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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Builds your English confidence - no more situations when you stop and hesitate when speaking English!

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…)

Just to Let You Know I’m Still HERE!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFloterSVOc Hi Guys! ;-) Just to give you a quick update on what I'm doing now and why I haven't published any videos lately - I'm busy as hell preparing new content for the website, and I want to make sure there's plenty of articles lined up for publishing. Soon enough you'll start hearing more often from me, and I promise you this - all the videos and articles I'm preparing are going to be really useful and actionable! Chat to you soon, Robby

My Plans for English Harmony in 2015

So much has happened during the last few months in my life… I changed my job a couple of months ago... I re-opened my English fluency coaching program Fluency Star... And then I quit my new job having worked there for just over two months :!: You see, I realized I can’t really cope with such a massive workload and the only logical solution was to quit my new job so that I can do both – teach my students via Skype and maintain this blog. If you’ve been following English Harmony for a while you’ll notice that I haven’t been posting a lot of blog posts lately. To be more specific - it’s been 2 weeks now without posting a single blog entry! To put it in perspective – there was a time when I was publishing 3 articles every week. If you visited my blog on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, you would always find a new article or a video, but during the last few months it’s been fairly irregular. I’ve published something whenever I could find enough time for it, but if I put myself in your shoes, I can definitely see that it’s not good enough. I don’t have to be a genius to figure out that you’d rather come to my blog with the sure knowledge of finding new content every couple of days, so it’s the first thing I’ve planned for the English Harmony website this year: (more…)

Happy New Year 2015! + Draw Results

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

English Teacher Puts Skype Student on the Spot… It’s NOT Teaching!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPUbiQrq7yI Hello, my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It’s me, Robby, from English Harmony and welcome to my video blog. Today, I’m going to tell you what I experienced, what I witnessed to be more precise, while watching a video of a particular English teacher teaching a foreigner how to speak in English obviously, right. Why I’m saying this, it’s all got to do with my own English fluency coaching program that I’m going ahead with currently called Fluency Star. I stopped taking new students on board for the simple reason that there’s no more places available. My schedule is pretty tight as it is but anyway, I was watching this particular video and what struck me, what surprised me big time was the way the teacher conducted the whole conversation. Here’s what she did. I’m not going to name the teacher or provide any links to that video in the description box below for the simple reason that I don’t want to discredit other people and knock them. Maybe they do what they do for good reasons, who knows, but the way I see it, it’s very inefficient and here it goes, right. (more…)

1,000,000 English Grammar Questions Answered by Robby

Download PDF version of this article HERE! Hi guys! ;-) In this article I’ve combined all the English grammar-related questions from your comments on my previous article where I asked you to ask me any grammar questions that have been bothering you lately. I’m going to answer all of your questions in an easy-to-understand manner so as to not make you even more confused. I mean – what’s the point in providing an answer if it’s even more confusing than the original question, right? So basically when answering the questions, I’m not going to start throwing a lot of grammar-related terms around. Instead, I’ll provide simple and commonly used examples of how this or that particular grammar construct is to be used correctly and then you can take my advice on board and start using it the same way. Remember – it’s by far easier to learn one or two ways of using a certain grammar rule than to try and apply that rule on your entire speech! If you try to do the latter, you’ll start analyzing your speech too much and that will inevitably lead to fluency issues. So, without a further ado, let’s cut to the chase and let me answer all of your questions, my dear blog readers! Needless to say – you’re welcome to ask more questions in the comments section below! :grin: (more…)

Why Don’t I Learn Other Languages By Applying English Harmony Principles?

Skype Based English Teaching – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZu2eY5jMcA Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! :-) A few days ago I re-opened my Skype-based English fluency coaching program Fluency Star and needless to say, the available places filled in quickly enough and I had to close it down for another 2 months while I’m working with my new students. But wait… I don’t actually like the term “students”. It sounds too traditional – almost as if I’m putting myself on a pedestal and forcing those who I teach to look up to me. That kind of an approach has never worked in favor of those who are being taught no matter what discipline we look at – math, science or English – you name it! Why? First and foremost – it’s because the teacher is just showing off his or her superior skills and knowledge thus leaving the poor student in the same position where they were previously. (more…)

The Less Opportunities You Have to Speak With Others, The More You’ve Gotta Speak With Yourself!

