Don’t Try Just to THINK in English – Speak It All Out LOUD!
Way back in 2012 I published an article about the importance of thinking in English if you’re serious about your English fluency development. The reason I wrote the said piece was because one of the primary causes of foreign English speakers’ fluency issues is translation from one’s native language when speaking in English which is a direct consequence of the traditional English studies. You see, if you’re studying the English language the traditional way, you’re bound to start translating when trying to create an English sentence. You think of what words to say based on how you’d say the same thing in your native language. You also tend to copy the syntax of sentences from your native language simply because it’s the only know way for you to say or write anything in English. Basically it all boils down to you THINKING IN YOUR NATIVE LANGUAGE. Changing your life-long habit and starting to THINK IN ENGLISH, therefore, is an absolute must if you want to learn how to speak fluent English – as you can imagine, it’s not really possible if your head is full of thoughts in your native language while you’re trying to say something in English. (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Bear in mind”
Planning Your Answer Goes a Long Way: How to Answer Unexpected Questions
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…)
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…)
English Possessive Case And All The Tricky Stuff!
Check Out the Most Popular Articles on This Blog!
One day I decided to check the statistics of my website and see which blog posts you’ve been reading the most. I selected the top 10 articles and I guess it provides a fair representation of what my average blog visitor is interested in, so you may want to check out the top 10 of English Harmony blog posts of all times! If you visit this blog frequently, you’ve probably read a good few of them, but I’m sure you’ll find at least a couple of links you haven’t encountered before and they might just provide you with some English fluency related info you’ve been looking for to no avail. So, let the countdown begin! (more…)
Don’t Try to Speak in English as if You Were Writing!
Practicing Spoken English in Car: Part 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuOASHRMG00 Here’s another video where you can watch me speaking in English with myself while commuting to work, and this time around I’m trying a different approach to kick-start my English fluency: speaking as fast as possible. It’s one of the different English fluency management strategies, and I know I have to resort to this one because my fluency started dwindling yesterday afternoon. The day before was perfect, my fluency peaked at a two week high, but as it sometimes happens – a peak is followed by a drop :mad: , so I have to figure out a way of reverting back to my normal state of fluency. This is how I manage my fluency, and there are a lot of different strategies: slowing your speech down speaking with an accent (or rather allowing your native accent to come to fore) speaking using short sentences spitting out the first thing that crosses your mind instead of composing sentences in your head All these strategies have been tried and tested over the years, and it’s all a result of my own pursuit after English fluency. (more…)
Easy Guide on Omitting English Relative Pronouns “Which, Who, and That”
English Fluency Q & A – Ask Robby – Face-to-face Communication – Improving Overall Fluency
English Fluency Issue Explained
Hello my friend foreigner! Even the most advanced foreign English speakers can be faced with hesitation in speaking English at some stage of their lives. And most surprisingly – there’s seemingly no rational explanation for that! Years long studies of English have perfected your overall English understanding. You can read English fiction and enjoy watching English speaking TV programs. And you’ve probably been living in an English speaking country for a good while already! But you still keep experiencing this weird hesitation when speaking English and it drives you mad! So why the issue is there, and how to deal with it? Is there a solution or it’s something you’ll have to bear for the rest of your life? Luckily for you I have just the right explanation – and it’s quite simple! ;-) First of all – it’s al down to traditional English studies. They focus way too much on reading and writing aspects of the English language. You see – spoken English fluency is developed when you learn how to use English in live conversations naturally, using small talk phrases and expressions, and also naturally occurring English phrases! Traditional English studies, on the other hand, have created and reinforced a very bad habit of trying to speak as if you’re writing text in your head and then reading it out. And you also may have tendency of translating from your native language first because that’s how English is traditionally taught in most schools – using your language as reference medium. All the above mentioned have created this phenomenon of hesitating a lot when speaking English because you just can’t form a natural, fluent speech! The solution? Rebuild your English from the ground up by learning small talk, phrasal verbs, idioms and collocations – in other words, all the stuff that makes up spoken English! Sounds fairly complicated? Well, then check out the English Harmony System and its specifics – you’ll be in a nice surprise it’s got exactly what you need to stop hesitating when speaking English!
