English Phrase: Just Because… It Doesn’t Necessarily… It’s Quite the Opposite, Actually!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6AgOJhlj_Q Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS - and that's why I'm going to highlight them for you in RED! VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and I'm back with another English idiomatic expression. Now, this time around, the expression in question is, "it doesn't necessarily, it's quite the opposite actually." And to be honest with you guys, this is more than just an expression. It's actually a whole sentence or the so-called SENTENCE STRUCTURE. That's how I like to refer to such and similar phrases, which basically constitute entire sentences. You just have to stick in a few more words and you have a ready-to-go sentence. And, if you are really interested in how this particular sentence structure, "it doesn't necessarily, it's quite the opposite actually," how it can be used in real life, just stick around for a few more minutes and everything is going to be 100% clear to you, my friends! (more…)
“WELL…” – the Simplest English Hesitation Word!
How to Organize English Phrases for Optimal Learning
Some People Are So Confident They Don’t Even Want to Improve Their English!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vue8VRavBgQ VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi, guys! Hello my fellow foreign English speakers! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a very interesting thing and, if I'm not mistaken, it's never been spoken about before. I've never discussed it, neither on my videos, nor on my articles on my blog, and I think this is going to be a very interesting topic indeed. Namely, not all foreign English speakers who struggle when speaking, not all of them actually have to improve their English. Some people are quite confident the way they are! And here's what I actually mean by this. I've come across a few such people in my life. And it was actually years ago when I was a young fellow, when I just came over to this country, and there was a bunch of guys living together in one house, and I got to know several new people time and time again. There were a few guys whose English was so-so, but they were quite okay communicating with other people. Their English was broken. Their vocabulary wasn't huge, and their grammar was quite bad to be honest with you, but they felt at ease when speaking with other English-speaking people. They didn't feel it as a problem, right? And that was the whole make or break factor for their confidence. They were confident and they didn't need to improve their English. They didn't work towards that goal that we all share, right, which is improving our English and achieving fluency. They worked towards other goals in their life, professional goals, and personal goals. But, they were happy with their level of English, and it was sufficient to get on with their daily tasks, to go on about their daily business, to work, to drop into institutions and get things done. Yes, it might have taken them a little bit longer because the communication would have been slightly hampered and things would have had to be explained in a little bit more detail to get it all done, but eventually it wasn't a big deal for them. And they were confident enough the way they were and that was it! Their English was fine for them and they didn't need to improve it. They'd never thought of - at least I didn't hear them complaining about their English because they were quite happy the way they were, and it's a funny thing. (more…)
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”
How to Give the PERFECT Presentation in English
If I had to name The KEY to your success in giving a presentation, it would be PREPARATION and PRACTICE. If you think about it, it’s not really a rocket science – you have to prepare slides for the presentation and that’s half of the job already done! Yes, it’s the actual slides that make up the main part of the presentation and in theory you could give a decent presentation just by switching between the slides and describing what you see in them! Therefore it would seem to follow that all you have to do to ensure successful performance during a presentation is to prepare the slideshow in a way that enables you to more or less read all the information off the screen, right? Well, slide preparation is obviously crucial in order to give a presentation, there’s no doubt about that! I mean – preparing the slides and presenting all the information to the audience is what makes the presentation a presentation. For those unaware - if you’re just standing in front of people talking about a specific subject, it’s called a SPEECH. Adding some visual clues to your speech makes it a PRESENTATION – at least in my opinion. In reality, to engage the audience and make the presentation flow nicely, reading information off the slides just doesn’t cut it: You have to know how to address the audience. You have to use the best means of expression to comment on the slides. And you also have to use the proper English phrases to stress the main points and draw conclusions during the presentation! That’s exactly where English presentation phrases step in, so without further ado let me give you the very cream of the crop! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: MUST HAVE
Customer Support & Service Industry English Phrases
Personally I've been working in various service industry positions for the better part of my working life: Shop-assistant. Bartender. Technical Support Agent. Been there, done that! ;-) Having spent many years dealing with clients on a daily basis, I know only too well how important effective communication is when dealing with customers. Not to mention getting your job in the first place! I mean, do you think your future employer is going to hire you if your spoken English isn’t up to scratch and you don’t know how to greet your customer and ask them what they’d like you to do for them? Also, considering that many companies will put you on probation before offering you a permanent position, it only stands to reason you should show great English communication skills when it comes to dealing with people. After all, customers are the lifeblood of the company you represent, and your employer won’t hesitate hiring someone else if customers are struggling to understand you. If the customer service you provide isn't good enough, why would they keep you, right? So, would you like to brush up on your spoken English skills so that you can provide an outstanding customer service? Well, I’m going to give you plenty of useful English phrases so that you can read them, speak them out loud, memorize them and then use them at work :!: (more…)
When My Spoken Fluency is UP, My Written Fluency is DOWN…
Relationship Between Written and Spoken English is Really Weird!
