7 English Words & Phrases I Thought Were Wrong (But Then It Turned Out I WAS WRONG)!
Back in the day when I was a perfectionist regarding the English language, I thought that English grammar rules are set in stone and I used to question and analyze every new English word or expression I came across. It’s no wonder therefore that I thought idiomatic expressions such as “Long time no see! ” were grammatically incorrect while in reality nothing could be further from the truth! You see – some things we say in English aren’t subject to any rules, we JUST SAY THEM and if you start questioning them, you can only make matters worse by confusing yourself to a degree you can’t even speak fluently. Being the perfectionist that I was, I would always take the academic approach and try and put some sort of a structure on everything I would read or hear in English; if something didn’t make sense to me, I would label it as being WRONG. Needless to say, my ability to speak was next to none back then for the simple reason that my textbook-based English was only good for doing grammar tests and constructing grammatically correct sentences on a piece of paper. Whenever I tried to speak with real people in real life, I would apply the same analysis as when writing and doing grammar tests, but the simple truth is that you just can’t speak fluently when you’re constantly questioning yourself and your conversation partner. On top of that, I was fairly stubborn as well, and I just wouldn’t take other people’s advice on board because I was so self-absorbed that I thought I knew everything best! :grin: (more…)
Why It’s VERY Important to Speak Out LOUD When Learning New English Vocabulary Words!
How to Develop Good Ear for English Listening
Information Overload: How To Stop Thinking TOO MUCH When Speaking English!
I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling when you think so much ABOUT HOW TO SAY something in English, that eventually you can’t say anything at all! Different English Tenses, verb forms and synonyms are swarming in your head and the information overload shuts your operational memory down, so to speak. You mightn’t have given it a conscious thought, but all these problems originate in the fact that you prepare your speech before actually speaking out loud instead of speaking instantaneously. Besides, the more you think about HOW to respond to a question or say something in English, the more choices you have to make and the bigger the information overload becomes. Consequently it may become nearly impossible for you to make a decision on what English Grammar Tense is to be used, what words would describe the situation best, and so on; also fear of making mistakes prevents you from saying AT LEAST SOMETHING just to get the speech going. When you write, you can make well calculated decisions and decide what means of expression is the most appropriate for the given situation. When you have all but a split second to make that decision during an actual live conversation, your brain just cannot act that fast. When being forced to deliver an instant speech and make multiple choices at the same time, you may find it overwhelming, and you may develop a monkey-mind syndrome when you feel as if you’re paralyzed and completely unable to deliver a normal speech. Somewhere during your quest for perfection quality of what you’re saying in English has taken over performance - the speech itself - and your perfectionist nature requires you to analyze almost everything you’re saying. How to stop doing it? Why it’s happening? Find out answers to these and more questions by reading the rest of this blog post! (more…)
English Idiomatic Expression: “To Go the Extra Mile”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdiXDxmdFGg Hello boys and girls! ;-) I haven’t posted any English idiomatic expression videos lately, so I figured why not record one and put it up on YouTube and on my blog so that you can learn something new! Today’s phrase is the following: TO GO THE EXTRA MILE and if you want to find out how it’s to be used in real life English conversations, please watch the video above. In this video I’m providing 3 examples of using this particular idiomatic expression, but obviously there’s a whole lot more ways of using it when communicating with other English speakers. The expression TO GO THE EXTRA MILE can be used whenever you want to describe someone making extra effort – if you think about it, it actually makes a lot of sense. Walking another mile when you’ve already walked the entire way quite obviously involves some extra work, and apparently at some stage native English speakers started using this phrase to describe making extra effort in general. So, watch this video, do some spoken English practice with this expression in order to cement it into your brain, and if you’ve any questions in relation to this phrase – let me know in the comments section below! Cheers, Robby
Warning! Don’t Start Improving Your English Before Watching THIS!
How To Speak About Past Events During English Conversations
“Don’t focus on studying English grammar – go for spoken English instead!” – this is one of the few phrases you can read on my blog nearly every time I publish something. Reasoning behind this statement is that if you learn to speak correctly, you’ll also learn English grammar along the way. You see – grammar is set of rules binding the words together and determining their place in a sentence. The more you learn English in a natural way, the more you’ll start developing the special “feel” for correct English grammar and you’ll instinctively know how a particular thing has to be said. Real life conversations can sometimes go against standard English grammar rules, and it’s important for you as a foreign English speaker to be aware of such exemptions :!: Not that you’re required to stuff your spoken English with slang phrases and pose as a native speaker! It’s just useful to know that sometimes you can ignore one or another grammar rule to make your speech easier and friendlier! In this video I'm discussing how native English speakers speak about past events during a conversation, and the respective choice of English Grammar Tenses. It can be quite confusing for a foreign English speaker to get the tenses right – especially when we start looking at the Perfect Tenses and such. So watch this video to see how you can make your life easier and also make your English speech sound more native! ;-) And of course, if the video playback is hampered for some reason – have a read of the video script below! (more…)
English Sentence Starter: “I Heard Somewhere That…”
What I’m Currently Doing & Why I’ve Stopped Publishing Daily Videos
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d29TU4UTROc There was a time when I published a video a day, and sometimes I would even upload two videos in a single day onto my YouTube account. The times have changed, and now you may be wondering why Robby isn't making as many daily English idiomatic expression videos as he used to! The answer is quite simple, my friends – I’m currently very busy preparing for my next big project called FluencyGym.com. I spend a few hours every day brainstorming and creating content for the upcoming English confidence program Fluency Gym Coach, and it’s going to consist of a lot of videos where I’m going to draw parallels between working out and speaking in English! Don’t worry though, I’ll keep the English idiomatic expression videos coming albeit not at such a frequent rate. As you can imagine, I have a lot on my plate now, and I simply have to change my blogging frequency so that I can work on my new project. To find out more about FluencyGym.com, please watch the video above! Chat soon, Robby ;-)
Memorizing Grammar Rules to Get a Promotion? How Crazy is That?!
