Fluency Star Case Study: Sergi and His English Fluency Improvement
Don’t Try to Figure Out What Something Means in English Grammar Terms – It Serves NO Purpose!
Update on My Personal Situation: Why I’m Doing a PC Course
Group Communication: Why It’s Different From One-to-one Conversations + Tips & Tricks!
There are plenty of social situations when you’d be speaking with a group of other English speakers as opposed to just one person. Just think about the following situations: Having a lunch break in your work or college café with your colleagues; Having a cigarette with your work colleagues or schoolmates; Sharing a car ride with your friends. So, what do all these situations have in common? Anyone? That’s right! What they have in common is SOCIALIZING IN A GROUP, and it’s very important for you to understand that group conversations tend to be much different from one-to-one conversations :!: When there are two people having a conversation, you have more control over the whole process, whereas in a group your voice will oftentimes be quite literally drowned out by others. Does that mean you should avoid group conversations and wait till you get a chance to have a face-to-face conversation with some other English speaker to practice your English? Not at all! As a matter of fact, if you avoid such situations, chances are – you won’t get any opportunities to get to know other English speakers and as a result you’ll end up being alone. The best way to go about it is by knowing WHEN and WHAT to say during a group conversation in order to minimize your chances of being ignored and maximizing your potential for English fluency improvement, so keep reading this article to learn from my experience having lived in an English speaking country for 13 years :!: (more…)
Don’t Look for Specific Audio Material for Improving Your English Listening Skills!
How to Write Formal e-Mails in English
English Words I Used to Mispronounce
At this stage I’ve lived in an English speaking country for more than 12 years, and I can call myself an English speaker for more than that because I was speaking the language long before I came to Ireland all those years ago. Anyway, having been an English speaker for so long doesn’t mean my language is free from errors. Every now and then I realize I’ve been making some sort of a mistake. It might be a specific English word that I’ve been using wrong. A couple of weeks ago, for example, I found out that the English word “deal-breaker” has a negative connotation rather than a positive one! I thought that if something is a “deal-breaker”, it’s the most appealing feature among all others, but it turns out it’s quite the opposite – a “deal-breaker” is the biggest risk factor! It could also be an English idiomatic expression I’ve been using the wrong way. Only this week I found out that the idiom “rule of thumb” doesn’t actually mean a very strict rule – which is what I’d thought – it actually means a general rule that can be widely applied. On some occasions though, it turns out I’ve been MISPRONOUNCING a specific word for years without realizing it, and that’s what today’s article is all about! Before we begin, just let me tell you one thing – making these kinds of mistakes is completely normal! Nobody is perfect, and I know for a fact I’ll keep correcting my English till the day I die – but I’m not feeling like my English sucks because of it. I just do it as a normal part of my English improving process, and I warmly suggest you approach your own errors the same way! And now, without further ado, let’s look at the English words I’d been mispronouncing without realizing it! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “Doesn’t Cut It”
SUPER Important for English Fluency: SLOW Down Your Speech!
I can’t stress enough how important it is NOT to try and speak very fast! I’ve been doing it myself for a long, long time – mostly to impress others and HERE you can read why trying to impress others is a really stupid idea. You know yourself how it goes – you’re speaking with someone and you want the other person to feel how good your English is. It’s as if you are COMPELLED to speak as fast as native English speakers, which is also a very stupid idea on two accounts: First – people will notice that you’re a foreigner ANYWAY, Second – you should NEVER COMPARE your English with that of others because it will always make you feel inadequate! I wouldn’t be wrong in saying that speaking too fast is one of the BIGGEST mistakes all foreign English speakers are making all over the world :!: It’s the reason #1 why non-native speakers get stuck for words in English. It’s the reason #1 why we mispronounce words when speaking in English. And it’s the reason #1 why we think we suck at speaking in English. The solution to this issue is quite obvious, as a matter of fact – it’s staring right in your face: SLOW YOUR SPEECH DOWN! In real life, however, it’s easier said than done. Unless someone tells you: “Hey, just slow down a bit and you’ll be able to speak so much more fluently!”, for some strange reason you’re unable to figure it out for yourself. And even when you know you should be speaking slower, you still catch yourself trying to speak faster than your natural ability allows you. It’s like a vicious circle that you find very, very hard to get out of. So, keep reading this article and you’ll learn: Why you’re trying to speak in English very fast; Why fast speech is very detrimental to your fluency; What you can do to overcome this problem! (more…)
Learning English Phrases Beats Learning Individual Words Hands Down!
