Rank #1: English Sentence Starter: “Speaking Of…”
Hello my friends foreign English speakers!
It’s me – Robby – from English Harmony here and this time around I’m bringing you another English idiomatic expression, namely – “SPEAKING OF…”
Long story short, whenever you’re asked a question and you find it a little bit difficult to respond, you can resort to the strategy of saying “SPEAKING OF…” which then is followed by the very subject of the question.
Basically what you’re doing here is – you’re just REPEATING the other person’s question which is super-easy yet at the same time it adds a lot of substance to your speech.
In other words – instead of just responding with a few word sentence, you may as well start your response by saying “SPEAKING OF…”, then repeat the question, and only THEN provide your answer!
Now, do you want to see how this strategy works in real life?
Well, what are you waiting for? Start watching the video above!
May 02 2016
Rank #2: Am I Forcing Myself To Speak With a Native-like English Accent?
Hello my fellow foreign English speakers!
The other day one of my YouTube followers asked me a question about my pronunciation and accent, here it is:
Hi Robby, once again I’ve watched one of your first videos and compared to this one. The progress is amazing! But I want to ask you something – in your first videos you speak in a kind of casual, relaxed way but yes, your accent was much more significant. Though it didn’t affect the clarity of your speech. Now you have moderated you speech and some people may take you for a native speaker. But I bet this current way of speaking requires more energy and self-control so you don’t slip back into your native accent. Please, let me know if that is the case!
Now, it’s a very good question, so I guessed it definitely deserved a video response from me.
Watch it above and enjoy my friends!
The post Am I Forcing Myself To Speak With a Native-like English Accent? appeared first on English Harmony.
Mar 28 2017
Rank #3: English Fluency Q & A – Ask Robby – Face-to-face Communication – Improving Overall Fluency
Video Transcript Below:
Hi guys, hello boys and girls and hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers. That’s me, Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog. And this is going to be one of those question and answer sessions whereby I’m answering to emails that my blog visitors have emailed me obviously.
Reader’s Question: I’m Fluent, but Not Fluent Enough! What to Do?
So the first email is about a particular problem faced by this person and he described the problem the following way. So he can have conversations with anyone and he can understand and reply but he is not as fluent as he would like to be. And in his own words “I’m not able to use a lot of vocabulary because it’s very difficult for me to memorize words, therefore my written skill is also very bad. I commit a lot of mistakes in spelling when I write something.” So he basically requests me to give some advice.
So first things first, it’s of the utmost importance not to perceive all aspects of the English improvement at a same time. So you’re saying that you are not as fluent, meaning you can’t speak as fluently as you would like to and then you kind of make the connection between that and your written skill, right? So you’re saying that therefore my written skill is also very bad, right?
So I’ve got to let you know that there is no direct correlation between your overall fluency and your written fluency. Obviously, obviously, if you can’t speak at all for instance chances are that your written fluency is also going to be very bad and vice versa. But what I’m trying to say is that there’s a lot of people who can speak no problem while at the same time they struggle with writing and quite the opposite which is actually the most typical case scenario.
A lot of foreigners are very good at writing – I was going to say at speaking but that’s wrong, at writing – just because the traditional English teaching methodology revolves around writing, you know? Grammar, writing, all that kind of stuff and speech is neglected. So typically you would be able to write much better than you would speak.
But your situation is – your fluency is somewhat lagging behind and your writing skills are also not the way you’d want them to be so you’re kind of making the connection “therefore my writing skills are also bad and I make a lot of mistakes in spelling.” You have to first of all perceive each area separately, right?
When you’re talking about your overall fluency skills, focus on speaking only. When it comes to writing, that’s when writing practice comes into the equation, you know? In order to be good at writing you’ve got to do a lot of writing practice. To be good at speaking you’ve got to speak a lot, okay? And when it comes to vocabulary, when you write it’s most likely that your passive vocabulary is going to manifest itself in the process, okay? Whereas when you speak, that’s when you would use your active vocabulary, okay?
Because speaking is normally associated with being able to improvise, being able to say something without much thinking. Whereas when you write you can tap into your passive vocabulary, choose better words and stuff like that, you know what I mean? But yeah, that’s what I’m trying to say basically.
First of all, perceive each area of your English improvement separately on its own and work on it separately. Obviously one can follow another, you can do some writing and then you can talk about it. You know, you can exercise your speech even as you write. And that’s actually the best case scenario. You write as if you were speaking and that’s how I learned to write and I realized that that’s the best way to write and I’ve been giving this advice to my followers on my blog for years and people find that technique really, really useful and helpful.
So basically focus on each area. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking that if you somehow magically improve your general vocabulary skills then you’ll be able to speak better and write better. There is no such thing as general skills, it is what you do. If you require certain vocabulary while speaking you’re going to be able to use that vocabulary when speaking and also writing, but predominantly speaking.
If you acquire certain vocabulary while writing – okay, maybe you read something and then you write about it and you use the same vocabulary, chances are that that word is going to be committed to your passive vocabulary meaning that you may not be able to use it when speaking.
But the fact of the matter is that you’ve got to be practicing. There’s no two ways about it. You cannot just expect somehow magically absorb some knowledge and then use it, you’ve got to be practicing. When it comes to fluency you’ve got to speak a lot. When it comes to writing you’ve got to write a lot. And when it comes to vocabulary building you’ve got to do it contextually, you know. Phraseology, word combinations; contextual learning is the key here. And you may want to click on this link to check it out and see how easy it actually is to acquire new vocabulary words as part of context. Contextual learning is the king.
So that pretty much answers this question. I’m moving onto the next one. I’m not going to bore you my friends for too long; I’m not going to make this into a half an hour long video. This is the second email and we’ll call it a day after that.
Reader’s Question: How Come I’m Confident on My Own but Not When Facing Others?
So this person expresses the following problem, right? When he is on his own he feels like he can achieve anything and he is super, super confident and I can totally relate with that.
Oftentimes when I’m considering a specific problem and I imagine how I would go about it in real life I feel on top of the world. I’m feeling super confident but then what he says is that whenever he’s dealing with real people, face-to-face interaction his confidence get shattered. And he says that other people’s presence affects him and basically how to deal with it.
It’s not actually something that unique. I would imagine that everybody, the most confident person in the world gets ever so slightly affected by other people’s presence. It’s only normal that you would behave slightly differently in front of other people compared to the way you’d be behaving just when you’re on your own.
Even now when I’m talking to you I’m kind of on my own but I know for a fact that this video is going to get published on my YouTube channel so therefore there’s this expectation, there’s this kind of feeling as if someone’s watching me a little bit so I do behave slightly differently. When I speak completely on my own, when I don’t even use the camcorder I would imagine I’m even more confident because there’s no restrictions whatsoever.