How to Speak MORE Fluently Than a Native English Speaker (Yes, It’s POSSIBLE!)
Words to start a sentence – 35 Perfect Ways of Starting Sentences in English!
Here’s what’s going to boost your English fluency to incredible heights: Your ability to START a sentence WITHOUT much THINKING! Just think about this: how many times have you found yourself in a situation when you have to say something in English but you just can’t say the FIRST word? (more…)
How To Stop Getting Stuck When Speaking English
Are you having situations when your conversation with an English speaking person suddenly stops because you’re struggling to find the right words to say? Let’s say, for example, you’re having a chat with one of your colleagues during the launch break. He starts talking about last night’s soccer match and expects you to make some comments about it. You open your mouth to start telling something related to what he just said, but … nothing comes out! You’re very eager to say something so that you wouldn’t go down in your workmate’s estimation – but you just can’t utter more than a few sounds like – well… ehhh… ahh…. Or even worse – you might try to force yourself to speak something related to the subject. As a result, you can start mispronouncing words like – was the player really regle… relege…relegated… I know this feeling when you can’t speak at all although deep inside you know that you’re pretty good at writing, understanding, reading and also speaking English. It feels terrible! Especially because you don’t have a real explanation as to why such moments of very bad speech are happening. Well, on many occasions it is how the English fluency issue manifests itself. Countless foreign English speakers on the world are facing this issue on a daily basis and it’s all because of how English is traditionally taught. But it’s not always the case! (more…)
Practical English Grammar Present Perfect vs. Simple Past
Funny English Phrases: Sports Related Idioms
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrYKYEgJOgI Hello my dear fellow foreign English speaker from YearOfEnglish.com! I’m back again with yet another funny English phrase video, and in this particular installment I’ve done a role play around sports-related conversations people would normally have when discussing last night’s game or while watching a live baseball or football match. You might and you might not be a sporty person, but whichever is the case, some of these sports-related English idioms will definitely come in handy for you at some stage in life. Especially considering the fact that many of those idioms can be used in figurative speech to describe completely different concepts – it doesn’t necessarily have to be sports :!: Want to see it for yourself? Then watch the video above, and you can also refer to its transcript below: (more…)
4 Ways of Active English Immersion for Foreign English Speakers
YearOfEnglish.com: Create a Habit of Thinking of How Certain Things Might be Called in English!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaFB_hLhMcU Hello my foreigner friends from YearOfEnglish.com! (and everyone else, of course!) This time around let’s focus on building your English vocabulary and the related habits you should create for yourself. You see, the main problem is that many foreigner English speakers believe English vocabulary has to be built the following way: Learning abstract vocabulary lists; Learning meanings of individual words; Learning translations of words from your native language into English. Now, I can rubbish all these assumptions in an instant! First of all, vocabulary lists are abstract word compilations and they have very little – if anything! – to do with your life and things YOU have to talk about on a daily basis. Secondly, fluent English speech doesn’t happen just by sticking individual words together. Every English word is actually associated with other words creating word groups or the so-called collocations. Thirdly, if you keep translating from your native language, you won’t get rid of the habit of preparing the speech in your head prior to speaking it out loud and that’s not what I’d call true fluency! If you want to build your English vocab the natural way, you’re way better off by creating a routine of thinking of what new English words you should learn as you go about YOUR DAILY BUSINESS :!: (more…)
Is Past Perfect Tense Any Good For The Average English Speaker?
How I Said “Check” Instead of “Receipt” in a Hardware Store (And What You Can Learn From It!)
Do I Speak at the Same Speed in Real Life as in My Videos & How to Maintain Optimal Speed of Speech
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf90ztbBukI Hi Guys! Recently I published a video on my blog where I compared speaking in English with fighting, and the main premise of the article was the following – you can’t be afraid of getting a bloody nose during a fight if you want to win, and the same applies on conversations (you don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes). Soon after that I received a comment on my YouTube channel from a follower of mine: Now, the comment was so interesting that I decided to record a response video, so here it is! The main points discussed in the video: (more…)
You Can Say Nearly Everything Using the Word “THING”!
