Idiomatic Expressions: Why I’m Highlighting Some Bits of Text in Red in My Blog Posts
Here’s the short answer – they’re bits of spoken English any foreign English speaker should know to communicate effectively! They’re word combinations used by native English speakers and by using them you’re going to make your spoken English sound more natural and native-like. English collocations, phrasal verbs and sayings all fall under the broad category of these idiomatic expressions, and to put it simply – you can’t come up with these sort of sayings just by sticking the words together; you have to learn the EXACT phrase or word combination to be able to use it :!: There are also typical full English idioms among them, but I have to admit I have some reservations towards learning certain idioms like “It’s raining cats and dogs” or “pot calling the kettle black.” They are typical English idioms that you’ll find on any decent English idiom list online, yet they’re rarely heard in real life, if at all. My take on the whole English idiom thing (like it’s on spoken English in general) is the following – you don’t need to hammer loads of English idioms in your brain that you’re not going to use. You’d much better off using your potential as a foreign English speaker by learning idiomatic expressions because there’s a much bigger chance you’re going to use them in real life! How about the following ones: “for the argument’s sake”, “to jump to a conclusion”, “fit for the purpose”? These are typical idiomatic expressions that have some characteristics of full idioms, but at the same time it would be possible to derive their meaning from the words alone. Also, they don’t even need to be long phrases to fall under the category of idiomatic expressions. “On target”, “straight away”, “I’m all ears”, “big time” and similar short expressions are the ones that can make a difference between you being perceived a so-so English speaker or quite an advanced one! Not that you should care what others think of you, but still it’s nice to be capable of communicating with native English speakers like an equal, isn’t it? ;-) So to help you with learning these idiomatic expressions, I’ve been highlighting them in my blog posts in red color so that you can immediately see which bits are useful to memorize! (more…)
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“Maze Runner” Series Review: Main Plot & Why I’m So Excited About It!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ed5gD3-Fp5U It happened during the Christmas Holiday Season last year. My daughter gave me a book called “The Maze Runner” because I’d kept asking her for some new book to read. She wasn’t all that excited about that book herself, but I decided to give it a go and see if I find it of any interest. Not that I would have forced myself to finish off that book had it turned out to be a totally nonsensical piece of fiction; I’d never do it for the simple reason that I value my time and I would only ever read books I’m truly drawn in by. Eventually it turned out that “The Maze Runner” is one of the best books I’ve ever read in my life, and I’m really glad I didn’t put this particular book back onto my daughter’s bookshelf just because she wasn’t particularly fond of it herself! (more…)
Concluding 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course
Confusing English Grammar: “Roast” vs “Roasted” Chicken – Can We Use Verb Base Form as an Adjective?
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! It was almost 5 years ago when I published an article about using past participles as adjectives – a typical example of that would be the following statement “the job is done”. Prior to that I was constantly struggling to wrap my head around that concept, the reason being – I couldn’t figure out why there’s two ways of saying the same thing – “the job is done” and “the job has been done”. Initially I just presumed “the job is done” is just a conversational version of “the job has been done”, but soon enough I realized that when you say “the job is done”, you simply use the word “done” as an adjective! It’s pretty much the same way you can say “good job”, but you just use the linking verb “is” to express the idea – “the job is good.” Today’s topic is somewhat similar in that the role of an adjective isn’t only limited to a past participle form of a verb, it can be the very base form of the verb itself! Just like you read in the title of this article, the word “roast” (it’s the base form of the verb “to roast”) can be used instead of the past participle “roasted” to describe the roasted nature of the chicken, thus “roast chicken” is a totally valid English collocation. Hell, collocations such as “roast chicken” and “roast potatoes” are even MORE popular among native English speakers than “roasted chicken” or “roasted potatoes” which may be very confusing to a lot of foreign English speakers! I mean – once you’ve gotten used to the traditional way of describing nouns by using the past participle: Cancelled concert Forgotten purse Lost child … you may think that this rule applies in all situations, so when you come across a collocation such as “open book”, you may get totally confused… (more…)
How To Get Involved When Speaking English
You Won’t Fool a Native English Speaker During a Job Interview So Better Stop Trying!
