Get the FREE eBook “Power of English Phrasal Verbs”
If you’ve just moved to an English speaking country, you may find yourself in a situation when everyday English spoken around you is much different from the one you studied at school or university. And even if you’ve spent considerable time in the country, much of what native English speakers say might be lost on you so you blame your lack of English fluency. By the way, haven’t you heard some foreigners say things like: “You know, these Americans (British, Irish – depending on which English speaking country you reside in) don’t speak correct English themselves, that’s why it’s so hard for us to communicate with them!” Well… In fact what some might call “incorrect speech” boils down to a few main factors which aren’t incorrect or wrong by their nature. Native English speakers simply use a whole lot more informal and colloquial means of expression than academically tutored foreigners! Yes, informal speech sometimes doesn’t meet the very high literacy standards – but then I think we can actually argue who set them and why. Learning super-accurate and perfect English without means of expression like phrasal verbs, idioms and colloquialisms will make it much harder for you to communicate, and here’s a perfect example to illustrate exactly what I mean. (more…)
WILL and GOING TO English Future Forms: How to Use Them in Conversations
Forget About WILL Future Tense – Use Present Progressive Instead!
Isn’t English “Improving” and “Learning” the Same?!
Quite often I receive e-mails like this: “Dear Robby, I’m … from …. and I speak English very bad. Please help me, Robby, to master English fluency and learn how to speak with good grammar.” Mind this – I’m not mocking those foreigners who’ve just recently embarked upon English studies and have a long way to go before they’ll be able to call themselves fluent English speakers, readers and writers. I’d never do it because I’m a foreign English speaker myself and I can still remember times when, for instance, I’d listen to an English song having no clue as to what the lyrics is about! Anyway, I’m usually forced to reply to such e-mails with something along these lines: “Dear …, thanks for your e-mail, your interest is much appreciated. Unfortunately I don’t offer English teaching services as my website is about IMPROVING the SPOKEN aspect of English. Your general English knowledge would have to be pretty good before you could consider using the English Harmony System” So as you can see from the above paragraph, you won’t find much on my website if you’re an English LEARNER. If you’re making your first steps in learning English basics and you’re only getting to grips with proper sentence structure and so on – sorry, I’m not much of a help for you then. I understand it must be slightly confusing to read so much about improving English on my blog and then being told you already have to be able to speak, write and read very well. I suppose the majority of foreigners perceive the two concepts – learning and improving English as being nearly the same. To make the matters clear - here’s what I understand with IMPROVING English – and please don’t forget that I’m focusing on improving SPOKEN English here on English Harmony! ;-) (more…)
Don’t Look for a Silver Bullet when Improving Your English!
In these modern times everyone expects FAST and EASY results. Just look around you – celebrities go on crash diets and lose weight FAST (and EASY, too). Bodybuilders pile on massive poundage within a couple of weeks during the bulking phase of their training regimes (with a little help of anabolic steroids, but – hey, does anyone mind as far as the gains are big and FAST?) Enormous, record-breaking and futuristic-shaped buildings are built in Dubai under very tense deadlines – and it also has to be done in a record-short time and FAST. These days they build faster trains, faster planes, faster food processors and faster computer processors. There’s hundreds of thousands of interlinked industries operating on our planet 24/7/365 and – you guessed it right – they operate under strict regulations, tight deadlines, and people have to work damn FAST to make everything happen. Did you truly believe a couple of decades ago that modern technology-driven world will eventually give us more free time and robots will perform all tedious and time-consuming tasks? I’m sorry to ruin your dream, but the harsh reality is that the more you can accomplish, the more free time you have for being even MORE PRODUCTIVE, so eventually you’re forced to learn how to get things done FASTER (and EASIER – as enforced by modern advertising, so the gullible crowd falls for yet another improved washing powder which helps them achieve impeccably white clothes compared to the old, crappy product X). Not surprisingly, the very technology we design and produce helps as along the way, and these days getting fast results in any aspect of life is irrevocably linked to using special equipment, professional advice, special courses, or a piece of software. Want to have a perfect six-pack abs? You definitely have to use one of those thousand abs machines. If you don’t – you’re guaranteed to sustain spinal injuries or at least a sprained neck trying to do the same ol’ abs crunches (never mind Rocky never used one in any of his films…). Want to make some extra money by doing part-time cleaning job? There’s no way can you start doing it unless you have passed a special course teaching you how to use a brush and mop up the floor! Do you see where I’m going with this? These days the world has gone mad by trying to optimize, standardize, streamline and super-size. These basic assumptions – that one has to achieve things FAST and use a set of sophisticated, very technical METHODS – has been deeply ingrained into our society’s collective awareness :!: The very same goes with English improving. (more…)
Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!