So it’s completely normal to feel somewhat different. But it becomes a problem when you feel it’s affecting your ability to perform big time. So if you were not able to – and obviously this person has that particular issue, right? They can’t talk in front of others, it’s very difficult.
So the solution is first of all, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice an awful lot whenever you have chance to interact with others, talk in front of others just do it. Try and tell yourself that who cares? Who cares what the outcome is going to be, you know? What is the worst case scenario? Always try and figure out the worst, the absolute worst case scenario, right?
So imagine yourself facing a shop assistant in a shop for instance. A very simple and plain scenario, right? So you might be freaking out speaking with a shop assistant and I can totally relate to that. Years ago I was the same, right? I would be able to speak on my own whereas speaking with people in shops and other institutions was a challenge to say the least, right?
So you’ve just got to do it. Just jump in. Head first, jump into the deep end as they say. So it’s a sink or swim situation, right? And the worst case scenario would be – what would it be? That you wouldn’t be able to say anything and that the shop assistant would be laughing at you? And if you think about it obviously it’s not the case. Who would be laughing at you? That would be very rude.
Obviously, there is a remote possibility that that might happen but in reality that is not going to happen because people have to be, especially in professional environments, they have to be quite friendly and they have to respect their customers and stuff like that so they would not laugh at you.
So the worst, if you think about it logically, the worst case scenario would be that they would just ask you a question. Ask you the question twice, the third time, whatever, but the point being, it’s not as bad as you think.
It’s the fear from the unknown! If you just have that concept in your head that you’re faced with another person and then you’re thinking what is it going to be like, what’s going to happen, they’re going to laugh at me, I’m not going to be able to talk or whatever, you know. There is this abstract fear so that is your biggest enemy, the abstract fear of the unknown and that terrifies people. That terrifies even me!
Be Specific About Your Fears and They’re Going to Go Away!
So what you’ve got to do is be specific. Try and think about it, try and imagine the real life scenario and then try and outline the worst case scenario. What’s the worst that could happen and then tell yourself okay, if this is the worst thing, if the worst thing is whereby I can’t say anything and then the person is kind of going to give me some more pointers as to what I may want to say or whatever, it’s not that bad now, is it? It’s not as if someone is going to punch me in the face or whatever, it’s not that bad. And chances are you’re not going to see that person ever again, anyway.
So by employing this particular strategy you can alleviate a lot stress and anxiety and actually start putting yourself in those situations. You know, I’m not saying that you have to put yourself in front of an audience and start talking without any preparation or whatever. I’m just talking about like simple scenarios, having a very small chat with people and stuff like that and then gradually you would be building your confidence.
And obviously when it comes to events such as interviews and speeches and presentations and so on and so forth, that’s when you’ve got to do some real preparation. But as far as simple face-to-face communication goes you’ve just got to distance yourself from the abstract fear, think of the worst case scenario and then just do it, okay?
There is no two ways about it, you know? If you don’t do it you’re not going to get over it, you know? It’s as simple as it sounds. Well, obviously it’s easier said than done, it is difficult, I know that. Been there, done that. However, if you just come up with the worst case scenario and this descends yourself from the abstract, from the bigger fear of the unknown it’s going to become way easier. It’s going to be much easier my friends.
Okay, so I hope that this video is going to serve some purpose and that you’re going to find it useful and thanks for watching my friends and chat to you soon. Bye-bye!
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
The post English Fluency Q & A – Ask Robby – Face-to-face Communication – Improving Overall Fluency appeared first on English Harmony.
Feb 11 2017
Rank #4: Q & A – I’m Very Good in the English Class So Evidently I Should Be a Fluent Speaker, Right?
Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog. And today I’m going to respond to an email that was sent in to me 19 hours ago at this stage and I think that this particular email merits my video response because it kind of highlights a general issue that happens in the larger foreign English speakers’ community, right?
So I’m not going to be reading the whole email word by word but I’m just going to kind of summarize the email in a few sentences. So basically this particular blog follower of mine says that he was one of the best in the class in terms of English literature when he was in high school and then he says “which evidently means that I should be able to write and speak the language.” But in his case he could write. It’s the typical English fluency issue whereby you can write, you can understand, you can read but you cannot speak. And then he attributes certain percentages.
So basically he says that he would be able to write at 80% in terms of efficiency or whatever and speaking would be only 20%, lagging behind big time, right? And the particular thing that I want to focus on in this video is, “which evidently means” so it kind of even goes without saying that once you are good at writing and reading and the literature lessons or whatever, it means that you should be able to speak full stop. There’s no further discussion. There’s no debates. No further investigation required so to speak, right?
Why We Automatically Assume That Good Reading & Writing Skills = Good Speaking Skills?
So why is it that we just automatically assume? It’s because the traditional English teaching methodology has created this myth because English is perceived as one big subject. So this myth has been perpetuated over decades and even centuries and so we just blindly believed, without even questioning, we just believed that once we are good at reading and writing and understanding that we should be automatically good speakers and if that’s not the case then there’s something wrong with us.
And this particular person finds a problem with himself further down the email, right? He says that he thinks that his biggest issue is the fear of making mistakes and that’s why he can’t speak. Well, obviously that’s also a symptom of the typical English fluency issue but that’s not the reason, it’s just the symptom. You see?
The reason, in a typical English class, in a typical literature class or whatever you do a lot of reading, writing, listening, all that kind of stuff but you don’t practice your speech. You don’t speak a lot and that’s the whole point. There are so many aspects of the English language and they should have been divided into different classes, right?
So when you go and learn English literature you read and write or whatever and then there should be a specifically dedicated class to practicing spoken English. And then if that were the case then you would clearly see that. Okay, I’m lagging behind in my spoken department but it’s all because I haven’t been doing enough practice in the spoken English class or whatever. Then you would clearly see the division between the different aspects of the English language.
But if it’s all bundled up in one big English lesson, we cannot distinguish the different aspects of the English language. And as a matter of fact, I’ve been going on about this thing again and again and again but I had to revisit it because people have been contacting me on a regular basis and this particular email I think was a very good representation because the person said that it evidently means that I should be able to write and speak.
And it’s kind of ironic because there is no evidence but we are just led to believe that yes, it should be happening. But it’s not the case. Just because you can read and write, there is no correlation between your reading and writing skills and your spoken English ability. Maybe some remote, remote correlation. Obviously if you cannot understand and read and write at all obviously you’re not going to be able to speak and vice versa.
If you are very good at reading and writing you would be able to say something, right? It’s not as if you won’t be able to say anything at all. So there is obviously a relationship between those aspects of the English language but the whole point is that – the bottom line basically is that you develop specific aspects of the English language and you are what you do.
Remember – You Are What You Do!
