What Exactly I Mean By Saying “Don’t Study English Grammar”
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 Increase Your English Fluency By 100% in Less Than 12h!
What’s the Best Way to Go About Shadowing English Videos?
How I Stopped Being a Non-native English Speaker…
Until about a year ago I considered myself a non-native English speaker. I arrived in Ireland back in 2002 from a small country in Baltic region. It’s roughly the size of Ireland but it has only half of Ireland’s population. Its capital is called Riga and our crimson-white-crimson flag represents a blood-stained stretcher used to carry mortally wounded soldiers from a battle-field. The country I’m talking about is called Latvia – andÂ I'mÂ one in a 1.5 million people on this planet whose native language is Latvian. Anyway, I chose the settle in an English speakingÂ country so I’m here for more than 8 years now and by the looks of it I’ll stay here for the foreseeable future. Living in an English speaking society has presented many challenges along the way – most of them due to my lack of English fluency. But I always faced up to the difficulties and thanks to my love for the English language I can enjoy communicating with locals easily and naturally. So after about 8 years spent in Ireland I stopped being a non-native English speaker! Brace yourself! I’m about to reveal one of the biggest secrets of integration into an English speaking society and how to stop being a non-native English speaker! :shock: So here we go… (more…)
English Vocabulary Building – Part 3
Vocabulary Building Part 1 | Vocabulary Building Part 2 How are you getting on, foreign English speaker? Have you heeded to my advice from the previous videos? I hope you have because if you’re still experiencing difficulties with speaking English fluently, you have to take action. Just by standing by and hoping the things will improve achieves nothing, so today I’ll be telling you about the third aspect of building your English vocabulary. And it’s about not learning many meanings of the same word at once – believe me, if you do it, the chances of memorizing and using that particular word are slim indeed! ;-) I can tell you from my own experience that if you write down a new English word in your dictionary that has a number of different meanings; it’s a very bad idea to try memorizing them all at once. And taking into account that most of English words do have a number of meanings, you might be very tempted to learn a few of them at once assuming that this way you’ll increase your learning curve. But it just doesn’t work that way, and here’s why. (more…)
Your Body Constantly Changes – And So Does Your English Fluency!
Is It OK to Use Conversational Phrases in Formal English Writing?
I got a comment on my blog post Sometimes It Makes More Sense to Acquire English Vocab as Part of Figurative Speech from Binh Thanh asking the following question: “Can we use these phrases in formal writing?” Now, for those who’re not familiar with the concept of idiomatic expressions and English collocations, here’s a very brief intro: English language actually consists mostly of word GROUPS; Phrases, expressions and idioms (otherwise known as collocations) form a big part of those word groups; If you learn new English vocab as part of every-day expressions and idiomatic language, you’re so much more likely to speak fluently! Now, Binh Thanh’s comment highlights a very long-standing myth, namely -formal, written English is a completely different beast altogether, and when you write formal correspondence or reports, for example, you have to write in a completely different way you speak. Personally I call BS on that! (more…)
“What Are the Most Commonly Used English Words?” is the Wrong Question!
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…)
How to Develop Your Ability to GUESS New English Word Meanings
Don’t Analyze the English Language Too Much – It’s Not Good for Your Fluency!
Check Out My NEW Blog AccentAdventure.com!
I started EnglishHarmony.com back in 2007 – so it’s almost 5 years in operation! This year, however, marks the birth of another blog of mine – namely, AccentAdventure.com! It’s a new blog I started earlier this summer, and it’s dedicated to learning different English accents. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know my stance on pronunciation and accent related issues. The advice I always give to my fellow foreigners is – “Speak the way you’re comfortable, don’t try to bend over backwards just to get your English pronunciation perfect because you’re running the risk of ruining your English fluency!” Having said this, however, I’ve NEVER ENCOURAGED my fellow foreign English speakers to NEGLECT the pronunciation aspect of their spoken English; I’ve never said – “Who cares about pronunciation, speak however you want!” A lot of people have misinterpreted my advice and I’ve received quite a few comments blaming me for sending out the wrong message. And I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest to receive a couple comments on this video blog post saying that I’m being a hypocrite by first telling everyone not to care about proper pronunciation and then learning to speak like an American which obviously contradicts my previous claims! Now, let me get this one straight. The purpose of the AccentAdventure.comÂ blog is to show that it is POSSIBLE to learn to speak like an American, Brit, Australian or any other native English speaker if you invest enough time and effort into the process! Also, I want to use this new blog as a platform to reveal popular misconceptions surrounding accent acquisition – same way I’m using this blog to show how ineffective traditional studies are when it comes to oral English fluency. For instance, I don’t believe it’s necessary to focus on accent reduction; this term is wrong! I also think it’s totally wrong to learn pronunciation by learning what way certain English vowels can be pronounced etc. It’s 100 times more efficient to learn how to pronounce certain words and sentences; if you learn to analyze separate sounds and how they can be pronounced you’ll end up in a ‘paralysis by analysis’ situation! So, basically if you’re interested in certain tips and tricks on improving your English pronunciation and accent – definitely make sure to check out my new blog at AccentAdventure.com! Robby ;-)
Top Secret! (How To Achieve Truly Confident Spoken English)
