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!

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FGC Goal #1: American Slang Phrase #3 – ZONED OUT

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nj2BeNh1uV0 Current Goal: Learn 50 American Phrases in 25 Days! Good morning my friends! :grin: So far so good – I’m on the third American phrase today and there’s only 47 more phrases to go! Today’s American slang phrase is to be ZONED OUT and it’s an informal way of describing when someone is daydreaming or in a state of absolute relaxation. You know the feeling when someone talks to you but you don’t even hear them? That’s a typical example of you being ZONED OUT, so next time it happens you can say to that person: (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression (Conditional Sentence Type 3) – Had I (p. participle), I would have (p. participle)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KajCntRAkcE Probably your mind started racing upon seeing today’s English idiomatic expression headline. Conditional Sentence Type 3. Advanced grammar. “What is wrong with you Robby, why are you giving me this confusing advanced English grammar stuff, aren’t you the one who keeps telling me all the time – forget about grammar, focus on speaking instead?!” Don’t worry my dear fellow foreign English speaker! ;-) I’m not going to start stuffing all these fancy grammar terms like Past Participle and Conditional Type II into your head. You must have been exposed to all that theoretical knowledge plenty of times throughout the years spent on studying English grammar, and the simple fact is that if you keep focusing on the grammar aspect of it, you will actually find it hard to use such and similar grammar constructs in real life. The way I see it is much simpler. (more…)

3 Big Reasons Why the English Language is More Relevant Than Ever!

Whether we like it or not, I think at this stage we have to admit that there’s no denying the importance of the English language. It started spreading around the world with the onset of the British Empire, and as it currently stands, it’s the lingua franca of the world. (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 16- Go Dutch

WILL and GOING TO English Future Forms: How to Use Them in Conversations

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Q3pSzWrcek Welcome back to another Practical English Grammar lesson where we talk about Future in spoken English and how to sound fluent and natural when talking about future events! In the previous video we looked at how to use Present Progressive Tense – also called Present Continuous – for describing future events. The most important bit of information from that lesson is to perceive Present Progressive as the basic grammar tense for describing future. You know – in 9 times out of 10 foreign English speakers use the traditional WILL + verb in infinitive Future Tense when speaking about future events, but it transpires that this grammar form is being massively overused :shock: Many future events we talk about on a daily basis have been arranged prior to the conversation, so we can confidently use Present Progressive instead. For instance, you have to say “Sorry, I’m watching a very interesting TV program tonight” instead of “I will watch a very interesting TV program tonight” if you have a conversation with your friend and he asks you if you can go out with him tonight. By now you’re probably getting slightly confused over my ramblings on future in spoken English. Judging by the previous video, one might think that WILL + verb and GOING TO future forms are redundant and there’s no need to use them. Especially if you take into account that I said that you’d be better off overusing Present Progressive rather than the WILL Future Tense – to many it may sound as if I’m saying that you can speak English and use Present Progressive ONLY when it comes to talking about future events. Well, it’s not so. Other Future forms are also necessary; you just need to know WHEN to use them :!: So today let’s look at the traditional English Future Tense – WILL + verb in infinitive and also the GOING TO Future form and how to use them in conversational English. (more…)

Confidence Lesson From Kristen Stewart For All Foreign English Speakers

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 ;-)

Everything About TOEFL: Interview With Paul & Rachael from LanguageTrainers.com

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbwbUXBBg30 In this video I’m interviewing Paul and Rachael from LanguageTrainers.com and we’re looking at the following TOEFL related questions: What TOEFL is all about? Is TOEFL the American counterpart of IELTS? When is TOEFL the right option for you? Is it possible to score a high mark in TOEFL just by improving your overall English skills through full English immersion? Is writing is the most important skillset necessary to pass TOEFL? What study tools are the best for practicing reading and listening skills? What do the speakers sound like in the TOEFL listening section? How long does the speaking part of TOEFL last? Is it possible to achieve your target TOEFL score if you’re not orally that fluent in English? How exactly is the student expected to perform during the TOEFL speaking part? How is grammar accessed during the TOEFL test? Is it necessary for students to focus on grammar studies predominantly when preparing for TOEFL? Links mentioned during the interview: English Listening Tests English Accent Game Connecting Your Ideas in English Writing (more…)

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…)

Best Tricks to Practice Your English Language with Native Speakers For Free

You Have to EAT Well to SPEAK in English Well!