English Idiomatic Expression: “It Came to Light That…”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2So82jE7Zkw Another day – another English idiomatic expression! Today we’re going to look at the following English phrase which I’m sure will come in handy for you: IT CAME TO LIGHT THAT… This expression can be used whenever you FIND something OUT. In case you’re wondering why I’m giving you this English idiom in this exact way (Past Tense) instead of keeping the verb in its infinitive form: “To come to light” – it’s because most likely you’ll be using this expression when talking about something that happened in the past! What’s the use of memorizing this exact English sentence “TO come to light” if every time you’re going to have to modify it to suit the context which is most likely going to be in the Past Tense? It’s so much easier to speak if you actually memorize the phrase the EXACT way you’re going to use it! Here’s a couple of example sentences containing the phrase IT CAME TO LIGHT THAT… (more…)

English Collocation: Eagerly Anticipating

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCIgy4_OEf4 Hello boys and girls! ;-) Today I’m bringing you another English collocation, and this time around it’s the following one: EAGERLY ANTICIPATING These are the exact words native English speakers use to describe the excitement of awaiting for something to happen, basically it’s when you want something to happen very, very much and you’re so anxious that you can barely contain your excitement! We all eagerly anticipate something. My blog readers eagerly anticipate new videos and new articles to appear on my website. I eagerly anticipate new comments on my blog and my YouTube videos so that I can respond to them and be of use to the English Harmony community. But what is it that you eagerly anticipate? Write it in the comments section below, and let me see that you can use the new English collocation EAGERLY ANTICIPATING in a sentence :!: (more…)

Creating English Sentences Using New Words? Waste of Time!

Does the following scenario ring a bell with you? -> You’re looking at a list of new English words given to you by your English teacher Your task is to use each of those words in a new sentence You’re going mad trying to think of example sentences… Eventually you create sentences in your native language containing those new words and then you translate them into English! Needless to say, this entire exercise is a total waste of your precious time and chances are, you’re not going to be able to use those new English words even when you’ve managed to insert them into sentences! Why? Well, keep reading this article and you’ll learn a thing or two about such practice of creating new English sentences using new vocabulary words – and you’ll also find out why learning READY-TO-GO sentences instead of creating new ones is the BEST way of acquiring those new English words! (more…)

Tricks with English Words – Horse Show or Horror Show?

You Should ACT Rather Than REACT During English Conversations!

I’m pretty sure that you can remember having a conversation with another English speaker during which you felt quite insecure and didn’t quite know what to say when responding to the other person’s questions – or maybe the other person didn’t even ask you anything and did all the talking themselves! Here’s what would typically happen during such conversations. “Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” (this is the other person initiating the conversation) “Ah, well, I’m doing OK, thanks for asking, and how are you?” “I’m all right, I’ve got the Monday blues all right, but what can you do when you have to bring another paycheck home at the end of the week, isn’t that right? Anyway, I went to see the football game on Saturday – the Falcons where taking on the Giants and you’d never guess who won the game! The Falcons had to beat the Giants to end their losing streak so they were giving it all they had, but then suddenly…” – and your conversation partner just goes on and on and on… … and you’re just left wondering when YOU are going to get a chance to say something! Personally I wouldn’t even call this type of one-way communication a conversation – it’s just one person’s MONOLOGUE and you’re a passive listener, nothing more. I warmly suggest you take matters into your own hands and make the conversation sound something like this: “Hello Sergio, how’s it going?” “Hi John, not too bad actually!” “That’s good, yeah… Listen, I went to see this football game on Saturday…” “Hey John, sorry, but I’m not really into football! Ice-hockey is what I prefer, and my team is having a really good run this season! The Rangers, on the other hand, are performing really badly unfortunately – my son roots for them and while I’m happy Boston Bruins are at the top of the league, I don’t like being too enthusiastic about it because it makes him unhappy!” Now, did you see what happened here? YOU became the one who delivers the speech, and John had to listen to what YOU are saying instead of making you listen to what he wants to say! Obviously I’m not trying to say that you should interrupt everyone who starts telling you something, I hope you realize this was an exaggerated example to make you understand one thing: If you only REACT during English conversations and allow other people to adopt the leading role, you’ll never get a chance to speak and develop your fluency! Be more daring :!: Don’t be afraid to say what you want to say – even if the other person mightn’t be really interested in it! (more…)

English Idiomatic Expression: “To Go the Extra Mile”

Many Native English Speakers Don’t Realize How HARD It Actually Is to Learn a Language!