How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…
Until about a year ago I considered myself a non-native English speaker. I arrived in Ireland back in 2002 from a small country in Baltic region. It’s roughly the size of Ireland but it has only half of Ireland’s population. Its capital is called Riga and our crimson-white-crimson flag represents a blood-stained stretcher used to carry mortally wounded soldiers from a battle-field. The country I’m talking about is called Latvia – andÂ I'mÂ one in a 1.5 million people on this planet whose native language is Latvian. Anyway, I chose the settle in an English speakingÂ country so I’m here for more than 8 years now and by the looks of it I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future. Living in an English speaking society has presented many challenges along the way – most of them due to my lack of English fluency. But I always faced up to the difficulties and thanks to my love for the English language I can enjoy communicating with locals easily and naturally. So after about 8 years spent in Ireland I stopped being a non-native English speaker! Brace yourself! I’m about to reveal one of the biggest secrets of integration into an English speaking society and how to stop being a non-native English speaker! :shock: So here we go… (more…)
Wake Up from the English Grammar Matrix!
Conquer Your Fear of Making Mistakes when Speaking English!
If you’re a foreign English speaker – there’s a 90% chance you are because you’re reading my blog! – you’re most likely familiar with anxiety of making mistakes when speaking English. You know – it’s the feeling when you’d gladly say something when chatting in English with someone, but you hold it inside because you’re not sure you’ll get it right. In the most extreme cases you might even be avoiding communication only not to experience embarrassment and humiliation! That’s when it gets really serious because no matter how badly you fear making mistakes, you’re not going to improve your spoken English simply because you’re not speaking enough :!: So how to deal with this anxiety and how to overcome your fear of making mistakes? Watch the video above and you’ll find out how to change your mindset when it comes to making mistakes; alternatively you can read this video’s script below! (more…)
Boring English Grammar or Cool Fiction – Make Up Your Mind!
Another 3 Reasons Why Learning English at School Sucks!
Have You Got the Guts To Improve Your English?
If you find yourself in a situation where you constantly dream of speaking fluent English, but haven’t achieved any noticeable improvement yet, you have to ask yourself the following three questions: “Am I really going to use and PRACTICE English or is it just wishful thinking?” “Am I aware of English improving methods that WORK or am I just relying on old-school approach?” “Am I putting off English learning and improving because it’s boring and I'm not good at studying anyway?” (more…)
4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker
Many of us, foreign English speakers, began our English studies at school, so it would be only logical if the vast majority of use spoke impeccable English. Seven years long English studies will supposedly make you into a near-native English speaker, and we shouldn’t expect anything less from our educational system, isn’t it right? When an average student is required to speak English in an informal situation, however, the cold reality hits home – most of foreigners having gone through the standard educational system are very poor English speakers :!: I went through the whole spectrum of emotions starting from shock and ending with despair when I realized that my real-life English was useless back in the days when I just moved to an English speaking country. Throughout the following years up to present days I’ve improved greatly and at the same time I’ve also figured out why my school English studies didn’t contribute into my English fluency at all! What you’ll read below might shock you and you’ll realize that you’ve probably never looked at this subject from this perspective before. Sometimes a cold shower is necessary, though, so that you can start thinking outside the box and draw the right conclusions about your previous and existing English studying efforts. Whether you’re in Malaysia, Argentina or Canada and thousand miles separate you from other English students of different race, nationality and language, you’re most likely sitting in a classroom with 10 – 30 other students and staring at your English teacher… (more…)
How To Speak About Past Events During English Conversations
Written English is from Venus, Spoken English – from Mars!