There was a time during this summer when I noticed my fluency wasn't what it used to be. Well, I would still speak very well, it’s just that I’d started spending more time on thinking of certain English words I wouldn’t be able to recall while having conversations with people which lead to more hesitation than normally. This wasn’t the end of the world situation for me – even after dealing with my severe fluency issues years ago I’d still experience a slump in my ability to speak without much thinking in English every now and then, and normally it would be gone in a day’s time or so. This time around, however, it was lasting for quite some time, and it got me thinking what was so different about all the various circumstances in my life and at work that would have made me go into this permanent mode of deteriorating fluency. (more…)

Speaking in English is Like FIGHTING (Trick to Overcome Perfectionism)!

Is It Possible To Sound Too Fluent in English?

Most of you guys visiting this blog have certain English fluency related issues, the most typical of which is the tendency of getting “stuck” while speaking. It’s the terrible feeling of “I know exactly what I want to say, yet for some reason or another I can’t seem to be able to say it out loud!” So I guess if you were to hear another foreign English speaker who can speak for hours on end in a way that it would seem you just can’t shut them up, you’d be thinking to yourself – “I wish I could speak like that…” Well, as the old saying goes – be careful what you wish for! (more…)

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 6- School Life

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")); Hello everybody out there, How are you doing? Did you like yesterday’s article? Well, if yes, you are going to love this one. Welcome back to another chapter of our "Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” and today let’s see a scenario from school life and pick few phrases and idioms from there. (more…)

Can You Become Fluent in English if You Don’t Have a Talent for Languages?

Time and time again I’ve been told by all sorts of different people that I have a talent for languages. And when they find out I speak three languages fluently – Latvian, Russian and English – their opinion of my abilities is pretty much identical: “Robby, you’re naturally gifted when it comes to language learning! I wish I were like you!” And guess what? I think it’s a load of crap! I honestly believe that my ability to speak three languages fluently has nothing to do with my alleged talent for languages. And I also believe that ANYONE is capable of learning to speak English fluently regardless of whether you believe you have a talent for it or not. It’s just that most people don’t realize they have the potential to become fluent in English due to one or all of the following reasons: They think they’re not naturally gifted so they don’t WORK HARD on their English Deep down inside they know they’re too lazy to do something about their English skills so they use the lack of talent as an EXCUSE They’re using the WRONG METHODS to improve their English so the whole “I’m not naturally gifted at languages” thing becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy! Now, would you like me to prove to you that YOU DEFINITELY have what it takes to become fluent in English – and any other language for that matter? Then keep reading this article and don’t forget to leave a comment when you’re done! (more…)

Why Should You Improve Your English Spelling Every Day?

English Idiom: “It’s Not to Be Sniffed At!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cKQ7Edx8v80 Do you know what people generally mean when they say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT? More often than not, they say this kind of thing when a certain amount of money is offered, for example, and the person in question perceives it to be worth considering. In theory you can also say IT’S NOT TO BE SNIFFED AT in relation to just about anything you perceive worth risking for or taking any other type of action. (more…)

Seeing Forgotten English Words the Next Day & the “Gut Feeling”

Accelerated American Slang Learning: Watching all 7 Seasons of Desperate Housewives in Less than 3 Months

