New English DIY Terms I Learned This Summer While Redecorating My New House
To tell you the truth, my friends, this has been the busiest summer I’ve ever had in my life so far! I’ve been spending days in my 9 to 5 job, and my evenings and weekends were spent on redecorating my new house. And I’ve got to tell you – it was one hell of a job! Even though professionals got hired to do most of the heavy lifting, there was still a lot for me to do. And don’t get me wrong; the job isn’t anywhere near finished. Right now I’m sitting in my office staring out the window with no curtains and running my laptop on a battery because the socket hasn’t been connected to the mains yet! Anyhow, throughout all the stress and hardship I had to go through while dealing with the plumber, electrician, window repair men and a bunch of other folks, I’ve learned a thing or two about DIY and related stuff. Here’s a list of new English DIY related phrases and terms I’ve learned this summer while redecorating my house, and who knows – maybe you’ll find some of them handy when engaged in similar activities! (more…)
You’ll Never Need Legal English Terms and Vocabulary – Way Too Specific!
Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”
English Idiomatic Expression “Under the Impression”
Have you ever been under the impression that the entire world has literally conspired against you and everybody finds something bad in what you’re doing? Is your team leader at work under the impression that your colleagues do most of the work while in reality it’s you who gets most problems solved? And does it ever occur to you that even though most people are under the impression that governments and politicians are almost inherently bad and evil, in fact they’re doing a really tough job and they work much harder than the average Joe? (more…)
Don’t Even TRY Watching Common English Mistakes Videos on YouTube!
I was browsing YouTube the other day, and I came across some video where an English teacher talks about common English errors made by foreign English speakers. It wasn’t that teacher’s only video – not by a long shot. As a matter of fact, there were LOADS of videos of this nature on that particular YouTube channel – let alone other channels where different teachers are talking about pretty much the same things: Most commonly made English mistakes; Things not to say when speaking in English; English mistakes made by Spanish people; English mistakes made by Russians… … and so on and so forth. And you know what? I think this illustrates a terrible trend in the English teaching community! :mad: Everyone is focused on the aspect of making mistakes. Mistakes this, mistakes that, you can’t say this, you can’t say that… The only thing that these videos achieve is the following: THEY FREAK ENGLISH STUDENTS OUT! (more…)
Wake Up from the English Grammar Matrix!
Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)
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…)
7 Ways to Kill Your English before You Even Start Speaking
35 Perfect Ways of Starting Sentences in English!
Are you sure your English grammar is perfect in your essay? Try analyze service to check your paper for any mistakes! Here’s what’s going to boost your English fluency to incredible heights: Your ability to START a sentence WITHOUT much THINKING! Just think about this: how many times have you found yourself in a situation when you have to say something in English but you just can’t say the FIRST word? You kind of know what you want to say, but you just can’t START the sentence and as a result you start stressing out and you end up feeling as if you totally suck as an English speaker… But try this simple strategy for a change: Memorize the phrase “Well, to be honest with you…” Whenever you’re asked a question, start your answer by using the above phrase… You’ll realize that for some strange reason it’s much, much easier to provide an answer to the question once you’ve started it with “Well, to be honest with you…”! In reality there’s nothing that strange about it. It’s just a simple matter of enabling yourself to START a sentence, and once the words start flowing, there’s no stopping them! So, without further ado, let me give you 35 useful English sentence starters. Repeat them. Memorize them. Do some spoken English practice with yourself. Use them in your daily English conversations with others. And you’ll realize that using these phrases as a way of starting your English sentences makes a HUGE difference in your fluency, you can take my word for it, my friends :!: (more…)
4 Ways of Active English Immersion for Foreign English Speakers
As I wrote in the previous blog post, the usage of the English language is limited to certain times and locations for most foreign English speakers. You use your native language in your family and with your native speaking friends, but you speak English at work, when dealing with official institutions and speaking with other English speakers. If you’re committed enough to improving your English fluency, however, there are many ways to immerse yourself in English even when you’re outside of your typical situations when you’d be using the English language. In particular, it’s relevant to those not getting enough exposure to live English and not getting enough opportunities to speak with other English speakers. So here’s the countdown of 4 most effective ways of active English immersion – if you combine them all you can essentially create your own unique English speaking environment! Personally I use all these methods to maintain my English fluency at a high level so you can take my word for it! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt”
Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Today I’m bringing you another English idiomatic expression, and this time around the expression in question is a true English idiom: BEYOND THE SHADOW OF A DOUBT Well, to be honest with you, it’s quite possible to deduce the meaning of this idiom from the words “beyond” and “doubt” alone; however, you couldn’t be 100% sure what it means until you actually learn that it means “without any doubt”. That’s the nature of true English idioms, my friends – you just have to learn their meaning so that you can use them without running the risk of using them in the wrong context. And now you can go ahead and watch the video above where I’m providing a number of example sentences with this particular English idiomatic expression. Watch the video, repeat the phrase “beyond the shadow of a doubt” a good few times so that it gets “wired” into your mouth as a permanent English speech pattern, and you’re good to go! Cheers, Robby ;-)
11 Things English Fluency Has Given Me
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…)
Is It Possible To Improve Your Spoken English By Watching TV?