Dictation: Benefits of Listening to English & Writing It Down!
I have to be totally honest with you guys and come clean on something. I’ve never done purposeful DICTATION with the sole purpose of improving my English! For those unaware – dictation is exercise whereby you copy someone’s speech by writing it down. But it’s not really odd considering that I used to follow the path of the traditional text-book based English studies for a very long time, and as you can imagine, there’s no-one speaking when you open the textbook. You’re just required to fill in gaps in exercises and to provide written answers to questions. Over the years my English writing improved to a high standard quite naturally, and when I realized that I’d been neglecting my spoken English, I started engaging in spoken English practice whereby I’d rather copy and mimic other English speakers by SPEAKING OUT LOUD instead of writing it down. Well, come to think of it - I actually have done a certain amount of dictation when transcribing my own YouTube videos, but you can’t really count that as a proper dictation exercise. The reason being – I didn’t do it as an English-improving activity, I simply needed to transcribe my videos so that I could publish them on my blog. Proper dictation is done when you purposefully LISTEN and then you transfer what you hear in written form thus improving both your English listening and writing skills. And this one, my friends, is the first benefit of dictation! ;-) (more…)
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
In Real Life Your English is Judged by Your SPEECH!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMtB0ZpGOWE VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys! It's Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! In today's video, I'm going to touch upon a subject that I haven't actually spoken about before, namely - the fact that you or me or any other foreign speaker for that matter, We're all judged based on our spoken English performance! When we meet with other people, when we go about our daily business, when we communicate with others, it's the spoken fluency that we are being judged upon. It only makes sense because people don't see - they can't - there is no obvious indicator of how well we understand them. People can't immediately see how good readers or writers we are. But, what they can see, what they can hear, to be more specific, is the way we speak! So, it only makes sense that we are being judged on the basis of our ability to speak with other people. Yet, at the same time, the traditional English teaching setting facilitates all those other aspects of our English, namely, our ability to understand, and write, and listen, but spoken fluency has always taken the back seat. And on top of that, all those exams like TOEFL and IELTS, they all focus predominantly on your ability to understand and provide written answers. (more…)
Recording Your English Speech is CRUCIAL!
Connecting Your Ideas in Written English
When you are writing in English, there are two main components that you must achieve in order to express yourself well: First, you must have strong, clear ideas. And second, you must present these ideas in a well-organized fashion. However, finding the right words and phrases to connect your ideas can be challenging. If you struggle to come up with the right transitions in your writing, don’t worry: we've provided you with a cheat sheet for various popular transitional words and phrases in English! These phrases are useful connectors that will make your writing flow in a natural and organized way. They’re also key phrases to use in the writing sections of English exams like the IELTS or TOEFL. (more…)
Why Can’t I Use All Those English Phrases and Collocations?
How to Talk About a Subject in English for a LONG Time
Do Headphones Improve English Listening Experience? (How to Stop Using Subtitles!)