If you are an English reader and that’s all you do you become fluent at reading. If you speak a lot and practice your spoken English, then you become a very good speaker. You become a fluent speaker. If you write a lot and spend a lot of time writing then you become a very, very good English writer. Those are the different distinct aspects of the English language.
So hopefully this video is going to clear that up for you my friend. And yeah, basically on the finishing note let me tell you that the fear of making mistakes is not the reason you are unable to speak fluently. It’s a manifestation if the fluency issue if you will. It’s one of the symptoms but the true reason is you haven’t been practicing your spoken English. If there’s enough practice behind you, no fear will stand in the way of your success.
Yes, it will hamper your performance somewhat but provided that you’ve been doing a lot of practicing and preparing for a specific event for example, no amount of fear is going to render your spoken English facilities totally unusable so to speak.
So thanks for watching my friends and chat to you soon again. Bye-bye!
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
The post Q & A – I’m Very Good in the English Class So Evidently I Should Be a Fluent Speaker, Right? appeared first on English Harmony.
Mar 19 2017
Rank #5: Be Specific – Don’t Try to Make a General Statement When Explaining Something in English!
Fluent English can ONLY be acquired by learning IDIOMATIC EXPRESSIONS – and that’s why I’m going to highlight them for you in RED!
Hello everybody and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog. It’s been a while guys since I recorded my last video for the simple reason that I’ve been really, really busy at work and I have to study on top of my daily duties at work as well so it’s really hectic lifestyle to say the least. And then when I’m coming home at night it’s quite late as well and then I have to do all the other stuff, prepare for the next day, pack my food, prepare my clothing, walk the dog, whatever, respond to my emails, right? You guys are asking a lot of questions on a daily basis!
So unfortunately my video recording days when I used to record at least one video a day or every few days are over. But it doesn’t mean that I’m stopping it altogether. Not at all. It’s quite the opposite actually, right? I’m actually enjoying this process immensely and for too many reasons. First of all, I love helping you guys. I love talking to my audience and obviously you love it, too. And secondly, it helps me improve my own spoken English, right? That’s the way it goes.
Anyhow, I’m having my morning coffee. Morning to you all! Cheers!
Huge Problem For Foreigners – Being General When Describing Something!
This time around it’s real coffee just to get my day kick-started, right? And today I wanted to talk about one problem that a lot of foreign English speakers have in common. Basically, when we are asked something or probably not just asked but when we want to explain something in English to the other person the first thing that we’re trying to do is we’re trying to explain it all in an abstract way.
So let’s say for argument’s sake you are asked about animal rights or something, right? Why I picked that topic about an animal? Because I have a cat lying right there next to me on the bed. So let’s say for argument’s sake you are asked what’s your stance on the whole animal rights issue or whatever.
And obviously that’s a very, very broad subject, right? So you might actually have like 20 different opinions on the certain aspects of the whole thing, right? But if you’re trying to grasp the whole thing at once and provide a prolific all-encompassing answer to that person it becomes mission impossible for the simple reason that it’s pretty much impossible even in your native language to manipulate with all those abstract concepts that might be popping up in your mind when it comes to the whole animal issue.
So what you need to do in order to handle such conversations is instead of being general, instead of trying to generalize stuff and provide an answer from a bigger perspective you’ve got to be very, very specific!
Be Very Specific Instead of Being General!
So specific is the key. Just pick one example, right? And it might sound like a bad idea on certain occasions. You may think “Hold on a second, Robby but if I’m asked a general question what good is it if I’m trying to tell that person a specific situation that I had or heard about or read about or whatever.”
Well, here’s the deal. That is actually the best way to illustrate a point and to get the message across, right? All too often people go on and on about some general things failing to focus on the specifics, right? So it’s not actually such a bad thing at all, quite the opposite. It’s the best way to communicate.
So if I were asked something, I would probably try and remember what my daughter told me because she’s big into the whole animal thing. She wants to be a vet, the other one wants to be an architect but one of my daughters wants to be a vet and she’s been helping in places like animal shelters, veterinary clinics and so on.
So I would have probably picked a specific situation that my daughter had that she told me about and that’s how the conversation would start developing. I would tell that particular instance and then my conversation partner would probably respond with something and that’s how the whole thing develops, right? And that’s a normal conversation.
Whereas if I were to try and use some sophisticated terms describing the fact that the animals have rights and then being abused and it’s important to set up and maintain and sponsor all these animal foundations and animal right organizations and what not and ensure that it happens at a government level, you know. You’re getting into very tricky area so to speak. And because you cannot talk about it confidently, you might in fact have a very vague understanding of the whole thing and you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot by trying to – it kind of ties in with the whole concept of not trying to speak using some sophisticated language, trying to sound too smart. Get down to earth, you know. Use simple language.
Don’t Be Afraid of Using Simple Language and Short Sentences!
And in this connection I want you to check out this article and there’s a video as well. Click on it, right? Click on the link, it will take you to the respective page on my blog “Speaking in Short Sentences? It’s Normal!” So it kind of ties in with the whole thing, right? There’s no need to try and speak in long sophisticated sentences because more often than not you will end up not being able to say anything. Whereas if you stick with using simple words, simple sentences it’s going to be much better for your fluency.
And the second one I want you to check out is planning your answer – click here: “How to Answer Unexpected Questions?” And being specific is one of those points I’m making there in that article, right? So just a couple of refresher links. In case you haven’t read them at all it’s going to be all good for you. My friends, it is going to serve as an eye-opener for you, I promise, right? Because this is a big deal.
So many people and a lot of my former Fluency Star students had this issue as well. I would have a conversation and then that person is trying to say it all at once, kind of be very general and then use those abstract concepts. It’s very difficult. It’s a very, very gray area to wander in. So you’d be much better off just sticking with specific situations. If you have to think about it take your time 5-10 seconds. Use some hesitation phrases such as “Well, let me see… I have to think about it…. Hold on a second…” or something like that, right? Or even the typical sentence starters “Well, to be honest with you… If I think about it I can actually remember this particular situation.” Or something along those lines and that’s when you start talking about that specific situation, you know.
So The Bottom Line Is – Instead of Being General, Be Specific!
Even if sometimes it might sound like a bad idea, trust me, being specific is going to help you, it’s going to make your speech way more fluent, it’s going to organize your thought process and it’s going to serve as an ice breaker in different social situations. And that’s how the whole conversation develops. You know, you mention something specific and it leads to the next thing, to the next one, then the conversation partner responds with something.
And if you think about it, more often than not, casual conversations are about specific things. Obviously we would be sometimes mentioning some abstract or generic concepts or whatever but more often than not, just like I said people talk about specific stuff. So that is the key to your fluency my friends.
So thanks for watching this video. If you have any further questions obviously please feel free to post them in the comment section below. Thank you. Bye-bye!