38 Typical English Sentence Endings
English Idiomatic Expression: “Come As a Surprise”
How Many English Phrases Do I Have to Learn to Become Fluent?
The typical question people ask me is: “How many English words do I have to learn to be fluent?” to which I always respond with – “It’s completely the WRONG question!!!” It’s not about the number of words you learn – it’s about how well you can use them in combination with each other! Basically it’s PHRASES and SENTENCES I’m talking about, and please read this article if you’re completely new to this whole concept of word groups and phrases. But those of you who are very well aware of how learning English phraseology helps your English fluency, may start wondering about the number of phrases required to achieve a certain degree of fluency in English. Is it 100 phrases that will make you fluent? Or maybe it’s 300? The English Harmony System, for example, contains 1350 English phrases, so is that how many you need to learn before you can consider yourself a fluent foreign English speaker? Well, guess what? English fluency is something you can’t really put a figure on! You can’t really quantify the amount of English phraseology you need to acquire in order to ensure you can speak fluently about any given topic. There are certain aspects of English phraseology acquisition, however, that will make your task of English improvement so much more effective, so keep reading this article to find out more about it :!: (more…)
Don’t Try to Impress Others With Your English!
How to Become a Good English Interpreter and Translate TV Shows Into Your Native Language
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! As you may already have noticed, sometimes I create blog posts and videos based on my blog visitors’ comments and questions. This article is not an exception, and here’s the original comment that inspired me to write it: So basically the problem I’m going to discuss in this blog post is the following: “How to develop your ability to translate from English to your native language INSTANTLY?” Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this matter, just let me tell you that I’ve actually written about this particular phenomenon of not being able to translate a TV show into my native language while watching it with others – you may read about it HERE. It goes to show that this problem isn't unique – I would even go so far as to say that it’s NOT ACTUALLY A PROBLEM at all! (more…)
English Phrase: Just Because… It Doesn’t Necessarily… It’s Quite the Opposite, Actually!
“WELL…” – the Simplest English Hesitation Word!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWRsCjBdOds VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony Video Blog! In this video, I'm going to give you the simplest hesitation filler phrase possible, and here it is: "Well…" It's just a word - "well." And that's how you can begin sentences when you have to buy some time and when you can't really answer immediately. So, basically, a person asks you a question and then you begin your response with saying: "Well…" which buys you a few seconds during which you can actually think about the matter at hand and come up with a reasonable response. Whereas, if you're not saying anything, there's a bigger chance that you'll just get stuck for words. Imagine someone stopping you on the side of the road and asking you for directions to the local police station for example. If you just go like this, "Uh, Uh," it's very easy to get stuck for words. But, if you open your mouth and just say this simple word "well…" it kind of opens up your mouth and forces you to say something extra. And even though those extra bits that you're going to say may come out with a few mistakes, you know, they may come out a big erroneous, it doesn't matter because at the very least you would have said something, right? The word "well" gives you something to say, and it instantly makes you sound like a native English speaker, and do you want to know why? For the simple reason that all native English speakers use the word "well" to hesitate! (more…)
How to Organize English Phrases for Optimal Learning
Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!