It’s Normal to Forget English Phrases, Expressions and Collocations!
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! Has it ever crossed your mind that there’s certain English phrases you’ve stopped using? Here’s what made me realize it – when I check back my older blog articles and videos, I come across certain means of expression I don’t really use these days! For instance, when I watch my videos recorded back in 2011, I notice that back then I was using the phrasal verb COME ALONG quite often, and come to think of it, these days I don’t really use it anymore! Here’s another example – when I was updating my Fluency Star website, I read a sentence I’d written a couple of years ago: “… students OUGHT TO be punished…” and it immediately made me remember the TV show Mythbusters where Jamie was using this English auxiliary verb quite often, and I’d picked up that habit from him. Nowadays I don’t really watch Mythbusters anymore, and as a consequence I’ve actually stopped using OUGHT TO in my own English writing and conversations! Now, quite naturally it might beg the question – is this a worrying trend? Should I be concerned that I don’t use certain English means of expression anymore? Is that indicative of worsening English skills? Or maybe it means I have some sort of a memory problem and I should get checked out for an early-onset Alzheimer’s? ;-) Well, it’s not all that bad, my friends! I’m not developing dementia any time soon, and neither are you – forgetting certain English means of expression is totally normal, so please read this article to find out why it happens! (more…)
Did You Realize That Being Tired Affects Your Fluency?
English Idiomatic Expression: “In Full Swing”
How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!
For those foreign English speakers who are big into reading, but still haven’t started reading English literature. If you think achieving English reading fluency requires building huge active English vocabulary first – you’re in a nice surprise! Although I’m generally discussing all things about improving spoken English on my blog, I’m a keen reader too. I have loads of English literature sitting on my book shelves. It covers different topics starting with yoga and meditation and ending with political and economical writings. The biggest part of my books, however, is taken up by historical and fantasy fiction and these genres are my favourite ones. Initially I started reading English in order to improve my overall knowledge of the language. I made a mistake in that I didn’t actually define which aspect of English I needed to focus most on. For some reason or another it wasn’t clear to me that different aspects of English language – reading, understanding, writing and speaking aren’t merged into one big thing called English. I achieved complete English reading fluency but I was perplexed about the fact that my spoken English wasn’t coming along. I haven’t had any regrets for a single second, though, having mastered English reading skill. During the last years I haven’t read a single book in my native language. For the most part it’s because I’ve fallen in love with David Gemmell’s fantasy fiction so much that I’ve read all his books and I re-read them every now and then. And also taking into account I live in an English speaking country it’s not hard to understand why I choose to buy books in the local bookstore. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “To say the least”
Another day – another English idiomatic expression for you to learn! Today’s phrase is “to say the least”, and it’ll come in very handy whenever you need to make a sarcastic comment or you want to drop a polite hint without sounding openly confrontational. Want to listen to some sample sentences? Please watch the video above where I’m providing you with enough information so that you can use this idiomatic expression – “to say the least” – in your daily English conversations! And also make sure to repeat, memorize and use this phrase in your daily spoken English practice. It’s the only way you’ll add such and similar phrases to your active vocabulary. Why active vocabulary is so important for us, foreign English speakers? Read this article to find out more! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
Importance of Letting It Go!