My Phone-call to Airline Support & All the Embarrassing Experiences
A couple of days ago I had to make a phone call to my local airline company’s Ryanair support line to sort out a few queries over my family’s summer flight to our home country. I got through to the call center within a matter of seconds for the simple reason that it was one of those premium rate phone numbers. I doubt that would be the case had it been a normal phone line or a toll-free phone number; most likely I would have to spend at least five minutes on the line! Anyway, my customer support agent was a Russian girl so the first thought that crossed my mind was – “Cool! It’s going to be quite easy to speak with her because she’s also a foreign English speaker – just like me!” You see, the thing is that on some occasions it’s easier to speak with another fellow foreign English speaker than a native English speaker, so I thought this chat was going to be a walk in the park. A short time later, I realized it wasn’t the case with this particular conversation. I was having a hard time understanding if the person on the other end of the phone line actually understood me, so I constantly had to second-guess her replies which made the conversation not-so easy, to say the least! (more…)
No.1 Secret to speak English fluently and confidently
FGC Goal #1: American Phrase #37: YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dtTbuc2lLo Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Morning! Today’s American English phrase is YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT?, and it’s a very handy phrase for situations when you’re approaching a group of people with an intent to tell them some news. And by the way, this phrase is a typical example of how we can omit words in conversational English, and while some perfectionists will consider such a grammar construct a mistake, in reality it’s exactly how people are speaking in real life! Obviously, grammatically correct way of wording this phrase would be the following: “Have you guys heard about?” or “Did you guys hear about?” – depending on context. In real life conversations, however, native English speakers quite often omit the auxiliary verbs from the beginning of sentences, and the resulting sentence is something of a crossbreed between a question and a statement. And if you think about it, this phrase YOU GUYS HEAR ABOUT? doesn’t even follow any English grammar rules! (more…)
Super Useful English Phrases Containing the Word CASE
English Idiomatic Expression: “Come As a Surprise”
Is Google Any Good For Improving Your Spoken English?
English Becomes Worse When Speaking With Another Foreigner? Is It REALLY Possible?!
Rapid English Vocab Building in 3 Easy Steps!
Hi guys! In today’s article we’re going to focus on English vocabulary building the smart way. The English Harmony Way, to be more specific! You see, the reason why I’m touching upon the subject of vocabulary building is simple enough. I’m getting quite a few e-mails on a daily basis along with questions disguised as YouTube comments in relation to building English vocabulary and new words. “What’s the best way to learn new English vocabulary?” “One English word has up to 50 different meanings, do I have to learn them all at once?” “I’m trying to do spoken English self-practice as advised by you, Robby, but there are many English words I don’t know…” Now, despite me having published quite a few blog posts and videos about vocabulary building over the last couple of years, it’s never hurt anybody to repeat and reiterate the main points from time to time. As a matter of fact, it’s only a positive for the simple reason that repetition is the most efficient – if not the ONLY! – way that we humans learn anything! So, here are the 3 steps for building your English vocabulary in the most effective manner possible! (more…)
How I Made a Nonsensical English Mistake 3 Times in a Row!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPgouuqziNI Today I got talking with one of our secretaries about reading for the simple reason that I had Michael Grant’s book “LIES” sitting on the table. After a short chat about reading in general she asked me if I own a Kindle reader to which I simply wanted to reply with “Well, my daughter owns a Kindle reader!” Guess what? I made a completely stupid mistake in that simple sentence, and not only that! I tried to say the sentence once more, and the very same thing happened again! Then I started pronouncing those words for the last time, and to my dismay I made the same stupid mistake for the THIRD TIME! :mad: Now, the only explanation to this is a glitch in my brain. I can’t see any other reason as to why it should have happened especially considering the fact that the mistake was 100% illogical! (more…)
Moving to an English Speaking Country is Like Recovering Eyesight
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…)
Why Are We Always Trying to Speak Too Fast in English?