P.S. Would you like to find out why I’m highlighting some of the text in red? Read this article and you’ll learn why it’s so important to learn idiomatic expressions and how it will help you to improve your spoken English!
P.S.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
The post Be Specific – Don’t Try to Make a General Statement When Explaining Something in English! appeared first on English Harmony.
Nov 06 2016
Rank #6: Surround Yourself With English ALL the Time!
Hi guys, hello my dear fellow English speakers and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog! In today’s video we are going to look at the following topic: full English immersion and its importance in your spoken English fluency development. And sometimes you may think “what’s the big deal? Why would I have to necessarily surround myself with English 24/7? Surely, if I want to improve my English I can just do certain things and that will improve my spoken English, right?”
Well, you’re right to a certain degree. Yes, you will definitely improve it because doing something is better than doing nothing, right? But here’s the deal: if you immerse yourself in English 24/7, it’s going to provide even additional benefits for your overall spoken English fluency development.
24/7 English Immersion Is ESSENTIAL!
And I noticed that, a few years ago, when I went back to my home country, obviously when you land in the airport, you exit the aircraft, enter the airport and you immediately get surrounded with Latvian which is the language spoken in Latvia, right? And that’s the country I come from.
That is my home country and I noticed that it’s a bit more difficult for me to focus on my inner thoughts. Obviously if you have been following my blog you know that I’m doing constant spoken English self-practice, I’m trying to think in English when in public and speak with myself in slight whisper when there’s no one around and I find it a bit more difficult to do it when in my country because I’m surrounded with all things Latvian.
And like with a wave of a magic wand, when I land back in Ireland in Dublin and I exit the aircraft and I’m walking along the corridor in the airport and I read all the posters in English and everything, everything is sign posted in English obviously, like with a wave of a magic wand, my ability to think in English clearly and speak with myself in English returns back.
And I think it’s all because your surroundings determine a lot when it comes to your own performance. And it’s not necessarily a language performance, it can be a lot of different things.
Your Surroundings Determine an Awful Lot!
For instance, I think one of the reasons why people fail to exercise at home is because the home setting doesn’t necessarily evoke the necessary emotions associated with working out. When you work out in a gym, it’s a whole lot different story. There’s other people working out, you see all these different machines, there’s up beat music going bam-bam-bam-bam.
So all those surroundings make you want to work out yourself and makes the whole process more enjoyable and more sufficient. Whereas if you want to work out in your own room where you’re mostly used to watching TV, right, that’s what you want to do in that room. You don’t even want to work out so you’re forcing yourself to work out in your room but it just doesn’t happen for some reason.
So it’s all about the surroundings, right?
I actually like drawing parallels between the fitness world and your language performance because I strongly believe that your ability to speak is just another practical skill. Just like your ability to perform physical exercises for example.
Anyway, going back to full immersion and being surrounded with all things English, is definitely beneficial because just as I said, if you’re surrounded with all things English, it will facilitate your English performance.
You are so much more likely to speak better, to understand better, to write better, read better, if you’re surrounded by English the whole time. And obviously, what I mean is not sticking posters on your wall in English or things like that. Well, to a certain degree, yeah, is true. If you’re sticking post-it notes on a whiteboard in front of you, obviously, do it in English. Do as much as you can in English.
But I’m not saying you have to totally redo your whole environment and go great lengths but things that you do on a daily basis, I strongly and warmly suggest you to do in English. If you keep a diary, if you keep notes, a simple notebook, do all your notes in English.
If you read fiction, choose English fiction.
If you read news websites, go for news websites in English. If you watch some TV, why not watch English channels? And the list goes on and on. You get the drift, right?
But obviously you don’t have to tear down posters that are on your wall in your native language and a calendar that might be hanging in there which is all in your native language and things like that, right? You don’t have to go extreme but all I’m saying is you have to make sure there’s a little bit of English everywhere and that will facilitate your own English performance and that’s why the full immersion is of the utmost importance if you want to maximize your potential as an English student, English learner, English speaker, right?
Alright my friends. That’s about it for today! I really hope that you enjoyed watching this video and if you have any comments, please feel free to publish them in the comments section below. Thanks and talk to you soon! Bye-bye!
Oct 19 2016
Rank #7: English Harmony Q & A: Foreign Accent & Learning English for Free
Another English Fluency Question and Answer session – this time around it’s all about me speaking with a foreign accent and free vs paid English learning resources!
The post English Harmony Q & A: Foreign Accent & Learning English for Free appeared first on English Harmony.
Oct 02 2016
Rank #8: Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion
Video Transcript Below:
Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog!
Today is Saturday and I’m having my Saturday afternoon decaffeinated coffee here. You know, this is actually the second cup of real coffee. Well, in this case it’s actually not a cup, it’s a proper mug, right? A huge mug for that matter. Guinness, right? But I’m not drinking beer, I’m having my second cup of coffee. I just said cup again, right? Second mug of coffee, right? But the fact of the matter is that you wouldn’t be normally saying second mug of coffee, second cup of coffee, that’s an expression. So I would say that I’m not really wrong in saying that this is my second cup of coffee. That’s what people would normally say. That’s how people would understand you best, right?
And let’s start focusing on the actual matter I want to discuss in today’s video. But just before we get down to business let me just tell you that today I met up with a friend of mine and he’s an Irish fella, right? I’m a Latvian living in Ireland, been living here for 14 years and I have an Irish friend named Will.
And as a matter of fact he is my good luck charm in terms of spoken English fluency. What it actually means is that whenever I meet with him I can give my fluency free reign and I speak just like a native English speaker, right? He is the one person that brings out the best in my fluency, right?
As I go about my daily business, dealing with people in the college and my students and so on, obviously I speak a lot in English with others but this particular person, my former co-worker Will for some reason or another is the one that I can speak with best, right? I’m so familiar with him that I just lose any awareness of the language boundary so to speak.
So you may want to click on this link. And the article in question is called who is your English good luck charm and it’s all about what a good luck charm person is in terms of spoken English fluency and that if you find, if you manage to find one then you may want to hold on to them, right?
Today’s Topic – Moving to an English-speaking Country!
Now, the actual topic for today’s video is moving to an English-speaking country. Let me just read out the comment asking me to record a video, right? So 17 hours ago at this stage I received a comment saying “Would you consider making a video on the subject of emigration? I think a lot of expats like myself are watching your videos and it would be really interesting. For example pros and cons of living in a foreign country, possibility of moving back and so on, right?”
And then I promised to that person that I would record a video on the subject just because it’s something that I’m constantly dealing with, right? You see, I’m an expat myself, right? I live in Ireland. Originally I’m from Latvia and there’s a good few Latvians living in this country as well, right? So as you can imagine over the years I’ve realized that there’s a lot of issues faced by foreigners living in an English-speaking country and I can actually go through them with you.