English Idiomatic Expression: “You may want to…”
Have you heard this popular English phrase – “You may want to (do something)”? It’s used by English speakers worldwide, and it’s very handy to have it in your active phraseology because of the following reasons: You can use it instead of “you should…” but you don’t want to sound as if you’re giving orders; You want to give someone unsolicited advice but you don’t want to fall out with them in case the other person doesn’t take well to being told what to do! Basically the phrase “You may want to…” can be used if you want to come across as a friendly person and you want to avoid any miscommunication that might potentially cause a negative reaction to what you’re saying. To find out more – and also to hear some examples in this phrase in use – please watch the video above! I hope you’ll find this video useful, and also don’t forget to repeat and memorize the phrase – that’s the only way you can add it onto your active vocabulary. And did I say “you may also want to come up with some sample sentences on your own using the phrase “you may want to” and use them in your spoken English self-practice session?” ;-) Chat soon, Robby
4 Reasons Why You Can’t Compare the Average Foreign English Speaker With a Small Child in a Native Speaking Family
Do You Get Intimidated by Eloquent English Speakers? You Shouldn’t!
One evening while on my way home from work I was listening to an evening chat show where some Irish-American was analyzing the aftermath of the last American presidential election and its effect on the Republican Party. And here’s the funny thing: Even though I understood EVERY SINGLE WORD he was saying, I couldn’t really figure out what exactly he’s trying to say! Every sentence he uttered was very vague; it was as if he was saying EVERYTHING AND NOTHING at the same time… After his interview, I realized that he was basically trying to convey the following: the Republican Party are still slow to embrace the fast-changing ethnic composition of the American population, and in his view it was one of the decisive factors as to why Mitt Romney lost the presidential election to Barack Obama. It took him 5 minutes or more to explain something so simple, and I can’t think of a more fitting English idiom to describe what he was doing than the following: he was beating around the bush! :grin: He was using super-sophisticated industry lingo. He was rephrasing a single concept many times over and he was repeating the same things all over and over again. I was starting to feel lost while trying to make sense of the tangled mess that his speech was! :mad: Some time ago such an experience would have made me feel very bad as a foreign English speaker because I would have started doubting my own English skills: “My English isn’t good enough because I can’t make out what he’s saying…” “He speaks so fluently and he’s using all these means of expression so professionally… I’ll never be able to speak like him!” Such and similar thoughts would be crossing my mind, but now I know better than start beating myself over not being able to replicate such a seemingly eloquent speech. In fact, now I wouldn’t even want to be able to speak like that, because not only would I be confusing people who are listening to me but also myself! I’d rather say a lot with fewer words than use a never-ending cascade of verbal content which is going to overwhelm my conversation partner or listener and make them acutely aware of their inability to match up to my train of thoughts. How about you? Are you often feeling inferior to some very eloquent English speaker? Are you admiring their ability to use sophisticated language? Is it making your English skills pale in comparison? Then keep reading this article and you may just change your mind! ;-) (more…)
It’s OK Not to Be Able to Understand Specific English Accents
Hello my dear foreign English speakers and also of course any native English speaker who happens to be watching my video or listening to my English Harmony podcast! Anyway, no matter what your background is, you're all welcome back to English Harmony. And in today's episode I'm going to talk about listening comprehension and the related issues. And to be more specific, it's going to be about foreign English speakers' ability to understand what native speakers are saying. And as you can imagine this is where the accent comes into play, right? But before we start actually getting into the nitty gritty of the subject, let me just share some of my latest experiences with you. As you may know, I've been attending a computer course for the last 6 weeks or so and just to let you know, the course is based in Dublin and I live in a region called Kildare. It's actually a county. That's how regions are called in Ireland, right? I live in Ireland, just for those unaware. And I have to travel about 60 kilometers from Kildare to Dublin every day. And the thing is, Kildare people speak differently from the Dubliners, right? Dublin people have a very distinct accent, right? The fact of the matter is - even Kildare people have accents on their own but it's just that I've been living among them for the last 13 years, so I am very well used to their ways of speaking, right? So it doesn't present me any difficulties whatsoever to understand what Kildare people are saying. (more…)
Don’t Try to Speak in English as if You Were Writing!