On certain occasions when you think native English speakers will spot every single one of your mistakes, it’s not really the case for the simple reason that people don’t always pay the utmost amount of attention to what you’re saying. Yes, you may be having a conversation with a native English speaker so you think they’re listening to every single word you’re saying while in reality they may be dwelling upon their own problems and they’re not 100% focused on what you’re saying. If that’s the case, there’s simply no reason for you to be too worked up about your mistakes and other English speech imperfections and you may as well just allow yourself to experiment and improvise during a live speech because there’s nothing really at stake. When you have a very important conversation with a native English speaker, on the other hand, there’s also no point in trying to outperform yourself and sound a whole lot more fluent than you are. When a native English speaker is 100% focused on what you’re saying which would be the case during a job interview, for example, you won’t fool them into believing your English is much, much better just because you’re trying really hard to sound as if you’re speaking just like a native English speaker. Yes, there are certain techniques and methods you can employ in order to sound better during a very stressful conversation such as: Speak in short sentences Focus on what you can say instead of what you can’t Plan your answer instead of jumping right into answering the question The point I’ll be making during this article, however, is the following: As hard as you may try, you won’t fool a native English speaking job interviewer into believing you’re a native English speaker! You’re much better off FOCUSING on talking about your professional background and previous job experience! (more…)
4 Reasons Why Studying English at School Won’t Make You a Fluent English Speaker
Spent Years Learning English Words from Newspapers… Then Burned It All to Ashes!
English Idiomatic Expression: “Run It By Someone”
Best English Phrase Memorization Techniques for Those Who Want to Speak Fluent English
Hello my fellow English language fanatics! ;-) I’ve been publishing videos and articles on this blog for years on end, and if you’ve been following my website for some time you’ll know that my main focus is spoken English development because I write for those foreigners who are struggling to speak fluently while being quite good at other aspects of their English. One of the main aspects of oral fluency development is phraseology acquisition – or if put in simple terms – building your vocabulary of English word combinations and phrases (why am I not talking about individual English words? Read THIS article to find out why!). Spaced repetition is by far the most effective way of learning those phrases, and it’s based on the following simple principles: You repeat a phrase a number of times until it sticks with you and you can repeat it automatically; You review that phrase later on that day, then the following day, and then in a few days’ time. Simple as that! ;-) That’s what I’ve been doing to build my own English phraseology, and that’s what all my customers are doing when improving their English with help of the English Harmony System. One closely related subject that I haven’t touched upon on my blog, however, is different memorization techniques that you might use to memorize your English phraseology even faster and more efficiently, and that’s exactly what I’m going to look at in this article! SIDENOTE: please bear in mind that I’m not going to look at individual English word memorization techniques in this article because by far the best way to acquire new English vocab is by learning it in the CONTEXT which essentially means memorizing entire phrases and sentences is pretty much the only way forward! (more…)
30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 19- Age
Why So Many Foreigners CAN’T Speak Fluent English?
Are you a foreign English speaker? Is your overall English knowledge very good but you struggle to speak English fluently and sometimes you even get stuck for words in the middle of a conversation? Then you may be suffering from the so-called ‘writing mode’ syndrome which is widespread among those foreigners who’ve spent long years learning and studying English mainly by reading and writing! What happens when you spend most of your time learning grammar and filling in gaps in textbooks is the following: your brain gets used to constructing sentences by carefully picking the right English words and arranging them according to grammar rules. It works perfectly when sitting English exams and doing written tests, but when speaking with real people in real life, your mind works in the same ‘writing mode’ and it can’t keep up with the speed of a natural conversation! Lots of English reading won’t help to fix this problem either simply because it builds your passive vocabulary, but when you speak, you utilize your active vocabulary which consists of words, phrases and sentences you can speak without much effort – they have to come out of your mouth by themselves! Are you eager to find out how to make the transition from this terrible ‘writing mode’ into a ‘speaking mode’ and stop preparing speech in your head all the time? (more…)
How to Use English Verb TO MAKE In a Lot of Different Ways
How to Reduce Clauses to Phrases in English Sentences
My last article for English Harmony was about when you can and can’t omit relative pronouns such as “who” and “that” from sentences. What we concluded is that you can omit the pronoun when it acts as an object, as in the sentence below: The dog (that) Mary is petting has brown fur. (The relative pronoun “that” is optional here.) But you cannot omit the pronoun when it acts as a subject, as in this sentence: The dog that is eating a biscuit has brown fur. However, astute reader Juhapekka pointed out that in examples like the above sentence, you can’t omit only the pronoun, but you can omit the pronoun plus the form of “to be” (in this case, “is”): The dog eating a biscuit has brown fur. (This is a well-formed sentence!) This introduces an entirely new topic in English grammar called clause-to-phrase reduction. This article will explore clause-to-phrase reduction, explain how and why it happens, and hopefully make the mysterious world of English grammar a little bit less confusing. (more…)
SHOCKING: Drinking Impedes Your Ability to Speak Fluent English!