Have you ever heard a native English speaker make a comment about some foreigner which clearly shows their irritation with the fact that the said foreigner doesn’t speak in English fluently enough or can’t understand what the native English speaker is saying? I’ve been the target of such judgmental, opinionated thinking myself as well as witnessed other foreigners becoming targets of unfair treatment just because they didn’t understand what they were told or weren’t able to say something in English, and here’s a typical scenario of how such treatment manifests itself: A native English speaker says something to a foreigner very fast, or even worse – with a strong local accent. The foreigner has NO IDEA what he was just told, and oftentimes he’s too embarrassed to say anything in response – he’s just smiling or nodding his head in agreement just so that the native English speaker would go away and leave him alone. The native English speaker then makes a comment about the whole situation by saying something along the lines of: “It’s about time they started learning some English…” or “He’s been working here for so long and still he has no English at all!” All I can say about that is the following – those native English speakers have NO IDEA of how difficult it actually is to learn a language :!: They have no idea that it’s impossible for foreigners to learn English by listening to very fast speech spoken by locals so they don’t even bother slowing their speech down thus making it impossible for the non-native speaker to understand them. They think that English is somehow “picked up” by foreigners simply being around English speakers, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. One has to make a lot of CONSCIOUS effort in order to learn English and be able to understand others as well as speak the language, and it requires many hours of spoken English practice to get to a level where the foreign English speaker can finally start speaking with other people in English comfortably. Some native English speakers may have been lead to believe that picking up English is fairly simple by the analogy of small foreign children of pre-school age – they start speaking in English pretty fast once they start going to a kindergarten or school so surely adult foreigners should be capable of the same, right? Not really :!: You can’t really compare small children with adults because children have no fear of making mistakes and they can speak ALL THE TIME thus improving their English very fast whereas for many adult foreigners at work opportunities to speak are quite limited – not to mention the embarrassment and judgmental treatment which are LIMITING their potential. All in all, learning English is quite a tricky process for the average foreigner, so let’s look at the various aspects of it a little bit deeper. (more…)

“Beat – Beat – Beaten”: Learn Irregular English Verbs Through Expressions!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dsvsomHg_c Hello my friends foreign English speakers! I’m back with another English irregular verb, and this time around it’s TO BEAT. As you know from my previous videos (if you don’t, please watch it HERE, it’s super-important!), you shouldn’t be learning English irregular verbs by repeating and memorizing word strings such as BEAT, BEAT, BEATEN (these are the respective Present, Past and Past Participle forms of the verb TO BEAT). Instead, you should learn each of those verb forms as part of a word combination and that way you’ll achieve all the following: You’ll avoid getting mixed up when using BEAT and BEATEN in real life; You’ll be able to use these irregular verb forms without much THINKING; You’ll INSTINCTIVELY feel when to use them – just like a native speaker! So, without a further ado, let’s look at the phrases containing the various forms of the irregular verb TO BEAT, and alternatively you can watch the video or listen to the podcast above to gain even more insight into using the following phrases: It BEATS me; I BEAT the traffic on the way to; BEATEN to death. (more…)