Many of us, foreign English speakers, learnt the English language as a written language due to the specific nature of academic English curriculum which emphasizes a student’s ability to read and write well. Spoken fluency is being neglected, and as a result our minds adopt what I like to call a ‘writing mode’. It’s when you’re so used to writing and working with English grammar textbooks, that it’s become your second nature to plan grammatically correct sentences in your head before actually speaking them out loud :!: As a result, your English fluency suffers because you find it hard to: Speak spontaneously and fluently (your speech preparation prevents that!) Use new English words and expressions (fear of making mistakes works against it!) Simply enjoy having a conversation with someone in English (you’re too anxious to say it all correctly!) Watch the video above to see how to make a smooth transition from the ‘writing mode’ of you mind into a ‘speaking mode’ so that you can speak fluently and confidently! (more…)
4 Reasons Why Any Foreign English Speaker Should Read English Fiction
Native English Speakers Won’t Use Perfect Future Tenses – And You Should Avoid Them Too!
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! If you’re a really diligent English student and you’re into the advanced English grammar stuff, chances are that you’ve learned about the Future Perfect Tenses at some stage and most likely you’ve been using them in your speech. Just to remind everyone what these Future Perfect Tenses are all about: I WILL HAVE finishED writing this article by the noon. I WILL HAVE BEEN livING in Ireland for 14 years this August. The first sample sentence represents the Future Perfect Tense which is formed by using WILL HAVE and the verb adopts the Past Participle form -ED, and the second one is the Future Perfect Progressive Tense where you have to use WILL HAVE BEEN and the verb changes to the Present Participle form -ING. So far, so good, right? Well, not really. In theory, this is how these grammar tenses are formed, and the English grammar book will tell you to use them in situations when you refer to a particular event or an ongoing action that’s going to be finished at some stage in the future. Except that these tenses aren’t actually used in real life! If you take a closer look at the previous paragraph where I’m describing the purpose of the Future Perfect Tenses, you’ll notice that I’m not actually using Future Perfect. I’m not saying – “… action that WILL HAVE BEEN finished..” Instead, I’m opting for something much simpler, something that most native English speakers would go for – “… action that’s GONNA BE finished…”! Now, am I saying that these Future Perfect Tenses are NEVER used? Am I saying that you shouldn’t bother with them AT ALL? Well… YES! That’s exactly what I’m getting at, my friend foreign English speaker! You should avoid using these Future Perfect Tenses at all costs because it will: Make your English speech sound unnatural, Confuse you when you’re speaking, Prevent you from fitting in with native English speakers! So, would you like to learn how to avoid using Future Perfect and what to use instead? Well, just keep reading this article, my friends, and I’m going to reveal my best-kept secrets to you! (more…)
Don’t Use Subtitles in Your Native Language!
English Fluency Doesn’t Mean Being Able To Speak About EVERYTHING
I’d be totally lost if you started talking with me about herbal medicine, carpentry or car tuning and modification. On the other hand, I’d have a comfortable conversation with someone who’s dealing with knitwear because I’ve been working in a knitwear factory for well over three years now and I know the manufacturing process inside out! Do you see where I’m coming from? You can’t expect anyone to speak equally well about any given topic in English because every person’s profile is different :!: I would find it difficult to name but a few popular flowers such as roses, daffodils and tulips. Some other foreign English speaker working in a flower farm could probably name any possible flower that can be seen in a flower shop! And it’s not just limited to specific industry terms. If you started bombarding me with the latest news from the English Premier League, nearly all of that information would be lost on me because I’m not into soccer. Well, if you were patient with me and took time to explain little details and everything, then yes, of course I’d understand. It’s just that when I hear other guys discuss soccer at work, I don’t even try to follow their conversations – let alone trying to take part in the discussion! I mean – what’s the point in pretending to be a know-it-all if I actually don’t know much about this or that particular subject? (more…)
Why Should You Improve Your English Spelling Every Day?
English Idiomatic Expression: “When it comes to…”
If Someone Keeps Asking “Do You Understand Me?” – You May Indeed Run Into Fluency Issues!
In today’s video I’m discussing a particular experience I had with my plumber recently. So, here’s the setup. I’m a foreign English speaker having some issues with my heating system at home. I’m ringing the company who delivered my stove to come over and inspect the heating system. A native English speaking plumber arrives the next day and we’re having a conversation about the issues I’m having. As you know, I’m a fluent English speaker (no bragging – I’m merely stating a fact!), so you’d think there would be no problems with getting the message across and being understood by a native English speaker, right? Well, that’s right – everything I was saying, the plumber understood perfectly! The main problem of the communication, however, was him saying at the end of each sentence: DO YOU UNDERSTAND ME? :mad: (more…)