My dear website readers, YouTube channel watchers and Twitter followers! You can religiously stick to my advice on how to improve spoken English, but if you miss the most important component – your road to fluent spoken English will be filled with potholes! You can really gather yourself up every time you feel that your confidence in spoken English drops. You can start speaking slowly and pick the words carefully as I’ve told you should do when you feel your mind racing. You can also use really simple words to explain yourself to prevent from getting stuck if you can’t remember the very exact phrase or word you want to say in English. But once again – if you miss the most important part of the equation, you’ll be always struggling with maintaining constantly fluent English! So which way you want to go? Do you want to be able to consciously use all the good advice on improving your spoken English and keep making effort OR you want to reach a point in your life where you don’t have to make an effort at all to speak fluently? If I were you, I’d definitely take the last route and I believe you’d too! (more…)
Nonsense of Learning English by Listening to Fast English Spoken by Locals
Difference Between Struggling English Speakers & Those Who Don’t Experience Fluency Issues
Video Transcript Below: Hi guys, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby's English Harmony video blog! And obviously, if you're listening to this as an audio file on my podcast, welcome back to English Harmony podcast. So in today's video I'm going to address a question that some of you might have. Namely – “Robby you keep going on about these English fluency issues and that it is all because we have acquired the English language primarily as a means of written language, basically we've been writing and filling in gaps in textbooks and translating to and from our native language. And that's why we have developed this terrible writing mode syndrome whereby we prepare speech as if writing before we actually speak out loud and it obviously interferes with the actual conversation and all that and we keep getting native language, our native language mixed in with the English language in our minds, right? But how is that any different from anyone else who might be just learning the English language? Who might be just starting it. Basically, beginner English learners. Surely, those people would have the same type of issues, right?” (more…)
Funny English Phrases: Driving Related Idioms
How To Get Involved When Speaking English
In this blog post I’ll be looking at one of the most dreadful things foreign English speakers come across – making MISTAKES. You might know the feeling – you start talking to someone in English, and then all of a sudden you make the most stupid mistake! And despite being a decent English speaker, the mistakes you make may create an impression that you’re just an English learner. It’s really irritating. It’s frustrating. Making mistakes like saying “he” instead of “she” or mixing up tenses and saying “had” instead of “has” should be something that only beginners do, isn’t that right? Yet it’s something that can happen to any of us no matter how fluently we speak! I’ve discussed this phenomenon at length on my blog previously and given plenty of advice on how to deal with those moments when you feel that you just can’t speak normally. At times there’s nothing better than just jumping into an English conversation and ignoring the mistakes you’re making. If it’s bound to happen, accept it and let go of the very fear of making those mistakes! Strangely enough, on many occasions it works. Having spent a few minutes chatting and forcing yourself to draw away your focus from mistakes to the conversation itself, you alleviate the self-imposed stress and your English fluency returns to normal. If it doesn’t help, you have to resort to another powerful tactic I’ve suggested previously on a number of articles and videos – slowing your speech down. On many occasions foreign English speakers are trying to match the speed of native English speakers’ speech and it can have quite the opposite effect. You may start stumbling upon words and make terrible mistakes just because you’re rushing your speech, and slowing down and pausing to pick the best fitting word is definitely a good idea. And sometimes when you’re so overwhelmed by the inability to speak normally, the best thing you can do is just forget about English for a while! Immersion in other activities allows your mind to “restart” itself and you can return to a normal English speaking mode the next day. There is, however, one aspect of making mistakes when speaking English that I haven’t yet touched on my blog. It’s about GETTING INOLVED when speaking. (more…)
Surround Yourself With English ALL the Time!
FGC Goal #1: Learning American Phrases 39 – 50 using the English Harmony Method
Using Short English Words AT, OF, A, THE in Conversations
VIDEO SCRIPT BELOW: Hi guys, hello boys and girls, and welcome back to English Harmony video blog. I'm Robby, your English fluency mentor from EnglishHarmony.com and in today's video we're going to look at what you should be doing when you're not sure of usage of certain little English words such as "at", "of", "a", and "the". So basically, when you're speaking and you're not sure of whether you should stick that little word in the phrase or sentence or you shouldn't - let me tell you right up front: if you start analyzing your speech too much and you start wrecking your head over these tiny little details, your fluency is gonna go out the window. Here is a typical example of what I'm talking about today - just listen to it once more: "out the window". What did I just say? Did I just say, "out OF THE window" or did I just say, "out THE window"? (more…)
I’ve Been Speaking in English for Years! I Still Require Regular Spoken Practice Though…
I’ve been an English speaker for what seems like a lifetime, so you’d think that by now I’ve become so comfortable with the English language that I could stop doing all the following: Speaking with myself during the day to keep my spoken English skills sharp; Preparing for important English conversations by doing some spoken self-practice; Speaking with myself in the car while driving to work etc. Guess what? I JUST CAN’T STOP DOING IT :!: And I warmly suggest you don’t ever give up such habits either – no matter how good your English becomes! Why am I saying this? It’s simple enough, my friend non-native English speaker: The moment you stop actively working on your fluency, it will start stalling! (more…)
FAQ: How to Improve My English?