4 Reasons I Wish I Was Born a Native English Speaker

I don’t believe for a second that native English speakers would be superior to foreigners and those who hail from countries where other languages are used as means of communication of first choice. I’m very well aware, however, that people who are born native English speakers have an unfair advantage over non-native English speakers simply because they happen to speak the world’s language which avails them of more opportunities in life! What opportunities? Well, here’s a list of things English fluency has given me - only bear in mind that I’m a foreigner so it goes without saying that any native English speaker would avail of all the same PLUS a whole lot more because they've ALWAYS been fluent English speakers whereas I’ve acquired my fluency later in life. Sure enough, if you’re willing to work exceptionally hard, you can be extremely successful in life as a foreign English speaker – just think about people like Arnie, for example. Work like hell, never stop – and the world is your oyster, isn’t that right? It’s all nice and well, but the reality is a little bit different. We rarely hear about those non-native English speakers who are working really hard and still don’t achieve their ambitions just because they happen to come from a foreign background – it’s only the success stories that everyone hears about… So, here’s 4 reasons as to why I wish I was born a native English speaker, and if you feel that I’ve left something out – just post it in the comments section below! (more…)

Using Short English Words AT, OF, A, THE in Conversations

English Verb “To GET” & How To Use It in Phrasal Verbs, Expressions & More!

I love simple, short English verbs such as TO DO, TO PUT, TO GET and others - the reason being: the same verb can be used in a huge number of different situations thus making it possible for you to communicate about A LOT without spending a lot of time on learning massive amounts of new English vocabulary! Just look at how the simple verb TO GET replaces other words: Do you understand me? – Do you GET me? (As a matter of fact, this is what you should say when asking people if they understood what you’ve just said – a lot of foreigners overuse the verb “to understand”!) How much do you earn? – How much do you GET? Will you arrive on time? – Will you GET there on time? Let’s assume, for argument’s sake, that you didn’t know the words “to understand”, “to earn” and “to arrive”. If that were the case, you’d hardly be able to formulate the above questions without using the word TO GET, and it just goes to show how effective it is to learn how to… Use One Word in 100 Different Ways Instead of Learning 100 Different Words! Well, obviously I’m not trying to discourage you from learning more English words and widening your vocabulary, it’s just that I’ve always believed it’s much easier to learn to speak English fluently with limited vocabulary and THEN learn more words. Unfortunately, so many foreign English speakers (I was one of them, by the way!) are trying to build massive vocabularies believing that it will somehow make them fluent while in reality nothing could be further from the truth … Anyway, let’s stop beating around the bush and here’s all you’ll ever need to know about the English verb TO GET! ;-) (more…)

Memorizing Grammar Rules to Get a Promotion? How Crazy is That?!

Which is Better – Direct or Indirect Speech?

As you may already know, there are two main ways in the English language you can talk about what another person has said: DIRECT speech INDIRECT or the so-called reported speech Direct speech is a word-by-word account of what the person in question said. For example, if your friend asked you “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” and now you’re telling someone else what your friend had asked you using the direct speech, here’s how you’d say it: “Mark asked me “Would you mind looking after my pets over the weekend?” so I can’t really go out with you on a Saturday night, sorry!” As you can see, direct speech is very easy to incorporate into your own speech for the simple reason that YOU DON’T HAVE TO CHANGE ANY OF THE WORDS! You simply say it the way you heard it and I think it’s one of the biggest benefits of the direct speech – especially in situations when you find it a bit hard to speak in English and you hesitate and stumble upon words a lot. Indirect speech, on the other hand, requires a bit more thought put into it, and here’s an example: “My mom told me that my dad was going to take us to Disneyland the following summer, isn't that amazing?” Now, what I want you to pay attention to is the following: You HAVE TO CHANGE WORDS AROUND in indirect speech! The exact words used by mom were different; here’s what she said: “Dad IS going to take us to Disneyland NEXT summer!” – but when you REPORT what she said as part of indirect speech, it becomes “… dad WAS going to take us to Disneyland THE FOLLOWING summer…” It’s called BACKSHIFT and it simply means you have to change words around in indirect speech (verbs adopt Past Tense forms and words like “tomorrow” change to “the next day” etc.) if you begin the sentence with PAST TENSE – and more often than not, you will be using the Past Tense when reporting another person’s speech. After all, it was at some stage in the PAST when you heard the other person speak :!: So which one is more convenient for you as a foreign English speaker – direct or indirect speech? Keep reading this article to find out more about benefits and advantages of using both – DIRECT and INDIRECT speech when speaking in English with other people! ;-) (more…)

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…)