I’m so overwhelmed by the need to discuss this topic that I can barely contain my excitement! It’s been a controversy all along the way and it seems to me that many foreign English speakers still don’t differentiate much between spoken and written English. But those two creatures are from different planets indeed, and here’s why it’s important for you as a foreign English speaker: By learning English the traditional way you can become very good at writing but you still won’t be able to speak English fluently :!: Fluency in either of them doesn’t necessarily guarantee fluency in another! Majority of foreign English speakers and also natives aren’t aware of the huge differences between those two. But it’s that simple indeed – judging by your writing you might be mistaken for a native English speaker but when you open your mouth you might be constantly running into difficulties with verbalizing your thoughts and expressing yourself properly! Have you ever encountered such issue? I bet you have – so keep reading this article and you’ll find out a whole lot more about it! I know this for a fact because I’ve been a good English writer for a long time – long before I achieved speaking confidence. And I also know it too well that being an excellent writer can actually have a detrimental effect on your spoken English. Are you surprised to hear that? Well, it should come as no surprise at all if you just dwell on it a bit! If a foreign English speaker has achieved fluency in English writing, he/she is risking becoming too complacent and not paying enough attention to English speaking :!: The awareness of being a very good English writer reinforces one’s notion that they’ve achieved the utmost English fluency. And if you’re clapped on the back for being an excellent English writer by others with comments like: "Your English is perfect, you’re better than most native English speakers that I know!", you really risk losing the grip of reality! (more…)
Respect Your Native Language in order to… Speak Fluent English?
Face Your Biggest Fears – Halloween Ghosts and English Speaking!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/lH_E5ZE9mTE I’ve been writing and making videos about English fluency and improving English for a good while now. But all of it accounts for nothing if you just read and watch and leave it at that :!: If you don’t go out there and don’t enjoy life at its full, you’re not even using half of your potential as a foreign English speaker! Any language’s primary purpose is to serve as means of verbal communication – and all your English improving efforts should come together in real-life socializing :!: Are you still afraid of being judged by other English speakers? Are you still insecure about your spoken English? Would you rather AVOID situations that can potentially end up embarrassing you than FACE up to your English fluency issues and deal with them? Then learn from Halloween night when it’s all about FACING your fears and becoming stronger as a result! (more…)
Warning! Don’t Start Improving Your English Before Watching THIS!
How To Increase Your English Fluency By 100% in Less Than 12h!
Shocking Reality About Foreign Accent and Fluent English
Do you speak English with a foreign accent? The chances are that you do because you arrived on my blog which is dedicated to foreign English speakers! Do you hate your accent and wish you’d never been born in a foreign country? Before you answer this question – think twice, because what you’re about to discover in this video episode might change your perception regarding your foreign accent and pronunciation! Watch the 24# Video Episode where I’m discussing the connection between English pronunciation and English fluency. And if you can’t watch the video for some technical reasons – you can read the video’s script below! (more…)
7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking
Over the years I keep seeing the same mistakes being made over and over again by those who want to improve their English. But it’s really shocking to see that not only is reading and writing based English learning encouraged but speaking English is discouraged! Moreover, I found this genius approach of improving English by cutting out speaking on an authority website - I'd better not give its name here... Well, it would be folly to hold the website responsible for all their contributors posts – after all, even Wikipedia.org is full of wrong and misleading facts. Still the first point on the article I read voices the standard notion in the industry – and here it is: 1. Talk less and listen more. Brilliant, isn’t it? Shut your mouth, foreign English speaker, don’t practice your speech but instead focus on passive language input! This is the gem among all recommendations I’ve read online targeted to foreigners who want to improve their English, and I can’t stress enough how WRONG it is. (more…)
Does Reading Help You Improve English?
Is It Possible To Improve Your Spoken English By Watching TV?
Defining Your English Comfort Zone
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MT-bpRbz9ks Today I’m going to continue with the last episode’s topic about how to manage situations when you’re kind of stuck when asked something in English. Now I’ll recap the last episode in a couple of words so that you can refresh your memory! ;-) So the first step on your way to gaining a total confidence in your English is awareness of the fact that you actually can talk about any topic in English as if it were your native tongue. Once you’ve convinced yourself that you CAN – and bear it in mind – it’s very important :!: – you’ve broken down the mental barrier that’s been preventing you from successful English communication. Then you can start actually thinking over the question the very same way you’d consider a question asked in your native language. Instead of frantically thinking what you can tell about the topic or question you just take one thing at a time, give the person a couple of counter-questions to get the conversation going, and of course don’t hesitate to use idioms like as a matter of fact, if I’m not mistaken, to the best of my knowledge and similar, to fill in the pauses in your conversation and take time. As you may have noticed, any conversation in any language is filled with such filler phrases. Although some may argue that they serve no purpose at all and only litter our language, I don’t fully agree. If we take out everything we can from a conversation or a story leaving only dry facts, it suddenly becomes very boring... :-( OK, but now as promised – two powerful tips of the speech issue management and at the end of the episode – about managing casual conversations! (more…)
How To Speak English Like A Native – Part 1
Improve Spoken English Fast – Focus On English Around You!