With that being said I’ve got plenty of content published on my blog as well, right? They’re not videos, they’re articles. Actually a video or two as well so I will mention them as we go along throughout this video, right? I’ll just point you to those links. You’ll click on them, read the respective articles, watch the videos – so as to paint a completely clear and full picture of the whole subject matter which is a foreigner moving to an English-speaking country, right?
Moving to an English-speaking Country is Like Recovering Eye-sight!
First of all, let me just tell you that moving to an English-speaking country is like recovering your eyesight if you’ve been blind for your entire life. You may want to click on this link here where I’m discussing this whole subject in the very detail. Suffice it to say it’s all about you having gotten used to certain ways of using your English language, right? Traditionally you would be just reading, being exposed to English as opposed to using it actively and then when you move to an English-speaking country it’s like recovering an eyesight and not being able to actually function properly.
Because what happens with those people who’ve been blind their entire life and then they recover eyesight for some reason obviously through surgery or something like that they can’t even function because their brain can’t process what they see, right? And the same goes with a foreigner have moved to an English speaking country. You can use the English language in a certain way but when you have to speak with real people in real life you just can’t. So that’s a big issue, right? And on a lot of occasions you have to kind of re-learn what you’ve already learned, right?
So what I did is – I created this English Harmony system which is a great product for those who want to restructure the English language in your brain so that you can actually speak with others fluently, right? And yeah, that’s exactly what happened to me. When I moved to Ireland I spent a good few years constantly reading, writing, learning grammar, building my vocabulary to no avail, I still couldn’t speak, I couldn’t figure out what’s going on. And only a few years down the line I realized that it’s all down to the lack of spoken English practicing and lack of natural spoken English speech patterns, right? So I went ahead, did all that job and there you go, I can speak pretty much fluently at this stage and I’m helping my foreign speaking counterparts all around the world to achieve the same success, right?
But anyway, that’s not the biggest focus of today’s story. The biggest focus is that when you move to the English-speaking country and you discover all these fluency issues that you’re facing and you’re working on it, it’s all nice and well but a lot of people don’t do it.
A Lot of Foreigners Just Stock to Their Own!
A lot of people just stick to their own. Basically expats sticking with each other and not making a lot of effort to improve their English. And the language is the biggest thing when it comes to integration. I’m a strong believer in integration basically. When you go to that English-speaking country you have to do your utmost to integrate.
Obviously integration is not going to happen, like I mean you’re not going to integrate fully. In order to do that you would have to marry into a local family and spend your entire time among native English speakers, right? Make friends and go out with them and so on and so forth. So that would be the full integration. As a foreigner in an English-speaking country I only know too well that that is rarely the case, right?
But still you have to make effort. You have to find some friends, you have to form relationships, and you have to go out there, meet people and speak with them. And that’s what integration is all about but if you just stick to your own, you’re just forming these islands of your own country within that English-speaking country whether it’s Ireland, the UK or America or Australia or whatever, you know what I mean.
And that’s what I’m totally against, right? I know that it’s human nature. I know that it’s going to happen no matter what I say now but I believe that any like really intelligent person should work against that human nature of theirs just to stick with your counterparts, with your native counterparts and you should actually do the utmost to improve the language, to go out there, to meet locals, to make friends.
I know it’s sometimes really like problematic because people have biases and they will judge you for your foreign origin and all that kind of thing and that’s what I’ve been encountering myself, you know what I mean. I’m not alien to all these issues but I’m not claiming to be some super integrated foreigner, you know, I have a lot of issues just like everyone. But the point is you have to make effort, you know?
Watching TV in Your Native Lingo Is the Biggest Culprit!
And funnily enough one of the biggest things is watching TV, right? As you all know guys these days everyone watches TV, right? The typical person would spend 2 to 3, maybe 4-5 hours, a night watching the box, right? And these days you can watch TV online and movies and TV programs and so on and so forth. So when it comes to watching TV and I’m basically not going to be referring to like online streaming. I’m not going to differentiate between the two, I’ll just say TV but you’ll know that I mean just consuming this audiovisual media, be it YouTube or whatever, right?
So watching TV, you have to make sure that you do it in English. If you live in an English- speaking country why on earth would you be watching your own like TV channels from your country?
But believe it or not that a lot of people do that. As a matter of fact, like all my Latvian friends – well, to be honest with you I don’t have a lot of like real friends but out of the Latvians that I know and that I’m in touch with they all order Latvian TV channels online and they don’t watch the local TV channels which is crazy to think about it.
They don’t know what’s going on locally, right? They live in this country but they know everything about Latvia it’s as if they live in Latvia, just being physically away from it, you know what I mean? And I think it’s a bad thing.
I’m not saying that you should be totally ignoring your home country. Obviously not. You’re going to be maintaining a relationship with those who’ve stayed there, with your relations, with your parents, whatever, extended family members. And you’re going to be keeping on top of the news maybe as well.
And that’s what I do as well every day, I would check the Latvian news websites to see what’s going on in my country, right? But the fact of the matter is that if you live here, you have to live here fully. And there’s no better way of integrating than exposing yourself to the TV channels in the local language and then watch English TV shows, programs, movies, all that kind of stuff and thus improve your English.
Obviously your ability to speak is not going to be directly influenced by the exposure. That’s what I’ve been going on about on my blog for years now, right? You can’t be just watching TV and then expect yourself to improve in the spoken department, right? But it will help. It will help, right? If you isolate yourself in your native language bubble and live in it for 10 years in a foreign country, guess what? You’re not going to integrate! You will barely be able to string a sentence together in English and that’s not the right way to go, right?
So I want you to click on this link which is all about stopping watching TV in your language, right? And as a matter of fact there’s another article that I published at this stage 5 years ago. You may want to click on this link and it’s called Top 15 Invaluable Pieces of Advice for Foreigners Settling Down in an English-Speaking Country. So there’s a good few tips and tricks that I’m giving to you guys who are moving to an English-speaking country, right? What to expect, what approach to adapt when living there and so on and so forth, right?
Yes, Sometimes You Find Yourself Among Your Fellow Country-people, But There’s Always Something You Can Do!
And also I want you to click on this link and there’s a video about what to do if you can’t speak with natives in an English-speaking country, right? Integrating yourself, all nice and well but sometimes you just find yourself in a situation where you’re surrounded only with your native people so what to do in that case, right? Just watch the video just like I said but in a nutshell the solution is to practice spoken English yourself.
That’s what I’ve been doing for years and that’s one of the biggest reasons why my English is so fluent. I’m not bragging, I’m not saying that I’m just like a native English-speaker but I consider that my fluency is decent and it allows me to function in the local society properly. And that’s what we all should be aiming for. I’m not saying that everyone is going to achieve the same level of fluency as I have achieved, right? But provided that you work hard enough you will get there, you know. You will get a better job down the line, you will quite naturally make local friends and so on and so forth.
