Put Yourself in a Position of Power: Don’t Be Sorry for Your Mistakes!
I receive regular inquiries about English fluency improvement, and many of those e-mails contain the same sentence “I’m sorry for my bad English” or “I’m sorry for my mistakes”. And the funny thing is, not all of those e-mails are riddled with errors, some of them are written in very good English, so obviously it’s the writer’s confidence that needs a little bit of an improvement, not so much their English! Of course, I’m also getting inquiries from beginning English learners and in some of those e-mails it’s obvious where that person has struggled to pick the right word and where the sentence structure isn’t probably as good as that of an intermediate or an advanced English speaker. Still, it’s not a reason good enough to apologize for your English. No matter what level you’re at, you have to focus on what you CAN say or write instead of focusing on what you CAN’T! (more…)
What’s the Best Way to Go About Shadowing English Videos?
English Collocation: “Sparked Heated Debates”
Do You Find Certain English Grammar Constructs TOO DIFFICULT To Learn? Try This Easy 3 Step Plan!
Hello my friends foreign English speakers! Have you ever found certain grammar constructs too difficult to understand and learn? Welcome to the club! I guess I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that this is something that all foreign English speakers have in common, and even if you don’t feel that way now, there’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand, mimic and use in your own conversations. Let’s just take the sentence from the paragraph above and examine it a little: “There’s definitely been a time in your life when you’ve found this or that particular English sentence hard to understand.” Now, would you be comfortable with using a similar grammar construct in your own speech? Are you often saying things such as “There have been similar situations when I’ve…” or “There’s been only one time when I’ve…”? If your answer is positive – well done! Your spoken English is seemingly up to scratch and you may ignore the rest of this article because you don’t need my help splitting English sentences in order to make it easier for you to speak them out loud. If, however, you struggle to a smaller or bigger degree with delivering similar seemingly complex constructs when speaking and you find it hard to wrap your head around sentences similar to this one: “Why is it that when Martin’s been out partying you don’t say anything yet had I stayed out all night long you would have killed me?”, you definitely have to read the rest of this blog post! ;-) (more…)
Is English Language Taking Over?
Here’s the dilemma – any language changes over time and can potentially become extinct. It’s part of natural cycle – nothing lasts forever. Yet, when I hear my daughters using English syntax when speaking our native language, it saddens me a lot. I know it’s not their fault that I chose to move to Ireland eight years ago. It’s not their fault that they can’t read and write Latvian properly. After all, we’re living in an English speaking country and they’re completely immersed in English environment. So tell me – should I be fighting for my national background’s preservation at all costs or should I allow things to take natural course? It’s not impossible that I won’t hear my grandchildren use my native tongue – but then there’s thousands of foreigners in Ireland who choose not to use their native language at home at all! Well, I don’t think it’s right speaking English at home despite having your own language – you shouldn’t be denying your national identity no matter what. Once you’re born Egyptian, Ukrainian, Spaniard, or Filipino, you’ll always remain as such. But as for the younger generation… What’s the use of teaching them the native writing and reading if they won’t use it anyway? They can speak with their parents and relatives in the native tongue – fair enough! But why would I want my children to be able to use our language fully? They read and write English only anyway! (more…)
How Words Hook Up With Each Other in Spoken English
English Collocation: The Worst Case Scenario
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlQEewQET5I Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers :!: In today’s English Idiomatic Expression video we’re going to look at the following collocation: THE WORST CASE SCENARIO. It’s a way native English speakers (and also fluent foreign English speakers, of course!) refer to the worst possible turn of events, and traditionally we discuss such possibilities when: Trying to persuade someone to do something (Common, why are you afraid to go to the event, the worst case scenario is you being asked a question, and it’s no big deal really!) Discussing the various eventualities and trying to prepare for the worst (So, the worst case scenario is the whole computer network going down, see we need to buy another backup server!) Want to find out more about this particular English collocation? Then watch the video above (or listen to the audio just above the video!) and don’t forget to use this new English collocation in your own English conversations! Regards, Robby ;-)
How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!
English Phrasal Verb “To Pull Off”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j33HVSejemE “To pull off” is a very handy, informal way of saying “to manage to do something”. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, you’re witnessing an incredible feet being accomplished. Let’s imagine that you’re working out in a gym with your friend and he does a 150 pound bench press which is totally off the charts! Now, the natural question you want to ask your friend is the following: “Hey dude, that was crazy, how did you pull it off?!” This phrasal verb can also be used when someone is engaged in some risky undertaking and their venture ends with success; basically what I’m talking about here is doing something risky and managing to do it without getting caught. (more…)
English Improvement Trend & Inevitable Fluency Fluctuations – Why Is It Happening to Me?
Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First!
Becoming Fluent in English While Living in Your Home Country is Impossible… Or Is It?
If you spend about half an hour browsing articles and videos on this blog, you’ll learn pretty quickly that I’m all about doing loads of self-practice in order to improve the level of spoken English – this is the single biggest contributor to my own fluency improvement and that of my students as well. For most people, when coming across this approach for the first time, this may sound really weird, and it takes some time to get used to the concept of speaking in English without a conversation partner. Once they realize though, that this type of practice is in fact no different to speaking with others, they embrace it and their spoken English experiences a rapid improvement. (more…)
Does Integration of Foreigners into English Speaking Society Work?
Have you ever heard a statement that people are inherently lazy? Personally I believe it to be true, more or less. I believe that humans will put the minimum amount of effort into achieving their desired goal in any aspect of life. There are always exceptions to the rule, of course. By and large though, human beings will do everything to avoid engaging in activities that they don’t find entertaining or which don’t result in a direct, tangible benefit. Are you outraged by my claims? Don’t be! I meant no offence to anyone, I merely stated the obvious. They even argue that human laziness is the driving force behind the development of technology! We just got tired of walking and running around, so one day we thought – hold on, why not use some animals to carry us around? In no time we were riding horses, then driving cars – and all that because we’re too lazy to walk! All, right, but what has it got to do with integration of foreign English speakers? Well, if you consider that integration in local English speaking society goes hand in hand with good English communication skills; it’s got everything to do with it! To put it simply – if foreigners aren’t REQUIRED to learn and improve English for PRACTICAL reasons, they won’t do it :!: There you go. I said it! If you want to stone me, you’re free to do it in the comments below. If you’re prepared for an even bigger dose of truth spoken by a Latvian expat living in Ireland – keep reading! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “It Goes Without Saying”
5 Tools to Help You Write Grammatically Correct
No matter what type of text you are writing, grammatical accuracy is a primary requirement. You might have great ideas to share, but they will lose their value if readers stumble upon spelling or grammar mistakes. Luckily, nowadays it’s easier than ever to learn how to write and speak correctly. There are many online resources at hand. Let’s check out five top tools that will help you write properly! Grammarly Proofreader Grammarly is one of the most popular grammar checking apps. It is user-friendly and accessible. How does it work? You simply copy-paste the content in the proofreading window and follow the instructions that will pop up on the right. You will immediately see any grammar and spelling issues and suggestions on how to correct them. Grammarly comes in a free version that is available to anyone. For more benefits, you can also upgrade to the premium version that provides you additional features like Microsoft Word or Outlook Add-on. If you’re busy and always on the move, you can easily correct your discourse accessing this tool on your smartphone. In fact, there are many ways in which your mobile phone can help you improve your language. (more…)
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #1: TELL YOU WHAT!
Incredibly Powerful and Super-Simple Way Of Using Google to Find the Right English Words to Say
It happened this morning. (By the way - Happy Paddy's Day :!: - here you can watch a video I made last year!) I was about to publish yet another tweet on my Twitter account where I’m tweeting the most commonly used English phrases, idioms and collocations. This time around, I wanted to tweet an English idiom “on the off chance” which means “in the unlikely event”: As always, I started writing a sample sentence containing the idiom “on the off chance” – just to give my Twitter followers a general idea of how this particular expression is used. So, I started the sentence with “On the off chance…” and then I was about to continue with a conjunction ‘if’. A split second later it just didn’t seem right, however, that the sentence should be “on the off chance if…” I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling when you say something in English, but it just doesn’t seem right, aren’t you? This “gut feeling” develops along with your English fluency, and it can be explained by highly developed contextual links among English words in your inner vocabulary. Speaking in simple terms, it means you’ve heard and used certain English phrases so many times that you intuitively know in what context they’re normally used. In the example with creating a sentence containing the English idiom “on the off chance”, I intuitively felt that it might not normally be followed by the conjunction ‘if’; it just didn’t sound right. A few nanoseconds later another viable option crossed my mind – ‘that’. The sentence seemed to flow so much better with ‘that’ than ‘if’ – “On the off chance that…” But how to make sure I get it 100% correct? (more…)
How to Use English Verb TO MAKE In a Lot of Different Ways
Take Advantage of People Who Make You Really Fluent in English!