Is Past Perfect Tense Any Good For The Average English Speaker?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/G7Y5xa5Qhgs Today I’m going to look at a particular aspect of English Perfect Tenses that is quite often ignored by foreign English speakers. For the most part it’s probably because it’s not used that often in everyday English. Nonetheless, it’s useful to know how and when to use the Past Perfect Tense in English! So without a further ado, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of this topic. So, as you already know, Perfect Tenses in English are used to tell about events that have already taken place but it’s not really known when exactly they happened, and it’s not really necessary to know that. An example: I’ve finished my assignment on time. As you can see, I don’t mention the exact time when I did finish my assignment, because in this context it’s irrelevant. Just the very fact that I’ve finished it is what I want to tell you about, and that’s what the Perfect Tenses in English are all about. Now, Past Perfect is a Tense when you replace the have part in the sentence with its past form – had. So what you get is – I had finished my assignment, or its short form – I’d finished my assignment. The annoying thing about learning English Grammar and the numerous Grammar Tenses is that if you look at them on a page in your grammar book, they might not make much sense. Also, there can be so many examples given with a particular tense that you just can’t make out when exactly you need to use it! (more…)
Phrasal Verbs – Great Way To Improve Spoken English!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/2-16WWZIUg44 Spoken English is stuffed with phrasal verbs and if you’re serious about improving your spoken English you definitely need to pay attention to them. What I find fascinating about the English language as such is that there are actually three types of English expressions – formal, colloquial and slang; these three are like separate dimensions of the same language. Colloquial English, which I also refer to as spoken English, is used in everyday situations and is stuffed with phrasal verbs which are also OK to use in more formal situations, and that’s the great thing about them :!: My native language – Latvian – has only two distinct vocabularies – formal and slang and there are no equivalents to phrasal verbs. But then modern English has been influenced by so many languages – Latin, French, Germanic languages and others – that it’s no surprise you can express nearly every action in so many different ways. Let’s have a look at the following example. You’re coming back from the local music store where you intended to buy concert tickets but unfortunately you didn’t get any. There’s a number of ways you can put the bad news to your friends. “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and all of them had been already purchased” is quite a formal way of communicating the message to your peers – note the Past Perfect Tense “had been” and the formal verb “purchased”. A more friendly way of saying the same thing would be “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all snapped up” or “I didn’t buy the tickets, I was too late and they were all sold out”. Notice the phrasal verbs “to snap up” and “to sell out” – they’re typical to everyday English conversations and they’re not vulgar or rude in any way. As I said above - you can also use the same phrasal verbs in more formal situations with no problems! (more…)
How To Learn A New Language In Super-short Time!
How I Define Real English Fluency
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/20yRATIyU3Q 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…)
How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!
Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=/7IO3JPbhxv4 My dear website readers, YouTube channel watchers and Twitter followers! You can religiously stick to my advice on how to improve spoken English, but if you miss the most important component – your road to fluent spoken English will be filled with potholes! You can really gather yourself up every time you feel that your confidence in spoken English drops. You can start speaking slowly and pick the words carefully as I’ve told you should do when you feel your mind racing. You can also use really simple words to explain yourself to prevent from getting stuck if you can’t remember the very exact phrase or word you want to say in English. But once again – if you miss the most important part of the equation, you’ll be always struggling with maintaining constantly fluent English! So which way you want to go? Do you want to be able to consciously use all the good advice on improving your spoken English and keep making effort OR you want to reach a point in your life where you don’t have to make an effort at all to speak fluently? If I were you, I’d definitely take the last route and I believe you’d too! (more…)
Does It Irritate You If Native English Speakers Make Wrong Assumptions About Your English?
Using Perfect Simple And Passive Voice In Spoken English
English Vocabulary Building – Part 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_cNv9xv64Y 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…)