Can you improve your English JUST by watching TV programs? Yes, sure. You can learn a great deal of new English words and expressions thanks to visual associations created when you see a scene on the screen and hear a certain phrase or expression. Also, it’s much easier to understand meanings of new English words if you see all the action unfold before your eyes. Can you make a CONSIDERABLE difference in your English fluency by watching TV shows in English? Yes, but it will require some effort because by listening alone you’ll mostly develop your passive vocabulary. Your active vocabulary – the one you use when speaking – is developed when you USE those new English phrases and expressions in your own conversations. So, while I was watching the Desperate Housewives box-set I got my wife for Christmas, I did all the following: I shadowed the characters with the subtitles turned on; I took notes of new English phrases and American slang expressions; I purposefully used those new expressions in my English conversations at work and also when practicing spoken English with myself. It all started quite innocently. I didn’t mean to spend the whole month of January, February and a week in March glued to the screen watching a TV soap loved mostly by members of the opposite sex. I simply watched one episode of Desperate Housewives with my family during last Christmas Holidays – I guess, I just wanted to see what all the fuss is about! And that, my dear friends foreign English speakers, was it… I was literally sucked into it! I couldn’t have imagined that Desperate Housewives was so intriguing and interesting! Illicit affairs, murders, scheming and dark secrets – and it all wrapped up as a comedy. Awesome! So, what I learned while watching around 160 episodes of Desperate Housewives within a matter of 10 weeks? I learned loads of American slang expressions, new vocabulary, phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions – and that’s not all :!: I also tried to speak like an American while shadowing the actors and I realized that I’m not too bad at speaking with an American accent! Here’s just a few of the idiomatic expressions and American slang phrases I added on to my active English vocabulary: (more…)

Best Videos and Articles on English Harmony in 2015 + Happy New Year!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHljSmteBfU

Collocation “Scour the Web” & Why the Word “Scour” on its Own is Useless!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcCcC34iNQk Hi Guys! It’s another Friday night, and I just recorded a video for you where I’m providing a great example of how English collocations work and most importantly – why it’s of the utmost importance to learn new English words in combination with other words instead of memorizing their individual meanings! So, watch the video above and if you have ANY questions in relation with: English collocations; building English vocabulary effectively; best ways to practice your spoken English… … just post it in the comments section below and I’ll respond to the comment ASAP! Enough said – click on the PLAY button above, sit back and watch the video :!: Chat soon, Robby ;-)

English Fluency Issue Explained

Top 15 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Foreigners Settling Down in an English Speaking Country

1. Be realistic about the level of interest in your national background by others. Be proud of your origins, but don’t be obsessed with telling every single person you meet about your country, your nationality, how “How are you” sounds in your native language, the name of your president, your favorite national soccer team… People will listen to you just to be polite, but don’t forget that for someone living in an English speaking country like the US, Australia or the UK, the name of your country might not ring any bells at all! Personally I quite like it when people don’t ask questions about my origins right off the bat and I’ve realized by now that whenever they DO ask that question “Where are you from?” right after you introduce yourself, it’s just small-talk really. So I think we foreigners should be realistic about the interest of locals in our culture and we shouldn’t be too enthusiastic! In my current job, for instance, I got two know two girls a couple of weeks ago and they didn’t seem to notice the fact that I was a foreigner. Not that they couldn’t tell it, but our conversations never went that far. Only recently they showed interest in my background, so I think it’s natural to speak about those topics when you get to know someone better rather than boasting to everyone how cool your country is! Many years ago I used to work with a bunch of Romanian lads, and believe me – there was nothing more annoying than listening to hours long stories of their home country and how great life was back there, and how miserable their situation is in Ireland… For Christ’s sake, will you get a grip on yourselves?!? Don’t take me wrong – I’m not saying there’s something wrong with being proud of your nationality, not at all! My point is – put yourself in the other person’s shoes and maybe you’ll realize the conversation is boring for your conversation partner. IMPORTANT! -> Why I'm highlighting parts of text in RED? 2. Stop spotting mistakes in native English speakers’ conversations and pointing them out to others. There is no such thing as correct English! English is spoken differently in many countries and regions so don’t be the perfectionist telling everyone how awful locals speak, and how grammatically wrong some of the most commonly used local phrases are. Oxford English and real English are hundreds of miles apart, and you’ll be more practical by learning spoken English as it’s spoken in the country you live in than spotting mistakes and pointing out that according to proper English standards this or that particular thing doesn’t sound right. I can tell you one thing I’ve heard quite often in the local Latvian community when we’ve touched the topic of English learning and improving – “Irish themselves don’t speak correct English!” I think it’s rather a handy excuse not to improve one’s English (if the locals don’t speak correctly, how they can accuse me of speaking wrong?), or just trying to show off one’s academic English knowledge which actually has much smaller practical application when going about the daily life. We, foreigners, should realize one thing – theoretical correctness has little importance in dealing with real life situations. So don’t be the perfectionist by keeping saying “Has it been done?” if you hear everyone else around you using a much simpler colloquial phrase “Is it done?” Also it’s important to understand that native English speakers don’t make mistakes because they lack spoken English skills. Their mistakes are “natural”, and we can’t use it as an excuse not to improve our English! (more…)

My Shocking Web-research Experiences Into English Fluency Related Websites

30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 21- Busy!!!