So you can make your life easier for yourself you’re going to make better impression of your like native background in eyes of the locals. They will see yourself as a really good person as opposed to someone who just isolates themselves living in the native language bubble and barely going out on the street and trying to integrate in the local society.
Just Make The Effort!
You just have to make that effort so that it could reflect well on your nationality, on your home country, right? That’s just the way it is. You can say all you want about like native English speakers judging certain nationalities just because of their lifestyle and just because they stick together but I can clearly understand where they’re coming from. If I look back at my own country there’s certain issues surrounding the same kind of lifestyle that some ethnic minorities are leading. Leading a lifestyle or doing a lifestyle? See I got a little bit mixed up.
Anyway, you get the drift, right? Certain ethnic minorities don’t really integrate in the Latvian society. They speak their language only and Latvians don’t really like that. And I can definitely tell you guys that you would be thinking the same of some ethnic group who moved over to your country and didn’t want to integrate, didn’t want to learn the local language. You would be against that. So try to put yourself in the native English-speakers’ shoes and see it from the other perspective, right? Try to see the bigger picture. It is bad if you just moved to an English-speaking country and don’t make any effort.
So basically that’s the moral of today’s video that’s the message I wanted to get across to you guys. If you move over to an English-speaking country live there and try to integrate, try and do your utmost to embrace the local culture, learn the language, make friends.
Obviously I’m not saying that everyone will achieve full integration but that’s something that we should aim for instead of just sticking to your own and just keep talking about your native place, your home country which is as a matter of fact what a lot of Latvians do!
Knocking The Local Culture Is The Worst Thing You Can Do!
They’ve come over but they knock the local traditions, the local culture, everything that’s got to do with Ireland they’re kind of against it. They’re only here for the money, you know? And they keep talking about the day when they will return back home.
I’m totally against that approach. If you will go back home at some stage down the line, so be it, right? Life goes on. You constantly – plans change and that’s just human, right? But while you’re living here you may want to just embrace it. Embrace the fact, take full advantage of the fact that you’re living in a different country, try to settle down, right? And who cares about what happens 10 years down the line? But don’t be living here and just constantly go on about the fact that in 10 years’ time you’ll go back home and you don’t care about what happens in this shithole. You know what I mean? That’s very bad. I’m against it, that’s my personal opinion.
If someone of you guys don’t agree with me, well, guess what? Anyone is entitled to their own opinion for as long as it’s the same as mine, right? Obviously that was just a joke but you get the drift, right?
So I guess that this is enough for today’s video. I would imagine that it’s gone over 10 minutes at this stage. So if you have any questions publish them in the comment section below and chat to you soon my friends. Bye-bye!
The post Emigration to an English Speaking Country: My Honest Opinion appeared first on English Harmony.
May 31 2016
Rank #9: Watch This If You Have Total English Grammar Confusion!
Recently I got contacted by one of my blog readers and she told me that the more she thinks about the various English grammar tenses, the more confusing the whole thing gets…
On a lot of occasions it seems that you can use a number of different Tenses, for instance – “I’m going to the movies tonight”, “I’ll go to the movies”, “I’ll be going to the movies” – so how do you know which one is right?
And the more you analyze all this kind of stuff, the more confusing it gets and eventually you start feeling that you know nothing about English grammar!
Now, watch this video above where I’m giving precious advice on how to approach such a state of mind, and if you’ve got any questions – don’t hesitate to publish them in the comments section below!
The post Watch This If You Have Total English Grammar Confusion! appeared first on English Harmony.
Sep 01 2016
Rank #10: The State of “The Flow” and Its Importance When Improving Your English
Video Transcript Below
Hi guys, hello boys and girls! Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog! Today let’s talk about THE FLOW. And I read about the concept of flow or should I say THE flow? Because it’s a particular state of mind. And I read about that concept a while ago while I was doing a little bit of research into the subject of procrastination.
We all – I suppose – have that quality to procrastinate sometimes. You know, it’s a vice because it’s a terrible feeling, you know? You know exactly what you’ve got to do but you just can’t do it for whatever reasons. You just find yourself constantly getting distracted.
For instance if I had a task of writing an article for instance I would find myself making cups of coffee every 15 minutes and checking my email and checking my website’s stats and whatever. And then 5 or 6 hours later the article still wouldn’t be even started. I would have only 1 or 2 paragraphs.
And so that’s the typical case of procrastination. And I’ve been guilty of that at certain stages in my life. And I was doing a little bit of research into it and I found out that people who don’t procrastinate they can achieve the state of mind whereby they are fully immersed into the activity at hand so their mind doesn’t even wander. And that’s the so-called state of THE FLOW.
When you’re in the flow you are super creative, you are enjoying that particular activity to the fullest, right? You don’t even think about anything else. Nothing else exists. So drawing parallels with creating written content for example for my website, that would be just me just writing about the subject, right? I would be fully immersed into it. I would know exactly what I have to say, obviously a little bit of planning goes a long way, and that would have to be done beforehand to know what you want to say but for as long as that’s done I would be into it and nothing would stop me. I would be totally unstoppable, right?
So how does this concept of the flow relate to spoken English performance? Well, it’s the same thing. We all have that particular state of mind which is triggered by whatever reasons, right? When we can speak in English almost like native English speakers. And it doesn’t matter, our level of English. Well, obviously if you were a total beginner, you wouldn’t have that ability to even speak fluently. But then again, you wouldn’t be able to listen to this video anyway, right?
So this whole English Harmony project is obviously geared towards those foreign English speakers who’ve already achieved a decent level of speech and understanding and that sort of thing. So it goes without saying that all you guys have that ability to be in that flow, in that state of mind whereby you can speak just like native English speakers but oftentimes external factors prevent you from doing that.
And those factors are multifaceted such as people making you anxious. Obviously you don’t have to blame others, it’s all on you, kind of, but those people play a big role in the whole thing, in your ability to speak and deliver your English speech. So if people make you anxious, if you are trying to compare your speech with the other person’s, especially if they’re a native English speaker, that will have a detrimental effect on your fluency.
And if you want to impress others with your speech, if you’re under pressure to deliver, for example you have to deliver a speech or whatever or you’re attending an interview or you just start a new job and you want to deliver in your position and you’re speaking with your colleagues, your customers, your superiors and you want to achieve that level of fluency and deliver that speech that’s required for your particular position. And obviously all those factors would have sometimes a detrimental effect on your fluency. It can kind of backfire on you and you will find yourself not being able to deliver it.