Actually I don’t think that the effects of alcohol on your ability to speak in English fluently is any more shocking than the fact that drinking affects pretty much any area of your physical performance. Driving. Walking in a straight line. Picking something off the floor (and missing the item by an inch because you have an impaired ability to judge the distance between your hands and other objects…) Basically when you have a couple of drinks in you, your ability to perform physical tasks starts declining, I guess everyone will agree on that with me! “But surely my ability to socialize with other English speaking people should improve when I’ve had a couple of drinks!” – you may say. “In most social situations I’m on the shy side, so especially considering that I have problems with confidence when speaking in English, wouldn’t it actually make sense to be slightly intoxicated so that I’d get rid of any emotional hindrances preventing me from communicating with others in English freely?!” – probably this is what you’re thinking right now. Well… I don’t know about you, but here are my experiences with consuming alcohol and trying to speak in English: (more…)
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 I Started Speaking Fluent English by Pretending to be a Gangster
Happy New Year 2017 From English Harmony!
Happy New Year 2017 my friends foreign English speakers and all my followers! I’m wishing you a very happy, prosperous and successful New Year! Personally for me this last year has been very challenging and full of surprises, but I can proudly say that I accomplished what I set out to do and I secured a job in the IT sector as a foreign English speaker. Have you got similar dreams and ambitions? Do you feel like you’re kind of stuck and you would really like to change things? Do you plan to move to an English speaking country to study? Do you finally want to find a better job where you can realize your full potential and also use the English language? Or maybe you want to start your own YouTube channel about a specific topic and publish videos as a foreign English speaker? Everything is possible. EVERYTHING! Just set your goal for the year 2017, come up with a simple action plan and follow through with it. It really is THAT simple my friends! Have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017! Your English fluency coach, Robby ;-)
Passive English Input Isn’t Going to Improve Your Ability to Speak!
What You Can Learn from My Countryman’s Adventures in Britain’s Got Talent
I want you to meet Gatis Kandis – he’s my fellow countryman and recently he was taking part in Britain’s Got Talent where he was doing stand-up comedy. He got through to semi-finals and while he got the first YES from the judges for the wrong reasons (he was branded by Simon Cowell as the funniest unfunniest comedian which I don’t think was true), there’s a great deal we can learn from him, and that’s why I decided to dedicate a whole article on my blog to him! First of all, he’s pursuing his dream of becoming a stand-up comedian while being a foreigner living in an English speaking country. It definitely took some courage and dedication to get onto the stage for the first time without knowing what the public reaction is going to be, but obviously it didn’t deter him from doing it. Secondly, there are always those who’ll point out a foreigner’s accent and mistake it for lack of English skills or whatever. I’m still getting the same treatment on certain occasions because of my own accent, and I’ve learnt a long time ago that ignorance is the only way to deal with it – obviously Gatis has adopted the same approach and it’s paying off big time! (more…)
Information Overload: How To Stop Thinking TOO MUCH When Speaking English!
Just Because You Have English Textbooks Doesn’t Mean You Possess That Knowledge!
Start Using English Contractions If You Haven’t Already Done So!
