tense) instead of keeping the verb in its infinitive form: “To come to light” – it’s because most likely you’ll be using this expression when talking about something that happened in the past! What’s the use of memorizing this exact English sentence “TO come to light” if every time you’re going to have to modify it to suit the context which is most likely going to be in the Past Tense? It’s so much easier to speak if you actually memorize the phrase the EXACT way you’re going to use it! Here’s a couple of example sentences containing the phrase IT CAME TO LIGHT THAT… (more…)

Is It Possible to Become TOTALLY Fluent In English After 24 Years?

How I Define Real English Fluency

There are many reasons why foreigners start learning English. For me it was being fascinated with everything that had to do with America when I was a child. For others it's necessity when they move to an English speaking country. And many are forced into learning English at school yet at the same time they acknowledge the fact that English is spoken worldwide and nowadays it's one of the basic requirements if you're willing to attain good education and advance in your career. Yet all English students would agree on one thing - English fluency is what one strives for when learning English. In order to be able to communicate with work colleagues and customers one has to be fluent in English otherwise it just won't work! But now tell me - has English fluency been defined for you by your English teacher or someone else? The chances are that you've been lead to believe that standard English tests and grades adequately reflect your English fluency. But here's the drawback - real life English fluency has little to do with your ability to complete English language tests and get high scores in them... Here's how I would define English fluency! (more…)

You’re Not Fluent in English If You Can’t Construct a Subjected Indirect Object Locative Double Passive!

A couple of months ago I received a really funny comment on a blog post called Only YOU Can Decide When You’ve Become Fluent!, and here’s what Jacque said: Being fluent means one can construct a subjected indirect object locative double passive in the past habitual progressive, and following it with a wh-fronted cleft with the subject moved to object position along with an optional topicalization and postmodified adjective restricting the sentence focus, AND having no idea what the heck the above means! Personally I think it’s a BRILLIANT representation of everything that’s wrong with the traditional English studies and how it’s affected most English students’ thinking! (more…)

Why When We Stress Out Our Fluency Deteriorates?

Here’s a typical question I get asked by my blog readers and customers all the time: “When I speak with other English speakers, I always get embarrassed, and then I start stressing out, and then I just can’t speak anymore. Why is it happening?” Why? Well, the answer is in the very question you’re asking! You’re STRESSED OUT, and that’s why you can’t speak fluently anymore! That’s it, my friend – stress is the single biggest reason affecting your fluency (and that of hundreds of thousands of other foreign English speakers worldwide!). It’s the STRESS that makes you do all the following: Hesitate, Make stupid mistakes, Get stuck for words, Lose the thread of your thoughts… ... while at the same time you’re being fully aware of the fact that if you’re not in stressful situations, your spoken English level is fairly good. Why is it that stress affects our English fluency big time? Well, read this article and you’ll found out just that – and much more! :grin: (more…)

Improving Your English is Simpler Than You Think!

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

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…)

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

Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!

Recently I published a blog post called “4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker” where I discussed drawbacks of the traditional way of studying the English language. I’ll give you a quick overview of the previous article but of course if you haven’t read it you’d better check it out – it might prove to be quite an eye-opener for you! So why am I so much against the traditional English teaching methods? :!: First of all, the grammar translation method which is still prevalent even in this day and age, was founded back in the 18th century. Back in the olden days foreign language learning was still in its infancy and academics assumed that it had to follow the same pattern as other disciplines – Math, Physics, and Chemistry. Fast forward to the 21st century… and they still teach English at school with the same grammar translation method that is unnatural and uses students’ native language as reference medium to acquire the target language! :!: Second reason – school English studies focus on STUDYING the language rather than LEARNING English. English students are required to know all about grammar constructs, word types and syntax but real, spoken English is being neglected at the same time. This doesn’t make any sense to me; it’s like learning all about your leg muscle fibers and leg movement kinetics if your main goal is to learn how to dance! :!: The third reason is something even you might find hard to agree with, namely – English grammar difficulty levels. What I’m saying is – there’s no such thing as difficult or easy grammar, if you learn English naturally all grammar already comes with it and the ability of speaking efficiently is mainly down to every individual’s vocabulary size. The old school supporters argue that it’s not the case and one has to spend long years studying English Grammar from the beginner’s level up to advanced. But you’d better go back to the original blog post to read about it in depth and figure out where you stand on this. :!: Lastly I presented a number of counterarguments to approaching English and exact sciences with the same teaching methods. To put it simply, it’s all about recognizing that in the word driven by technological advancements during the Industrial Revolution, exact sciences where in the biggest demand and the modern educational system still mirrors those old, archaic assumptions about how students are to be taught subjects at schools and colleges. But why am I returning to the same topic again? Well, I simply couldn’t pack all the information I wanted to in a single blog post because there’s a whole lot more to say about the traditional way of teaching English! So here we go again with another 3 shocking reasons why academic English studies inhibit your English learning progress. (more…)

Lower Your Standards if You Want to Improve Your English Successfully!

You may have this idealistic image in your head as to what kind of English you should be speaking – grammatically super-correct, formal, rich and eloquent English spoken by high-class native English speakers – but achieving and maintaining such high spoken English standards may not be just unrealistic. It may also be very unhealthy to your confidence as an English speaker to constantly compare your existing level of English against your desired level of English in terms of grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and speed at which you speak because it will serve as a constant reminder of your shortcomings as an English speaker! You may believe that most people speak sub-standard English and it’s unacceptable for an intelligent person. You may have this perception that your English just HAS to sound like that spoken by native English speakers – and if it doesn’t, you’ll be always branded as an underachiever. And you may also strongly believe that text-book English taught to English students in schools and universities is the ONLY way forward and that the conversational English is just English for the masses and not for such a well-educated individual as you. Guess what? By upholding such unrealistically high standards you’re making it really hard for yourself to actually improve your English! (more…)