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.

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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!

English Idiomatic Expression “To Happen To (Be)”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WvhDeao5LU Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! Have you ever heard anyone say things like: Thank God I HAPPENNED TO BE there – otherwise who knows how it all would have ended? You won’t believe me – I HAPPENNED TO BE in the same hotel as Justin Bieber! I don’t think it was a cosmic coincidence – he merely HAPPENNED TO have gone to the same college with her sister… … and you’ve been wondering why people use the English verb “to happen” in this particular context? Why don’t they just say: Thank God I was there… I was in the same hotel… He went to the same college…? (more…)

Should We Make Sure Everything We Say Is Grammatically Super-correct? My Opinion on Correct English!

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: Hi guys, it's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video we're going to discuss the correctness of the English language. And the fact of the matter is that there's so many things that we say in our English conversations that would be considered as incorrect if we went by the textbook English grammar rules. And if you paid particular attention to the last sentence - I said something incorrectly! I said “there's so many things” whereas in reality I should have said “there are so many things” because the noun “things” obviously is in plural in this case so the verb “to be” should have been conjugated to reflect that, I should have said “there are so many things”. And this is just one of those examples where something that's incorrect, it has been accepted in the general public and everyone speaks like that and there's nothing wrong with it. So it begs the question and as a matter of fact this particular phrase “it begs the question – to beg a question” has also been criticized as being incorrect English, right? In reality we should say “it raises a question”. But this phrase “it begs a question” is also used by everyone. And I would say that it actually makes it correct. (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 19- Age

This article is part of the 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course. Sign up here to get every lesson in your inbox for free: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/28/1528169428.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-gh9mm2tmz")); Helloooo everybody out there, How are you all doing today? Now please don’t mind, but how old are you? 23? 18? Or 45? Whatsoever your age may be, it’s never too late to learn anything, be it spoken English or any other skill. I think age is just a number, isn’t it? (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 20- Fair-weather Friend

Planning Your Answer Goes a Long Way: How to Answer Unexpected Questions

Here’s one of the biggest problems I’ve been facing myself over the years when dealing with other English speakers: Sometimes they ask you a question you don’t really expect or you don’t have an opinion on, and as a result you struggle to deliver an immediate response! What’s even worse – more often than not your inability to deliver an immediate answer to that question will be mistaken for inability to find the right words to say (basically they’ll assume your English vocabulary isn’t sufficient), but it’s obviously not the case if you simply haven’t thought about that subject before! Let’s assume for argument’s sake you’re walking down the street and you’re suddenly approached by some charity worker trying to talk people into signing up for a monthly direct debit in aid for a particular charity organization – it has happened to me on numerous occasions and I’m sure you’ve fallen victim to those agents as well! Well, not that I have something against charity as such, it’s just that I don’t like the idea of signing up for yet another monthly payment from my bank account! I always tell those people I wouldn’t mind donating a fiver for a good cause, but the answer is always the same – “We can’t accept any cash, it’s not how our organization works and so on.” Anyhow, let’s say you’re suddenly stopped by one of those fellas or girls and you’re being bombarded by a substantial amount of information at once: “Hello mister, do you have a few moments to listen me out? I’m representing organization X – have you ever heard of us? - and we’re helping Y – I’m sure you’ve heard about problems surrounding Y lately - and we depend on people just like you to keep providing these essential services, and…” At this moment in time there’s a number of different lines of thoughts starting in your mind: “Do I have time to talk to this person or I don’t? Do I actually feel comfortable speaking with him?” “Organization X? Yeah, I kind of recognize the name, but I’m not sure…” “Helping Y? That’s a really good cause, but should I ask him if all my money would go towards Y or organization X are keeping some of it for themselves?” … and so on and so forth. All these thoughts happening at once might make your response almost impossible, let alone allowing you to deliver a well thought-through answer! You might start saying something nonsensical, you might make some really stupid mistakes and the agent might think that your English is so bad that you can’t come up with anything reasonable to say! Well, not that you should care too much about others’ opinion anyway, it’s just that I guess you’d wish you could manage such situations better and form logical answers, wouldn’t you? Then read the rest of this article and you’ll find out how EXACTLY you have to PLAN your answers on occasions when you’re bombarded with all different types of questions or you’re asked something unexpected very suddenly! (more…)

Words to start a sentence – 35 Perfect Ways of Starting Sentences in English!