Crash Course in American English Pronunciation & Slang: Interview With Anthony from AmericanAnthony.com!
I’ve been fascinated with all things American since my childhood and it’s also one of the reasons why I started learning the English language at the age of 10. To this day, however, I haven’t mastered the American English pronunciation and I don’t think it’s that important for me personally. Well, considering that I’m living in Ireland it’s hardly surprising I wouldn’t find a practical application for an American accent! :grin: Anyhow, I haven’t made it my goal to speak with a near-native Irish English pronunciation either. You see, I’ve been struggling with my English fluency for years and I’ve actually found that when I try to speak with a native English accent, it may have a detrimental effect on my ability to speak English fluently. Having said that, I often speak with different English accents when I’m on my own. And, truth be told, I’m getting better at it! Still, when I’m speaking with others in real-life, I revert back to my normal foreign accent because it’s easier for me to speak that way. Many foreign English speakers, however, aspire to adopt a certain native English accent such as British or American, and many of them are very successful in doing so. If your dream is to sound like natural American speaker and you believe it’s what you have to do, there’s a person I’d like you to meet – Anthony Krese! He’s an English teacher and on his website called AmericanAnthony.com he focuses on teaching foreign English speakers American slang and accent. In other words – he makes foreigners sound like native American English speakers! In many ways mine and Anthony’s approach to English learning and improving is very similar. We both understand that real-life English is different from the one you’ll learn in textbooks. We also realize that plenty of foreigners lack in the department of socializing skills when it comes to speaking in English in informal settings. And while I believe that my foreign origin is actually an advantage when it comes to advising other foreigners on overcoming English fluency related issues in terms of mental aspects, Anthony has a natural edge of being a native English speaker when teaching how to speak like an American. Therefore I think it’s only fair that I turn to a professional for advice on how to speak with an American accent so that we all can learn some new tips and tricks and take Anthony’s advice on board! So let’s get started! Anthony, here’s the first question for you… (more…)
Common English phrases used in speaking
Make Some Effort to Improve Your English, Will Ya?
Job Seeking for Foreigners: Talking About Your Past, Present and Future
So you’re a non-native English speaker, and you’d like to do one of the following: Move to an English speaking country and find a job there; Find a better job while living in an English speaking country; Find a job in an international company while living in your own country; Get promoted in your current job in an English speaking environment. Congratulations :grin: With making this decision to find a better job you’ve already made the first step towards it, and I can only salute you for your aspirations to further your career and make better life for yourself and your family! Now, tell me what’s the next step you’re going to take in order to follow through with your goal? Update your CV and go for the job interview? Well, sounds like a plan to me – but you can do a little bit more than that to increase your chances of landing the job of your dreams. Remember – most likely you’ll be competing with native English speakers (or other fellow foreigners of yours who’ll be speaking very good English) for the position you’re going for, so you may want to make sure you can talk about virtually ANYTHING you may be asked during the job interview. Having an up-to-date CV and doing some preparation for the interview just won’t cut it, and that’s when preparing to talk about your past, present and future comes into play. (more…)
Don’t Judge Foreign English Speakers by Their Mistakes!
English Idiomatic Expression: “The Big Picture…”
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! Hi guys, hi boys and girls and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog! In today's video we're going to look at the following English idiom: The BIG Picture. Or alternatively, you can say: The Bigger Picture. It doesn't really matter which one you go for, whether you say "The big picture" or "The bigger picture", these two word combinations are pretty much interchangeable, they mean the same thing. Now. In reality when you'll be using the phrase "The big picture" you would be putting it in different contexts, such as: "When looking at the bigger picture" or "If you look at the big picture" or your ability to see the bigger picture, right? You'd be using it in different contexts but the very two-word combination "The big picture" always remains the same and it's very idiomatic by its nature and if you are curious as to what it means, when to use it, how to use it, place bear with me for a few more minutes and everything's gonna become crystal clear to you, I promise! (more…)
Embedded Questions – When Reversing Word Order Isn’t Necessary
FGC Goal #1: American Idiom #33: AT LOOSE ENDS
Want to Improve Your English? Stop Watching TV in Your Language!