So if you can eliminate all those factors you will be able to achieve that state of the flow where you can speak totally unhindered, you wouldn’t even have to think about how you say it or what you say. Well, obviously you have to know what are you talking about, right? But the point I’m trying to make is that we all have that ability to achieve that state of mind where we can perform just like native English speakers, just like I do now, right?
I’m not, obviously, bragging. I’m not trying to say that I’m speaking just like a native English speaker but I’m talking about the feeling that I have, you know? I feel like I’m speaking like one, you know? I feel totally unhindered; I’m giving my fluency totally a free rein so to speak. And in order to achieve that in my opinion the best way to go about it is just do a lot of spoken English self-practice when you are on your own.
It kind of goes back to the same again: on your own you are totally unhindered. There’s nobody to prevent you from speaking just the way you want. And you can experiment with different types of speech, different speeds, different ways of pronouncing certain words and so on and so forth. And eventually, you will be able to nail it. Through a lot of experimentation you will be able to nail that state of the flow. And once you’re in it you will be like “Wow, this is it. This is the real deal. I can speak fluently!”
So once you’ve achieved that state of the flow you can carry that feeling with you at all times. And whenever you feel like you’re not performing well, whenever you have that bad fluency day for instance you can always go back in your mind and remember that, yes, I know how to achieve the flow feeling and if I practice on my own again I will be able to go back there and that will reinforce your confidence as a foreign English speaker.
So that’s my message for you today, my friends. I hope that you enjoyed it. And obviously if you have any further comments please don’t hesitate to publish them in the comment section below. Thank you and bye-bye!
The post The State of “The Flow” and Its Importance When Improving Your English appeared first on English Harmony.
Feb 04 2017
Rank #11: How to Decide Which Tense and Which Verb Form to Use?
VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BELOW:
Hi guys. Hello boys and girls. Hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers. It’s Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog! Today I’m going to respond to a particular question that I received from one of my blog readers. And let me read it first and then we’re going to address it. Okay?
So “When I speak in English without translating from my native language…” which is the right way to do it, right? If you translate, you just can’t speak normally. So rule number 1; stop translating!
So “If I speak that way, I face the problem of tenses. Basically I cannot decide immediately which form of the verb should be used and all of that. So please let me know how I can deal with it. If you have any articles posted on your blog and if yes, send me the links or else please let me know of the solution.”
Let’s Wrap It All Up in a Single Article!
Now, here’s the deal. I have a number of articles that are related to this particular issue. But I’m going to wrap it all up in a single video here, right? Because I haven’t actually created a single article or a video addressing this particular question; how can I decide which tense or which form of the verb I have to use when I speak when I do it on the go basically. How do I decide? Okay?
And here’s an interesting thing my friends. Over the years I’ve actually – I would imagine I’ve covered like all imaginable aspects of the English language and the fluency issues. All aspects imaginable, right? I just made a small mistake. Forgive me for that but that’s what I’m all about. I’m making mistakes just like you guys. I’m a human being. I’m not perfect. Okay?
So what I was going to say is I’ve covered hundreds and hundreds of different things when it comes to English fluency improvement. But there’s always a specific question that I haven’t answered. And that’s how I create these videos. Because when I read the email I realized immediately that this would make the perfect video because I’ve never actually answered this particular question, how do I decide what tense to go with and which form of the word to go with.
So first of all let me just tell you when – obviously you would be familiar with the whole concept of collocations and phraseology and word groups, right?
That’s what our English language is built from, word groups. And we have to learn those word groups that would enable us to speak fluently. We don’t just stick words together. Well, if we have the fluency issues whereby we stick the words together as we speak, we do it but that’s the wrong way.
If you want to speak naturally just like native English speakers do, then you would be using ready-to-go phrases and sentences and word groups. Okay?
Natural Speech Patterns Already Contain the Right Tenses and Verb Forms!
So as you go about your phraseology acquisition, first of all what I’m going to tell you is you would be learning word groups that would already contain all the tenses and the correct forms of verbs in them. That is the main point basically. The most important thing to bear in mind. And here’s a typical example.
Conditional sentence type 3, okay? Had I – I would have.
And let me give an example right off the top of my head. Had I not started running all those years ago I would have stayed – I would have remained an overweight man. Okay? But just because I’ve been running now for 8 years in a row – or something like that – I’m maintaining this physique and I’m maintaining a healthy body weight. So had I not been running all these years, I would have remained a fat person basically, right? Let’s call a spade a spade!
And you may think when you look at this particular grammar construct had I – I would have, that’s a very difficult grammar construct. How to wrap your head around it, right? But all you’ve got to do is just memorize it. Had I – I would have. And then when it becomes your second nature, you don’t have to think about when you have to use that tense.
You will automatically know when to use it just because you’ve memorized that particular grammar construct. Okay?
And the same goes with simpler expressions such as “I would have thought.”
It’s a typical expression used when – by the way you can click on these links right here because I’m changing them as I’m going along and basically I’m inserting the relevant links and you can click right on them in the video and it’s going to take you to my blog article and you’ll be able to read it and watch the relevant video and all that.
So I would have thought. Native English speakers use this expression to express the simple fact that they thought that something was the case but it turned out differently, right? So I would have thought that Jimmy was gone on holidays but I saw him at work yesterday. What’s the deal? Why is he back? I would have thought that he was gone on holidays, right?
So once you memorize that phrase “I would have thought”, it contains all the necessary grammar, all the tenses, the verb forms and all that in it. You don’t have to decide anything if you know what I mean!
The decision making is taken out of the equation so to speak. Once you memorize a ready-to-go phrase, it’s all wrapped up in a single package. You just memorize it and use it. And then there’s no decision making!
But here’s the deal, right? Obviously it’s all nice and well but when you speak, when you speak at great lengths, obviously at some stage down the line you will come across the situation when you have to make that decision.
Because obviously you wouldn’t be just using word groups and collocations and phraseology constantly. You will be making sentences as you go along because there’s no possible scenario whereby you can take like a hundred different phrases and create your speech purely out of them without using a single additional word, right? Obviously you would be using those phrases all the time but you would have to join them together to make sentences. Okay?
Here’s How to Decide Which Tense to Go With If You Have to – Go With Present Progressive!
So how would you decide then which tense to use when the situation demands? Here’s the rule of thumb that I would go by, okay? The present progressive tense. And this is something that I haven’t actually heard anyone else saying.
No English teacher would have told me that and I haven’t actually read it anywhere. But over the years as I’ve been working with my own English and I’ve been creating hundreds of articles and videos for my blog for you guys to enjoy, I’ve realized that the present progressive tense, basically “I’m doing something”, “I’m doing” is the most universal tense so to speak. You can use it to refer to any event happening in the past, in the now and in the future!