How to Talk About Past & Future Without Using Corresponding English Tenses
You may have been led to believe that in order to indicate a specific English grammar tense, you HAVE to conjugate verbs and actually USE that particular grammar tense. Well, guess what? It’s not always the case! In conversational English it’s more than possible to refer to the future or the past without using those specific English tenses and without conjugating the corresponding verbs. And here’s an example to clearly illustrate what exactly I’m talking about here. Let’s take, for example, the following sentence: “I’m planning to visit my friend tomorrow.” Now tell me please what is the grammar tense we can observe in this sentence? It’s Present Continuous – “I’m planning” – isn’t that right? Yes, that’s right! And now, tell me please what you’re actually referring to – present or future – in this particular sentence? Before answering the question, just let me draw your attention to the fact that if we’re looking at the sentence purely from a grammar standpoint, it is indeed the Present Continuous Tense you can observe, that’s right. But here’s the question you have to ask yourself: “Am I really emphasizing the fact that I’m MAKING PLANS at this particular moment in time or am I stressing the fact that I’m visiting my friend TOMORROW?” So, are you referring to the present or the future in this particular sentence? Of course it’s FUTURE! You’re using Present Continuous to refer to a FUTURE event so the take-home lesson is: There are situations when you don’t have to use the corresponding grammar tenses to refer to the future or the past! And now, just to provide you with a deeper insight into the whole thing, let me give you a number of phrases and expressions to be used in your English conversations. It’s going to save you time and effort trying to figure out the right English grammar tense to use – instead you can just learn those phrases and use them when a fitting occasion arises! (more…)
What Exactly I Mean By Saying “Don’t Study English Grammar”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8hrNV8ZVHw VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! Hello, boys and girls! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to finally put the whole matter of English grammar studies to rest once and for all. And a funny thing that I realized today is that, whenever I'm referring to studying grammar, studying English grammar rules, and whenever I'm saying that it's not really necessary in order to improve your English, I'm not being very precise about it. I'm actually being very vague in my terms. I'm saying it's not worthwhile studying English grammar and then I always get a certain amount of comments and response from people saying: "Hold on a second, Robby. You can't actually totally ignore the grammar aspect of the English language!" And then my response to that is always: "Well, you have to learn the English language contextually and that way you're going to acquire all of the grammar quite naturally," which is true. But, I'm not actually defining what I mean, in fact, by saying it's not worth studying English grammar. And, if I'm not mistaken, I've never actually - to the best of my knowledge - I've never actually stated on my blog explicitly what exactly I mean by that, right? And I'm sorry. I have to take a drink. That's my coffee, nightly coffee, right? As a matter of fact, a while back I promised to myself that I would not have any coffee late at night, and there you go. I'm breaking my promise yet again! But, I'm addicted to coffee. So, that's one of the things that I'm still addicted to. I don't drink. I don't smoke. So, for Christ sakes, I have to do something, right? But, it's just a joke. Obviously, you don't have to do something. If you don't have any addictions, that's even better than having one addiction, which in my case is caffeine, right? But anyway, going back to the subject of grammar, I've never stated that by saying it's not worthwhile studying English grammar rules what I mean by that. (more…)
How to Give the PERFECT Presentation in English
English Idiomatic Expression: MUST HAVE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUt4OmQbVWk This time around we’re going to look at the following English idiomatic expression: MUST HAVE Well, to tell you the truth, it’s not really your typical idiomatic expression because it only consists of two words. I’d be more precise if I told you that MUST HAVE forms idiomatic expressions in combination with other words, and here’s a few examples: I’m not feeling very well, I MUST HAVE eaten something bad! So, you’re back from your trip – what was it like? It MUST HAVE been some experience! Was Julie off for a couple of days? She MUST HAVE been sick! Now, I hope you’ve started getting the bigger picture in terms of how MUST HAVE can be used. But you’re always welcome to watch the video above where I’m giving you extra info on how to use this expression in real life! Cheers, Robby ;-)
Customer Support & Service Industry English Phrases
When My Spoken Fluency is UP, My Written Fluency is DOWN…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMxdo-MVSuE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Well, for some strange reason, I just can't write today. I don't know what's wrong with me. Then again, my oral fluency is up today for some strange reason, right? So, maybe I should record a video about it, and upload it onto my YouTube channel for my audience to see. Yep! I’d better do that! Hi, guys. It's me, Robby, from EnglishHarmony.com! I’d better turn off the music… And welcome back to my video blog! Today's subject is quite a funny thing that I've observed on numerous occasions. Basically, whenever my fluency, my overall fluency is up, my written fluency goes down. Basically, my ability to create written content diminishes for some strange reason. So, basically, my observation is that my ability to write and to read is not the same. Whenever one of them goes up, the other one goes down and vice versa. Why it is, why it's happening, I haven't got a clue, right? It's just that it happens and I've observed this phenomenon occurring time and time again over the years. (more…)
Relationship Between Written and Spoken English is Really Weird!
Dictation: Benefits of Listening to English & Writing It Down!
What Books Would You Suggest to Improve My Spoken English?