From time to time I encounter some sort of a written piece in English that’s hard to read for the simple reason that the author of that piece isn’t using contractions. The moment I start reading the letter, e-mail or an article – whichever is the case – the full verb in its entirety, where it should just read its contraction after an apostrophe, is just standing out like a sore thumb. Just compare the following two sentences which are just two versions of the same e-mail sent by Jimmy: “Hello Jane, I’m writing to let you know that I’ve managed to squeeze in the items that hadn’t been delivered so they’ll be arriving tomorrow.” “Hello Jane, I AM writing to let you know that I HAVE managed to squeeze in the items that had NOT been delivered so they WILL be arriving tomorrow.” (more…)
Why Are We Always Trying to Speak Too Fast in 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, hello boys and girls, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! Today guys I wanted to share something with you. A revelation that I had when I was driving in the car to college this morning, right? As it always happens I was speaking with myself practicing my spoken English. As you may know by now that's how I roll, that's how I maintain a high standard of my English fluency. And I was thinking about the fact that so many of us foreigners are trying to speak too fast, okay? And it's a mistake number one that I come across time and time again whenever I start teaching a new batch of Fluency Star students I witness the same thing again and again. People are trying to speak too fast, okay? And I've written about it in the past, obviously years ago I wrote a blog post about not comparing yourself with others. And back then I knew only too well that the desire to speak just like the other person does is the biggest pitfall for you guys, right? That's when you start comparing yourself with the other person and that's what brings about all these fluency issues. If you didn't have the comparison in place and you only focused on your own performance, it would be so much easier, so much better to maintain your fluency and to work on your spoken English, right? (more…)
5 Tools to Help You Write Grammatically Correct
Everyone Says My English is Good Enough… But It ISN’T!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQSVTIJd5NU I got contacted by a guy living in the US recently, and he said in his e-mail that quite often he finds himself in situations when he can’t have a normal small-talk conversation with native English speakers DESPITE having been told by a lot of English teaching professionals that his English is almost perfect. So basically the problem can be defined the following way: Everyone says my English is good enough, but I know for a fact that it ISN’T! This may sound like an attempt to be super-perfect (it’s as if the person in question is saying that his or her English is never going to be good enough), but in reality it happens to a lot of foreign English speakers due to reasons other than having very high standards when it comes to English acquisition. The reasons are as follows: (more…)
English Fluency Questions Answered: Q & A Session With Robby
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…)
33 Word Shortenings Any Foreign English Speaker Should Know!
Should We Make Sure Everything We Say Is Grammatically Super-correct? My Opinion on Correct English!
Antonio Banderas’s Spanish Accent – So, Is His English NOT Fluent?
Are you one of those folks who thinks that in order to speak English fluently one needs to develop a near-native English pronunciation? Then watch this interview with Antonio Banderas – even a small piece will do - and think about the initial question once more. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LgTKmRkLuM So, what do you think? Would you describe his English as not being fluent? Has his distinct Spanish accent prevented him from becoming one of the most successful Hollywood actors? Obviously not :!: So, why is ACCENT such a bid deal for so many people? Why so many other foreigners and native English speakers alike still hold the view that foreigners definitely need to reduce their accent if they want to come across as fluent English speakers? Well… The answer lies within a stereotype of a struggling foreign English speaker who speaks in broken English AND has a distinct accent. The reverse statement – anyone who has a distinct accent speaks broken English – isn’t always true, but it doesn’t prevent people from believing it. Why, we human beings are notorious to holding to wrong beliefs, and this is definitely not the only one out there! How about the following: Antonio Banderas gets away with his accent because of his good looks; Spanish accent is cool and that’s why it’s OK for him to speak with thick Spanish pronunciation but NOT OK for you or me… While there might be some truth in the above statements, it doesn’t explain HOW Antonio Banderas manages to be fluent YET retain his Spanish accent if fluency is always accompanied by perfect pronunciation... Surely if at some stage an English learner inevitably starts to develop a more native-like (in this case it should be American) pronunciation, then how come that Antonio has never fully mastered it yet he’s totally fluent? (more…)