Contextual English Vocab Building: Using TheFreedictionary.com the SMART Way!
A good while ago I published a video in which I touched upon contextual English learning and I also provided the opportunity for everyone in that video to do a simple test so that they can see for themselves how effective contextual vocabulary building is as opposed to the traditional way. Check out that video HERE! A few days ago I got a comment on that video asking for a good website to learn English vocabulary in context to which I responded by saying that TheFreeDictionary.com is one of the best dictionary websites out there containing a large array of English phrases and collocations which is exactly what you want when learning English contextually. Yesterday I got another comment by the same person asking how exactly TheFreeDictionary.com website is to be used for the purpose of contextual learning, and so I decided to record this video providing the EXACT instructions on how to look up phrases and expressions containing specific words on that website. (more…)
English Fluency Q & A – 17 September 2016 – Ask Robby!
English Idiomatic Expression: “You may want to…”
Have you heard this popular English phrase – “You may want to (do something)”? It’s used by English speakers worldwide, and it’s very handy to have it in your active phraseology because of the following reasons: You can use it instead of “you should…” but you don’t want to sound as if you’re giving orders; You want to give someone unsolicited advice but you don’t want to fall out with them in case the other person doesn’t take well to being told what to do! Basically the phrase “You may want to…” can be used if you want to come across as a friendly person and you want to avoid any miscommunication that might potentially cause a negative reaction to what you’re saying. To find out more – and also to hear some examples in this phrase in use – please watch the video above! I hope you’ll find this video useful, and also don’t forget to repeat and memorize the phrase – that’s the only way you can add it onto your active vocabulary. And did I say “you may also want to come up with some sample sentences on your own using the phrase “you may want to” and use them in your spoken English self-practice session?” ;-) Chat soon, Robby
Just to Let You Know I’m Still HERE!
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
Improve Your Spoken English by Using Spaced Repetition
Spaced repetition is a term normally associated with language learning flashcards and spaced repetition systems (SRS). I have to tell you right off the bat though that I’m not a big fan of flashcards because I’d been using the same technique when building my English vocabulary a number of years ago. In the end I realized that memorizing something that’s translated into your native language is actually going to impede your spoken English fluency :shock: No matter how controversial it may sound, language learners all over the world are becoming aware of the downsides of traditional English learning methods. Heated debates have sparked on language learning blogs about efficiency of using flashcards, for example and many language learning enthusiasts realize that a major shift in terms of language learning is happening right now. Still many language learners are oblivious to the simple fact – repeating and memorizing a phrase or a word in your target language with the corresponding translation in your native language will make it much harder to actually speak the target language :!: So that’s probably the most valuable piece of advice I can give you regarding spaced repetition and learning and improving your English – don’t create flashcards and don’t use any English learning SRS that are based on translating between two languages! But let’s stop whining about things that are wrong. Once we know that the best way to acquire new English vocabulary is to repeat and memorize words and phrases and associate them with explanations in the English language, we can move on to discussing the very nature of spaced repetition. (more…)
Funny English Phrases: Animal Related Idioms
English Idiom: “To Your Heart’s Content”
Hi everybody! The year is drawing to an end, Christmas is upon us, my Holidays have begun in earnest, and I can record videos just like this one TO MY HEART’S CONTENT! Today’s video is dedicated to an English idiom TO YOUR HEART’S CONTENT, and first of all let’s validate it to see if it’s indeed a valid English word combination by entering this phrase into Google search (don’t forget to use quotation marks!): As you can see, it’s a totally valid English idiom as indicated by over 2 million search results and also the fact that the first search result clearly says: “to heart’s content” – idioms and phrases. Now, as to what this idiom means – well, it’s simple enough indeed! (more…)
Ask Me ANY English Grammar Related Question You May Have!
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…)
7 Reasons Why Having Been Born a Foreigner Is One of the Best Things That Ever Happened to You!
What’s Wrong With Traditional English Studies?
English Idiom: “Wrap Your Head Around Something”
Hi guys and welcome back to another installment of the English Idiomatic Expression videos! :-) This time around we’re going to look at the following English idiom: WRAP YOUR HEAD AROUND SOMETHING and how it’s used in real life English conversations. Now, let me tell you right off the bat – more often than not, this particular idiom is used in a negative context. Basically it means that you’ll be most likely saying that you CAN’T wrap your head around something as opposed to saying that you can or you find it easy to wrap your head around something. Are you curious as to what exactly this phrase means? Would you like to be able to use it in your daily English conversations? (more…)