This is a question I get asked quite often when people contact me – “Robby, I want to improve my spoken English. What books would you suggest?” The moment I read the question, I just can’t help but to think: “Why on Earth are you looking for a BOOK if it’s your SPOKEN English you want to improve?” To me it’s quite obvious that no amount of books will help you on your journey to become a fluent English speaker. If you want, we can do an experiment. Just give me your address and I’ll send a trailer-load of books to you and I bet you’re not going to gain an ounce of spoken English fluency after reading them all :!: You don’t believe me? Well, I’m a living proof of that – there was a time when I was literally devouring English fiction books and as a result I achieved a complete reading fluency. And guess what? I was still struggling with basic communication for the simple reason that reading books didn’t train my MOUTH :!: Basically the issue is the following: You may have the BEST English learning books and textbooks in the world, but they’re not going to make any difference to your ability to speak unless you PRACTICE YOUR SPOKEN ENGLISH… …which brings us to the REAL question: (more…)
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…)
In Real Life Your English is Judged by Your SPEECH!
Recording Your English Speech is CRUCIAL!
If you check out my YouTube channel, you’ll see there’s hundreds of videos published over the course of a number of years. That’s countless hours spent practicing my spoken English in front of a camcorder. Now, I’ve always been talking about how important doing spoken English self-practice is, but up until now I haven’t touched upon the importance of RECORDING your speech on a camcorder :!: Well, I have mentioned it in passing a good few times, and I’ve also listed it on this article called “5 Ways to Practice Your Spoken English if You’re Desperate For English Conversations!”, but I haven’t explicitly told my blog readers that I attribute a lot of my personal fluency development to recording my speech on a camcorder. Here’s a few reasons as to why recording your spoken English does wonders to your English fluency and is more effective than just speaking out loud: It forces you to speak more fluently; It provides feedback; The camcorder lens acts as a real person listening to you! Want to find out more about it? Then read the rest of this article and I’ll reveal all my realizations to you! ;-) Just think about it – you’ll get to pick my brain and extract the very essence of my knowledge. Knowledge that I’ve acquired over the course of a long career of YouTube publishing as a foreign English speaker recording videos in English. It just doesn’t get better than that, so keep reading, my friend! (more…)
Connecting Your Ideas in Written English
Why Can’t I Use All Those English Phrases and Collocations?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tu71FfBmuFU VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hello, everyone! I'm Robby from English Harmony and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to address a particular issue that has been raised by a number of my customers and some of my Fluency Star coaching clients. And, to be honest with you, what prompted me to record this particular video was a comment I got from one of my blog readers, and that particular person says that he or she - I'm not really sure - they have been practicing their spoken English for around four years, half an hour a day at least, which is quite a lot! It's quite sufficient to improve your English to a great degree over the period of four years to be honest with you my friends, right? So, basically, they've been doing that, but they still find it difficult to implement the phraseology and collocations they learn in those practice sessions. So, the basic issue is: How to make sure that you can actually use all those collocations as you go about your daily spoken English practice? And, furthermore, for those who might be finding themselves in situations where they have to speak with other people on a regular basis, it begs another question: How you can actually use all those collocations and phraseology in real life conversations? And let me tell you right up front - this is something I haven't I guess specified previously on my blog and on my videos, which is quite surprising considering I've been running this YouTube channel for a good few years, right? So, basically, the thing I have to mention is that there's two types of collocations, right, two types. (more…)
How to Talk About a Subject in English for a LONG Time
Do Headphones Improve English Listening Experience? (How to Stop Using Subtitles!)
Improving English? TOO General! Sometimes You Gotta Be More SPECIFIC!
This website is all about improving your ability to SPEAK in English, I’m pretty sure you’ve realized it by now! ;-) You see – traditionally most foreign English speakers struggle with speaking because writing, reading and listening is something you’ll learn at school. It’s only the speaking part that’s being neglected. Usually my advice is – speaking comes first (simply because you’re already quite good at other aspects of English) and that’s what you have to be focusing upon – writing, reading and listening won’t contribute into your spoken fluency. So the basic issue here is that nobody really tells you that being engaged in a specific English related activity doesn’t develop other aspects of your English. If you spend most of your time reading, it’s not going to develop your ability to understand other English speakers. If you mostly write essays, its’ not going to make you into a good English speaker. And if you’re good at speaking, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can write just as well! And this illustrates another issue that some English learners are facing. Namely - all four aspects of English – speaking, reading, writing and comprehension – have kind of been merged into one thing, and instead of working on ONE aspect of their English that requires the most attention, they’re under the impression that they have to do EVERYTHING which becomes too overwhelming :!: (more…)