Using Past Participles As Adjectives vs Passive Voice

It’s not my job to explain what English Passive Voice is all about, and how it’s constructed. After all, once you’re reading my blog, most likely you fall under the category of advanced English speakers, and you already know that Passive Voice is formed by using the verb ‘to be’ followed by Past Participle of the main verb - “A huge amount of money was stolen from our shop today”. Passive voice is used when the object is unknown or it’s irrelevant to know who’s behind the action; all emphasis is put on the action itself – “money was stolen”. The very same English Tenses are used in the Passive Voice as in the Active Voice – Simple Tenses and Perfect Tenses - and the usage of both Passive and Active Voices is governed by the same rules. So, “Someone seals up the box” and “The box is sealed up” (general statements) are equivalent expressions in the same way as “Someone has sealed up the box” and “The box has been sealed up” (describing a finished action) are. I noticed a long time ago, however, that in conversational English it’s not as straightforward as it may seem if you just look at the Passive and Active Tenses comparison table. I would hear quite often that the Simple Present form in the Passive Voice – “The letter is written” - is used instead of the Present Perfect one – “The letter has been written” - despite the fact that the proper way of expressing the completeness of the process would be by using the Present Perfect Tense… This phenomenon was bothering me for a long time because I used to translate from my native language when speaking English and on many occasions I just couldn’t decide which of the two options I should go for :mad: (more…)

Learn Pronunciation by Equating English Sounds to Your Native Language!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzs2YgGuwFk Hello everyone! ;-) Today let’s touch upon some English pronunciation related topic, namely - how you learn pronunciation of new English words and how to mimic the original pronunciation to the best of your benefit when you are trying to speak them out loud. And here's a very interesting situation I encountered a few days ago at work. There’s a Polish girl in my workplace who's only learning to speak English and she asks me questions through her friend whose English is much better and every day I have to answer a few questions in relation to how you say this or that particular thing in English or how you pronounce a certain word or phrase. The other day, she asked me through her friend how to pronounce the word "drank" and then, to my big surprise, she repeated in perfect English "drank" and guess what happened? I tried to think of why she didn't make the typical mistake that so many foreign English speakers do when they read an English word letter by letter and then they would most likely say something like "drrrank" in case that particular language has the rolling ‘R’, as in my language. In Latvian, we roll the ‘R’s and many native counterparts of mine would have said "drrrank" with a rolled ‘R’ sound! So in this particular case Polish is a Slavic language, which is quite close to Russian. And it happens so that I speak Russian too and I know for a fact that all these languages have the rolling ‘R’s - so why did she not say, "drrrank"? Why'd she say "drank" in perfect English? Here’s why: she equated the English sounds to her native Polish sounds because she wasn’t looking at a written word but was simply trying to MIMIC what she heard! (more…)

My Honest Opinion on Developing English Listening Skills

I hate when I’m told what I didn’t ask for, and so do most people for that matter. Let’s say for instance, I walk into a drug-store and ask for slimming pills because I’m fed up with my extra weight and I want to look more masculine. The pharmacist starts telling me that I should start engaging in some physical activities, eat a balanced diet and use the pills only as a supplement. Would I listen to him? Nope! All that rant about a balanced diet and a workout regime simply wouldn’t register with me because I want the damn slimming pills which will give me the kind of a body I’m dreaming of, right? Same goes with most advice we get in life – it’s very hard to change our beliefs and opinions just because someone tries to convince us of something. Basically it boils down to this – we often hear what we want to hear, and we just screen off everything else - unless we’re really trying to analyse the matter at hand and we have an open mind while doing so :!: For example, I’ve been blogging about English fluency development for years on end, and I always point out the following things: To speak fluent English we need to engage in HEAVY SPEAKING PRACTICE, there are no magic shortcuts! Passive English immersion will mostly develop our understanding – NOT OUT ABILITY TO SPEAK! You can’t listen your way to fluency, you need to speak in order to train your mouth and mind to work together! Still there are many English teachers out there preaching the importance of English listening practice. Some even claim that first we have to spend all our time listening just like babies do, and then we’ll be able to start speaking… Now I’ll adopt the role of the pharmacist trying to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear – but I’ll give it a shot nonetheless! (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 14- Angry and Irritated?

English Fluency Q & A – 17 September 2016 – Ask Robby!

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! In today's video I'm going to respond to a number of e-mails sent by my blog readers, and here's exactly what I'm addressing in this video: How heeding to my advice about using SIMPLE VOCABULARY helped one of my blog readers to succeed at a job interview which resulted in securing a job 1:00 - 3:15 Is trying to build huge vocabulary and phraseology going to help overcome an English fluency issue whereby the person in question keeps constantly second-guessing themselves when speaking in English? 3:20 - 9:50 Studying English grammar for 20 years - and still can't speak in English! 9:50 - 11:05 Struggling with English Tenses and modifying English sentences 11:15 - 13:05 Robby P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!

Do You Force Native English Accent When Speaking?