Watching TV alone won’t help you to speak fluent English. Yet if you spend most of your time wrapped up in your native language bubble watching TV in your language, you’ll deprive yourself of so much needed passive exposure to the English language which will help you to integrate into the society! To be honest with you, I don’t understand my fellow Latvians and other foreigners living in Ireland who only watch films dubbed in their native languages and opt for different online based solutions to enjoy TV channels from their home countries. You can accuse me of not being a patriot of my nation, but I think it’s plain silly to move to an English speaking country without making any conscious effort of fitting into the local society. Watching TV makes up a big part of our daily lives these days, and if you watch English TV shows and programs and enjoy latest movies in English, over years you’ll absorb an awful lot of new English vocabulary and expressions which will allow you to understand English spoken around you. You’ll also be able to: discuss popular TV programs with your English speaking friends and work colleagues; improve your spoken English by using new phraseology in your daily conversations; develop a sense of belonging among the locals. You don’t have to deny your national background. It’s something no-one will ever take away from you, and personally I spend loads of time with my family, friends and relatives speaking in Latvian and I keep up-to-date with the latest developments in my home country by checking news online etc. Once you’ve made the decision to move to an English speaking country, however, I think it’s only common sense that you keep an open mind, make some effort to fit into the local society, and use the English language as means of achieving it! (more…)
What I’ve Realized Having Lived in an English Speaking Country for 14 Years
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! Related articles: Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion Top 15 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Foreigners Settling Down in an English Speaking Country What To Do If You Can’t Speak With Natives in an English Speaking Country If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me talking about living in Ireland which, as you may already know, is an English speaking country. In hindsight, I can say that it’s been one hell of a transformation – I’ve gone from a foreigner who’s barely capable of speaking conversational English to an English fluency mentor who’s teaching other foreign English speakers. I’ve experienced all the ups and downs one can encounter while living in an English speaking country. I’ve been told I’m a useless English speaker. I’ve been in all sorts of embarrassing situations – starting from not being able to order a meal in McDonald’s and ending with screwing up job interviews because of my inability to provide a coherent answer. But the great thing is that now, with all that experience under my belt, I can tell my students with the utmost certainty what kind of an attitude they need to adopt in order to survive and thrive as English speakers living in an English speaking country. It feels so great being in a position to help out others, and frankly speaking, I don’t regret anything that’s happened to me while I was a struggling English speaker. I like to think that everything that happens, happens for a reason, and I just HAD to endure all the hardship and suffering to emerge a fluent English speaker equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to help others who find themselves in the same boat. But now, let me tell you what I’ve realized over the 14 year long stay in Ireland; as you can imagine, I know a thing or two about life in an English speaking country! (more…)
It’s Normal to Forget English Phrases, Expressions and Collocations!
Spent Years Learning English Words from Newspapers… Then Burned It All to Ashes!
Having a Bad English Day? So Does Everyone From Time to Time!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Couldn’t Put My Finger On It”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD5vuw0kXKU Hello my fellow foreign English speaker! Today’s English idiomatic expression is a real idiom which means you actually have to know what it means or else you won’t know how to use it and you’ll have a hard time understanding what another English speaker means when they say things like “Yes, there’s something weird about the place but I can’t really put my finger on it…” Well… It’s not that it would be impossible to infer the meaning of this expression out of the context alone – in fact, I’ve always been encouraging you guys to acquire new vocabulary and phraseology contextually. It’s just that this particular expression is figurative speech and you have to imagine performing the actual activity – putting your finger onto something – in order to fully understand why this phrase is used. (more…)
12 Reasons Why Spoken English is Just Like Playing a Guitar
You’ve Gotta Be Ignorant to Be a Fluent English Speaker!
Share Your Humiliating English Conversation Experiences & Get Advice!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8P_SxujZQw If you’ve visited my blog at least once, I bet you have some English fluency issues; here are a couple of stories I can share with you so that you fully understand what exactly I’m talking about! ;-) A few years ago I was looking for a new job, and at that time it was quite popular to hold the first round of interviews over the phone – obviously companies didn’t want to waste their time and effort on candidates falling short of the requirements. I’ve had had quite a few phone interviews before this particular one, so when I picked up the phone to hear a woman’s voice asking me if I’m free to talk about the direct sales position I was going for, I felt quite confident that I would perform fairly well! And that’s when it all started going downhill… For some reason I couldn’t understand (now that I’ve dealt with my fluency issues I actually understand it all quite well!) I just couldn’t find the right words to say. I started hesitating, I was stumbling upon words, and I was also making all sorts of stupid grammar mistakes although normally my English was fairly good. It all ended with the interviewer telling me that I should actually improve my English before applying for similar positions… Needless to say, I was mortified and I felt humiliated! :mad: And here’s another situation I found myself in a few years ago. (more…)