Hi guys, whenever it comes to English listening, the typical picture most likely displayed is the following: It’s the headphones I’m talking about! Well, quite obviously there are other ways you can draw people’s attention to the fact that it’s the listening aspect that you want to focus on: One way or another, but headphones are strongly associated with English listening practice and I don’t doubt for a second that you’ve used them at some stage in your English learning routine. But here’s the thing. (Did you know you can say nearly everything using the word THING?) When I had to sit my English exam in secondary school, nobody offered me to use the headphones. When my daughter is doing her German homework, she doesn’t’ use her earphones – she just listens to the German audio lesson on her loudspeakers. After all – when you listen to other English speakers speak in real life, there’s no headphones involved, and you have to be able to perceive the meaning of speech from a distance. I mean – nobody is going to talk right into your ear, right? As a matter of fact, they actually take it one step further during the listening part of exams, for example – they make it HARDER for you to distinguish the words and make out what the speaker is saying by adding some background noise the audio such as the sound of cars passing by… You think it’s a good thing? You think it’s going to improve your ability to understand? It’s total NON-SENSE! Your listening comprehension won’t improve just because you make it harder for yourself to understand! In reality, you’ll make huge improvements in your ability to understand if you make it EASIER for yourself to understand what’s being said. Using subtitles is one way of making it easier for yourself to understand when watching films, for example. But it’s not always an option, and furthermore - It’s a good idea to teach yourself to understand English just by listening instead of reading, and that’s exactly when the headphones step in! Before we move onto discussing the merits of using headphones though, let me just show you the difference between earphones, headphones and headsets – just in case you’re wondering whether they’re the same thing or not! So, this is a typical set of headphones: And here’s what earphones look like: As far as headsets are concerned - this is what people mean when they mention it: And no, it’s not me wearing the headset! :-) Here’s me: Anyhow, going back to using the words “headset”, “headphones” and “earphones” - in real life these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But now at least you have an idea of what exactly each of them represents! So, now it’s about time we looked into the subject a bit deeper… (more…)
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…)
Why It’s So HARD to Realize You Have to Speak in Order to Speak
English Idiomatic Expression: “You Don’t Want To…”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_8DMom1pYk Hello my friends foreign English speakers! ;-) Here’s another English idiomatic expression for you to learn and use in your daily English conversations and also spoken English practice sessions: YOU DON’T WANT TO This particular English phrase simply means “YOU SHOULDN’T…” and it’s used by native English speakers in situations when telling someone that they shouldn’t do something would sound a bit too harsh and patronizing. Imagine yourself in a situation when you’re introduced to a new work colleague and you’re given the task of showing him the ropes (explaining how the job is done.) You’d be telling your new colleague a lot of things that they shouldn’t do over the course of the day, so every time you’re saying YOU SHOULDN'T DO IT and DON’T DO IT, it may start sounding as if you’re annoyed with them. Not that it’s a big deal – and if your voice and body language clearly shows your good intentions, you shouldn’t have any problems with telling someone that they shouldn’t do something. It’s just that it may sound a bit friendlier if you use the phrase YOU DON’T WANT TO DO IT! And here's the exact phrases where you'd be using this idiomatic expression: (more…)
How to Use English Verb TO MAKE In a Lot of Different Ways
You ARE What You DO!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEpd-wiXsVw VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys and welcome back to English Harmony video blog! I'm Robby, obviously, and in today's video we're going to talk about a very simple matter indeed. Namely – YOU ARE WHAT YOU DO. I know - this may sound very simplistic – “You are what you do.” Well, what's the big deal? It's common sense! What you do determines what you are, who you are, right? But, just think about this guys. I still keep receiving plenty of emails on a daily basis asking for one basic thing: “Robby, tell me how I can start speaking fluent English? How do I improve my spoken English fluency? Basically, how do I speak in English?” So the basic need, the desire that is the common denominator among all those people, maybe including even you, is your desire to speak fluently. Basically, that's WHO you want to be. You want to become a FLUENT ENGLISH SPEAKER. So, if we go by the equation - you are what you do - going by that logic, it's not difficult to draw a simple conclusion: (more…)
Happy New Year 2015! + Draw Results