Best Tricks to Practice Your English Language with Native Speakers For Free
Hello English language learners! As you probably discovered during your studies, native speakers are the best way to build fluency, learn pronunciation, gestures, and receive more benefits compared to studying with other learners. Whether you’ve started learning a couple of months ago or you already can show off your language skills to native speakers, choosing this option is the best way to advance quickly. But what if you’re struggling to find native speakers in your city? How can one find them and ask for practice? Don’t worry, there are plenty of great opportunities you can take advantage of to get in touch with English native speakers. They are presented below (all of them are free!). (more…)
Traditional English Teaching Industry Instils Anxiety and Lack of Self-Confidence!
Improve Spoken English Fast – Focus On English Around You!
Power of Memorizing English Sentences, Paragraphs and even Poems!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71b8GJkxHKM The traditional English teaching methods mostly rely upon grammar studies whereby the student is required to learn grammar rules. Next step is to learn new English vocabulary and then construct sentences by a way of sticking words together and applying grammar rules at the same time. Here at English Harmony we all know by now that such methods are ineffective to say the least; most foreigners never learn to speak fluent English because they try and construct sentences in their head instead of simply MEMORIZING NATURAL ENGLISH SPEECH PATTERNS. Memorization is the most natural way of acquiring a language, and while some people may think it’s too robotic and you don’t really learn anything because of the lack of analysis – here’s the deal: Analysis actually hampers your progress! (more…)
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
Many of my fellow foreigners arrive to my blog while searching for the most commonly used English words, and there’s a good chance that you may be one of them! ‘The top 100 most commonly used English words’, ‘top 500 English words’, ‘English word frequency lists’ – such and similar keywords are used by thousands of foreign English speakers eager to improve their English fluency. But are these English word lists any good? Do they offer good value in terms of improving one’s ability to speak fluently? Frankly speaking, such frequency lists don’t provide a lot of practical value – if any! Why? Fair enough – give me a few moments and I’ll show you exactly why! ;-) (more…)
30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 22- What a small world!
Is Learning English grammar not important for speaking?
English grammar is not necessary for speaking fluently; you only need to focus on idioms, phraseology, and slangs in order to communicate like a native. It is for this reason that even after years of learning English grammar at school you can’t speak fluently. Well, that’s somewhat you read when you hit up my personal blog, or be it English Harmony or any other English learning blog. (more…)
How to Write Formal e-Mails in English
Don’t Judge Other People’s English Because of Lack of Vocabulary
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBZu4GemQRA VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and I'm your friend and mentor. Today, we're going to talk about the following thing: You should never judge other people if they don't know particular English words! Say, for example, you're talking to someone, whether a native speaker or a foreign English speaker, and you're using a specific English word that that person doesn't know. You should never judge them for it because there's around a million words in the English language. Well, some sources quote two million words but I think it's a stretch. I think a million would probably be the most realistic figure that we could put on the English vocabulary so just think about it: there's a million words in the language. Now, the average adult English speaker, if he or she is a native English speaker and they're well educated, then they might know around twenty-five, thirty thousand words, right? So, just think about the chances of them not knowing some very obscure English word that you've just learned and you're using it, right? The chances are that that person probably doesn't know that word and even if you think that this scenario whereby you, as a foreigner, say something and a native speaker doesn't understand it is VERY unlikely to happen, you are wrong, my friend! (more…)
Is it OK to Pretend to Understand What an English Speaker Says When You Don’t?
Get the FREE eBook “How To Stop Struggling With English Writing”!
Your Small English Imperfections Tend to Disappear!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2t82GjaKCc Are you following my advice on learning loads of English idiomatic expressions and collocations and applying them onto your speech and also writing? Great! Are you feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of those expressions and does it make you feel as if the more you’re learning the more there is to left to learn? It’s only natural! We’re all human beings, and feeling overwhelmed and feeling that whatever we’re saying and writing falls short of our own expectations is something that many of us do. But guess what? (more…)