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")); Hey everyone out there, How are you doing today? Welcome back to yet another chapter of our “Free 30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course” where you'll learn some new vocabulary every day with context and examples, and so will you today. So without further ado, let's see today's context and pick some vocabulary out of it. Read carefully... Context I was just thinking how busy my schedule has become these days. I mean writing an article daily can be a little bit nerve-racking sometimes. Don't you think so? First and foremost, you have to think about a new topic every day, and then decide on the vocabulary to include. You have to then think about a context where you can fit in all the vocabulary and write a new piece of context every day that serves the purpose of explanation. So you see, it’s definitely not a piece of cake managing all this with your daily chores, but frankly speaking, I would do anything for you. Your love and support have always boosted me to live up to your expectations and trust me, you will never be disappointed. Now I can’t say I will be there 24/7, writing articles daily or commenting back, but I can guarantee you for sure you will keep having articles like this, either by me or Robby. Moreover, please don't think that I am telling you all this to boast about how much work I put in regularly. I also respect your time and care about all my dear readers who actively participated in this free course and I am pretty sure you must have seen your vocabulary improving with flying colors day in and out. Am I right Joe? Or whatever your name is. I am sure you also have other things to do, so before you get busy with some other work, let’s see the vocabulary from the context. Vocabulary to Acquire Today Nerve-racking Meaning- something that makes you nervous or worried. Example- Managing the work in the absence of my secretary is a bit nerve-racking. A piece of cake Meaning- easy, something that doesn’t require much effort. Example- Running daily 8km and going also to the gym is not a piece of cake. Daily Chores Meaning- a routine task or activity that you have to do daily. Example- I finished my daily chores in 15 minutes and went to the office as it was getting late. Live up to someone’s expectations Meaning- to be as good as someone thought something would be. Example- The boss was disappointed because the staff didn’t live up to his expectations. To boast about something Meaning- To brag about something you have done or achieved. Example- His mother keeps boasting about her son’s achievements and medals. Actively participate in Meaning- To participate in something with enthusiasm and energy. Example- The principal was so happy seeing every student actively participating in the debate competition. With flying colors Meaning- Do exceptionally well or very successful in one’s attempt. Example- Although he was nervous at first, he passed with flying colors in his test. Day in and out Meaning- Everyday. Example- You will have to work day in and out to become a world-class athlete. Did you like today’s article? I hope today’s lesson added some new vocabulary to your arsenal of active vocabulary which will be definitely useful in your daily life. Make sure you read this article thoroughly and practice it with your own examples so as they will become your second nature. See you tomorrow with some new topic and vocabulary. Till then keep learning and improving and don’t get too busy to read the upcoming articles. Take care and? Bye-bye. 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"));

Being Repetitive Can Actually Help You Speak More Fluent English

Let’s get down to business right away; here’s the sample sentence I want you to look at: I don’t like when people are selfish, self-absorbed and only think about themselves the whole time! I guess you don’t have to be a genius to immediately spot one thing: the word “selfish” has been described in three different ways in this sentence: selfish; self-absorbed; only think about themselves! Now, let me ask you the following question: “Why on Earth should anyone waste that many words to simply say that they don’t like when people are selfish, full stop?!” Do all those descriptions not fit into the same definition of “selfish”? Yes, they do. Did the person using the much longer sentence add anything significant to it? No, not really. Then surely speaking like that signifies poor taste when it comes to constructing good-sounding English sentences?! With all due respect to anyone agreeing with this notion, I will strongly argue against it :!: (more…)