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iPXbzmfB-0 Happy New Year Everyone! Hello, my friends :!: Hello, foreign English speakers, native English speakers and everyone who happens to be following my blog! Welcome back to my video blog, and this is obviously a whole new year – 2015! And to be honest with you guys, for one split second yesterday - last night was Christmas Eve and at one stage during the celebrations, I thought that it was going to be 2016 for some reason! But anyway, I wanted to take this wonderful opportunity and provided how far my message goes - I've got thousands of followers on Facebook, and YouTube, and my blog daily traffic goes beyond 1,000 visitors a day. So, I hope that this message gets heard by tens of thousands of people, right? So, I wanted to take this opportunity and wish you all a very Happy New Year :!: Despite all the bad things we keep hearing on the media constantly on a daily basis, I still wish you a very Happy New Year because that's the thing to do, right? Everybody wishes one another a very Happy New Year! And all the resolutions that you have set for yourselves, I really hope you'll follow through with at least one of them. So, basically, whatever it is, maybe you’re giving up something, maybe you want to quit smoking or quit drinking, for example. Or maybe you want to take up some habit that would result in something good in your life, maybe you want to join a gym, and that's typical, right, and start working out and lose a little bit of weight and get fitter. Or maybe it's to improve your English in which case you're welcome to stay with me throughout the year 2015 and keep reading my articles and watching my videos where I'm going to provide a whole lot of new information in relation to your fluency development! So basically may all of your resolutions come true! And, obviously, we have to be realistic. We can't expect that everything is going to be smooth and all the resolutions are going to be fulfilled. But at least one thing - if you are just successful with one thing, you can call it a major success because believe it or not most people fail miserably with most of their resolutions! Gyms are empty - come March, and people have started smoking again, and drinking on a weekly basis or even a few times a week, which is even worse, right? And all the plans basically have gone down the drain. So, I wish you at least to fulfill one of your dreams in this New Year! (more…)
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…)
Can I Become a Fluent English Speaker at the Age of 34?
Tell Me What to Write About in 2015 and Win FREE Copy of EH System!
Hello my dear blog followers :!: Here’s the deal – if YOU suggest a GREAT topic for me to cover on my blog in 2015, you’ll automatically enter a draw for a chance to win one of 3 FREE copies of the English Harmony System – and I’ll do the draw LIVE in front of a camera. In order to do it, you have to post your suggestion in the COMMENTS SECTION BELOW this article – as soon as you do it, I’ll write your name on a piece of paper and enter into the draw box! But in case you already own the English Harmony System, here’s the kicker – I’ll give you a 30 minutes FREE FluencyStar chat session so either way you’re going to be a winner :!: So, how does that sound? Now, the topic you would suggest me to write about next year has to be related to English FLUENCY development and please bear in mind it’s NOT about me answering SIMPLE English grammar related questions. As you may already know, the English Harmony project is centered around English fluency issues and grammar comes second, so here’s a great example of a very valid question which I could make into a full-blown article or a video: Robby, I’ve bought plenty of English grammar books and I’ve become quite good at filling gaps into the exercises. When I’m trying to speak however, I’m not so good at it, so could you please write about how to use various English textbooks such as the Cambridge series in order to develop the ability to speak fluently? So, as you can see, the person asking this question is facing a specific issue – they have plenty of English textbooks and they want to know how to use them best in order to develop ability to speak more fluently. So for as long as your question is about anything English fluency related – speech anxiety happening for no apparent reason, inability to speak at a particular event, difficulties speaking at work, struggling to memorize new English vocabulary, finding it difficult to respond to people’s questions – you get the drift! – your question is going to be considered a contender for the draw. Now, you can also ask SPECIFIC English grammar questions for as long as the fluency aspect is concerned – such as: I’m finding it difficult to use the Past Perfect Tense in my speech, so maybe it’s best not to use it and just stick with the Simple Past? If I try to use the Past Perfect Tense, I just can’t speak fluently because I’m thinking too much! But please don’t ask simple grammar questions such as “How to use the word “to be” in English?” because – just like I already said – my blog’s main focus is on the fluency aspect and that’s the way I’d like to keep it! So, what are you waiting for? Publish your suggestion for an article or a video for me to cover in 2015 in the comments section below, and you’ll automatically enter the draw! Deadline for submissions: 31.12.2014 Draw date: 1.1.2015 Thanks so much in advance! ;-) Cheers, Robby