Just to Let You Know I’m Still HERE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFloterSVOc Hi Guys! ;-) Just to give you a quick update on what I'm doing now and why I haven't published any videos lately - I'm busy as hell preparing new content for the website, and I want to make sure there's plenty of articles lined up for publishing. Soon enough you'll start hearing more often from me, and I promise you this - all the videos and articles I'm preparing are going to be really useful and actionable! Chat to you soon, Robby

English Idiomatic Expression: “To Cross One’s Mind”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEyblFfdt5U I got up today and it crossed my mind that I hadn’t made any English idiomatic expression videos lately! So, I edited this one and as you can see it’s about the expression I used in the previous sentence – “To cross one’s mind”. This idiomatic expression is just another way of saying that you’ve just got an idea, that you’ve just thought of something. “What’s the difference then?” – you may ask. “Don’t ask unnecessary questions; just accept English as it is!” – is my answer (read more about it HERE). I strongly believe that there’s no need to try to figure out what EXACTLY is the difference between this or that particular English expression. I would say that “It just crossed my mind” and “I just thought of something” is almost the same, and I don’t need to delve deeper into the intricacies of the English language for everyday conversation purposes. (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…)

The ONLY 3 English Grammar Rules You Need to Know to Speak Fluent English

Spoken English Topics and Technical Aspects of Spoken English Exercising

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TULSesfUYJs Find It Hard to Do Spoken English Practice? Write It Down First! This video is a follow-up to the last video episode which was about the importance of practising spoken English with yourself in case you’ve got no-one to talk to! After the last episode I received quite a few e-mails asking what topics you can discuss with yourselves. I’ve come to realize that it’s not that easy for everyone to think of something to talk about so I decided to dedicate today’s video episode to various topics you can use as source of inspiration to kick-start your English practicing routine. But before you even attempt practicing English with yourself, you should remember the following. Don’t try to talk about something that is detached from reality. Don’t try to convince yourself that you should speak about something that you don’t actually take any interest in :!: A typical example of this would be taking some English learning material and reading a certain topic and then trying to create a monologue around that topic. Well, you may succeed and have a nice chat with yourself about, say, concepts of time and distance, and similar. On most occasions however, if you try to create a monologue around something that isn’t relevant for you personally, the chances are that you’ll find the very idea of such speech practicing very boring and you’ll give up after a while! :-( So the most important piece of advice to anyone who decides to engage in regular English monologues is the following – talk about something that reflects your interests, your personal and professional affairs, generally speaking – your life! And now let’s look at particular spoken English topics you can always count on not be become boring! (more…)

You Shouldn’t Learn Irregular Verbs This Way: Bring – Brought – Brought

Translation from English is Bad For Your Fluency + Example From My Early Days as a Teacher

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbIQHzOpcAU VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW Hi guys and welcome back to EnglishHarmony.com video blog! I’m Robby from EnglishHarmony.com, obviously, and in this video episode, we’re going to touch upon a subject that we’ve spoken about many times before, namely - the fact that you don’t have to translate from English into your native language and vice versa while getting involved in English improving related activities. Obviously, we’ve spoken about it at length previously so I’m not going to get into the reasons why you shouldn’t be doing that.  By now, they should be quite obvious to you but for those who haven’t watched my videos in the past and haven’t visited my website probably, let me tell you just one thing. If you translate, you can’t speak fluently because your mind is too preoccupied with dealing with all the grammar related issues and basically creating sentences from scratch in your mind, instead of speaking spontaneously and that’s what fluent speech is all about. In relation to the whole ‘don’t translate’ subject, I’m going to bring up an example of what happens when people try to translate, and it happened years ago. (more…)

Do You Speak English Enough? You’ve Gotta Speak ALL THE TIME!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLvjnC515co Are you immersed into the English language 27/7/365 - meaning you are married to an English speaker or you only go out with other English speakers? If so - great, your spoken English is probably good enough and you don't really have any fluency related issues! ;-) IF your English exposure is limited, however, you just HAVE to do some additional spoken English practicing, there's no doubt about that as it's been proven by my personal experience. What am I talking about here? Well - watch the video above and you'll find out EXACTLY what I'm on about here: * my history as a failed English speaker * importance of a daily spoken English practice to keep your fluency sharp * why MOUTH for you is the most important body part! Stay fluent, stay confident, and all kinds of comments welcome here! Robby ;-)

80/20 Rule – You Have To Be Selective About What You Learn!

If Someone Keeps Asking “Do You Understand Me?” – You May Indeed Run Into Fluency Issues!

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…)

The Single Biggest Culprit Causing Foreigners’ Speech Anxiety

Different Types of English Speakers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGm5-lkaBMk

FGC Goal #1: American Idiomatic Expression #14: IT STANDS TO REASON

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv7kr3EeaeA Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Hi my friends foreigners! :grin: Here’s my fourteenth American English phrase, and IT ONLY STANDS TO REASON I’ve started feeling a bit overwhelmed by this whole 50 American phrase mission for the simple reason that pretty much my entire time is taken up by video recording and editing! Now, the above sentence is probably going to merit some criticism by perfectionists because the word “reason” is repeated a couple of times in it. (more…)