We foreign English speakers often speak too complicated. Why go the extra mile every time you want to say something and explain the whole situation in the very detail? Compare the two sentences “So what do you think about our management trying to recoup some of the lost profits by cutting our wages?” and “So what do you think about the whole wage cuts thing?” The first sentence details the topic you’re discussing; the second one gets straight to the matter without wasting much time on explaining what’s already known to both people involved in the conversation. Also, it sounds more friendly and casual, and you can definitely ease any tension that’s present between you and the person you’re taking to :!: Say for instance, you find yourself sharing a launch break with someone you haven’t spoken a lot with, so you’re a bit uncomfortable with that person. Then he or she makes a casual comment about something going on in the company, it’s just small talk really. Now, if you respond with “Yes, the whole thing looks pretty bad all right!” it’s going to sound much better than “Yes, I agree, there’s not enough resources available to our management to complete the new building”. The first phrase is a very common way of confirming the other person’s opinion and sounds friendly enough. You really don’t need to repeat what the other person said to you, so a short phrase “The whole thing about…” is totally OK as a reply. Of course, if you’re having a formal conversation you wouldn’t risk being taken for a person with bad manners, so you would probably explain everything in more detail. If you’re chatting with a friend of yours, on the other hand, why beat around the bush? It’s so much more convenient to use the amazing English word “THING” to describe nearly everything you want! (more…)
30-day Vocabulary Acquisition Course- Day 27- Take a rain check!
English Teacher Destroys Student Confidence by Scolding Them? It’s Unacceptable!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4dXcUqnjKc This video is a response to one of my blog readers’ e-mails, and he’s painting a pretty dire picture of his English class! Their English teacher makes them read a paragraph out of their textbooks and then the students are required to retell the story using their own words. It’s all nice and well up to the point where she starts scolding those students who are struggling with verbalizing their thoughts :!: IT IS JUST UNACCEPTABLE! What she’s doing is the following: she’s taking a brilliant English fluency improving tool – retelling stories (read more about it in this blog post) – and then she turns it into a confidence destroying machine! It’s mad. As a teaching professional, she’s actually supposed to do the VERY OPPOSITE: (more…)
How To Achieve Fluent English Reading Knowing Only 70 – 80 % of Vocabulary!
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…)
The State of “The Flow” and Its Importance When Improving Your English
English Idiomatic Expression: “Out of the Question”
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…)
Difference Between Struggling English Speakers & Those Who Don’t Experience Fluency Issues
English Idiomatic Expression: “Let Me Draw Your Attention to The Fact That…”
My Honest Opinion on Developing English Listening Skills
I hate when I’m told what I didn’t ask for, and so do most people for that matter. Let’s say for instance, I walk into a drug-store and ask for slimming pills because I’m fed up with my extra weight and I want to look more masculine. The pharmacist starts telling me that I should start engaging in some physical activities, eat a balanced diet and use the pills only as a supplement. Would I listen to him? Nope! All that rant about a balanced diet and a workout regime simply wouldn’t register with me because I want the damn slimming pills which will give me the kind of a body I’m dreaming of, right? Same goes with most advice we get in life – it’s very hard to change our beliefs and opinions just because someone tries to convince us of something. Basically it boils down to this – we often hear what we want to hear, and we just screen off everything else - unless we’re really trying to analyse the matter at hand and we have an open mind while doing so :!: For example, I’ve been blogging about English fluency development for years on end, and I always point out the following things: To speak fluent English we need to engage in HEAVY SPEAKING PRACTICE, there are no magic shortcuts! Passive English immersion will mostly develop our understanding – NOT OUT ABILITY TO SPEAK! You can’t listen your way to fluency, you need to speak in order to train your mouth and mind to work together! Still there are many English teachers out there preaching the importance of English listening practice. Some even claim that first we have to spend all our time listening just like babies do, and then we’ll be able to start speaking… Now I’ll adopt the role of the pharmacist trying to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear – but I’ll give it a shot nonetheless! (more…)
FREE eBook – Practical English Grammar!
No.1 Secret to speak English fluently and confidently
I receive messages and emails on a daily basis of people asking me if they should make a notebook where they can write down the list of useful idioms, sophisticated words and phraseology so they can learn and revise later. My plain and simple answer to your question which in itself is a question- Are you writing ‘The Joe's Dictionary’? (more…)
Counting in English Helps Your Fluency!
Is it Possible to Achieve English Fluency While Living in a Non-English Speaking Society?
“Th” Pronunciation – Thank You or Senk You?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pie_oucVFN8 In video Episode #7 you’ll hear me discuss benefits and drawbacks of pronouncing the voiced and unvoiced English sounds ‘th’ – ð and θ - the traditional way. Generally I’m agreeing with the general English teaching principle of trying to pronounce those sounds as close to their native pronunciation as possible. Nonetheless, there are situations when foreign English speakers are much better off with replacing the ð and θ sounds with easier ones like d and t. I know that many ESL and EFL teachers would kill me for saying that, but I’ll risk it anyway! ;-) (more…)