And here’s exactly what I’m talking about, right? I’m talking about the present actions; obviously you’re going to be using the present continuous tense, okay? And this is the link you can click on “Can present continuous substitute present simple tense?” right? Because obviously we are all taught that when describing actions that are ongoing at this particular moment in time, we would definitely have to use the present progressive tense.
But what about general activities that you engage in on a regular basis? They teach you that you have to use the preset simple – basically I work in such and such company, I go to work every day by bus blah-blah-blah.
So all those actions have to be described using present simple tense and only that tense, right? But here’s the deal.
Conversationally people use present progressive interchangeably with the present simple tense!
And just like is said, click on this link. Read the article. Read it once, read it two times till it registers and then you’ll realize what I’m talking about, right?
Basically I can easily say “I’m always driving to the college on the motorway. I’m always taking the motorway because it’s easier.”
I just used the present progressive tense. I didn’t say “I always take the motorway| even though I could have said it. But just because I chose to use the present progressive doesn’t make it incorrect!
So here’s a typical example how the present progressive works in both situations, whenever you’re referring to typical actions or actions that are on-going at this particular moment in time.
Past Events? Present Progressive!
Speaking of past events you may want to read this article “English Conversational Past Tense”, right? Conversationally when people talk about past events, they oftentimes kind of imagine themselves in that event and they kind of bring all those memories back and they talk about them as if they’re going on at this moment in time.
So the past becomes the present and obviously you can use the present progressive tense to refer to past events. Okay?
And just like I said, read the article, listen to the video, watch it and it’ll all make sense.
Future Plans? Present Progressive As Well!
And speaking of the future – where is the article? Yeah. This is the article. “Forget about Will Future Tense, Use Present Progressive Instead”. Basically this is one of the biggest mistakes made by you guys, you’d be using the WILL future, basically “I will do it” all the time when referring to future events.
But more often than that, native English speakers wouldn’t be actually using the WILL tense. They would be saying either “going to do something”, right? I’m going to do it. I’m going to go shopping today, right? Or “I’m going” which is more about events that you planned.
But you don’t necessarily have to analyze the whole thing and think about “hold on, is that an event I planned or is it something I didn’t really plan but I’m going to do it anyway?”
You can just stick with the rule of thumb of using present progressive. Okay?
I’m going shopping tonight. Tonight we’re going to the movies. Tonight we’re getting takeout and eating burgers and tacos, right?
So whenever you’re in doubt, stick with the present progressive. And this was the second point I was trying to make. The first one was – learn ready-to-go English speech patterns, collocations, phraseology and all that and they will already contain all the necessary grammar in it. You won’t have to conjugate anything!
And then when it comes to these decisions as to which tense to use as you join sentences together and as you talk about things that you wouldn’t be normally talking about then there would be less phraseology to use in those types of conversations, just go with the present progressive. I’m struggling to pronounce the name of the tense for some reason, right? Present progressive or present continuous. Different sources refer to the same tense differently, right? But it’s the same thing.
So use that one as your basic tense. Okay? And you won’t go wrong with it. All right? So that would be laying the ground rules so to speak.
A Few More Grammar Rules for Fluent Speech
And then there’s a few more. Yeah. You can read this article “3 Basic Grammar Rules Necessary for Fluent English” Okay? So the first one is how to use the past perfect “I had done it” basically, when talking about events that happened before a specific timeline. Then you use the past perfect. Okay?
And the second rule is the first conditional. If I do it, I will. A lot of foreigners would make the mistake of saying “If I will do it, something else will happen” but it’s wrong. Whenever you use words such as IF and WHEN, you have to use the simple present tense in that clause and then followed by a WILL future, right? That’s the second rule.
And the third one was – oh yeah – future tense! The same thing I already told you about, right? Basically you don’t have to use the WILL future tense which is way overused among us foreigners.
You just have to go with the present progressive. I’m doing it or “going to” future which conversationally becomes GONNA. I’m gonna do it, right? And that’s actually what people use in conversations on the street all the time. “I’m gonna” would be even more used than the present progressive, right? But just like I said if you use present progressive as your basic tense, you won’t go wrong with it. Okay?
So I hope that this is helpful to you. Thanks for asking the question.
Now, obviously if you have any further questions you are welcome to post them in the comments section below my friends.
Thanks for watching, chat to you soon, bye-bye!
The post How to Decide Which Tense and Which Verb Form to Use? appeared first on English Harmony.
Feb 22 2016
Rank #12: English Idiomatic Expression: “The Big Picture…”
Hi guys, hi boys and girls and welcome back to the English Harmony video blog!
In today’s video we’re going to look at the following English idiom: The BIG Picture. Or alternatively, you can say: The Bigger Picture. It doesn’t really matter which one you go for, whether you say “The big picture” or “The bigger picture”, these two word combinations are pretty much interchangeable, they mean the same thing.
Now. In reality when you’ll be using the phrase “The big picture” you would be putting it in different contexts, such as: “When looking at the bigger picture” or “If you look at the big picture” or your ability to see the bigger picture, right?
You’d be using it in different contexts but the very two-word combination “The big picture” always remains the same and it’s very idiomatic by its nature and if you are curious as to what it means, when to use it, how to use it, place bear with me for a few more minutes and everything’s gonna become crystal clear to you, I promise!
Hi guys and welcome back! So, the BIG picture. Let me ask you a question. Do you possess the ability to see the bigger picture? If you do, then that would be one of the characteristics needed to become a truly successful manager. Why? Because a manager makes strategic decisions and he has to see the bigger picture. To see the whole operation, because a typical employee wouldn’t necessarily see the big picture.
They would be focusing on their tasks, on their duties, they will see the little details, but not necessarily the bigger picture. So, can you guess from this example what the bigger picture means? Well, I suppose that you might’ve guessed that it means the ability to see everything at once, to take it all in, to understand how everything works as a whole, right?
Whether we’re looking at a company or some process, doesn’t really matter. Well, typically it’s used when talking about some strategic thinking in terms of running a business or something similar. The ability to see the bigger picture. This is basically used when you’ll be going for a job interview and then you will be describing your strengths and you will say that one of my strengths is the ability to see the bigger picture.
And if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense cause quite literally, when you look at a picture… Imagine yourself standing in an Art Gallery and looking on a picture. Looking AT a picture on the wall. I said “looking on a picture” or something like that. I made a mistake, I’m sorry about that but if you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know that making mistakes is crucial, it’s a crucial and integral part of your overall fluency improvement.
So I just corrected myself. The proper way of saying it is: we look AT a picture on the wall. OK? Then if you’re too close to it you will be seeing the individual details but you wouldn’t be necessarily able to take the entire picture in. You wouldn’t be able to see it as a whole.
So you’d have to take a step back and only then you will be able to observe the whole picture and take it all in as a whole. So that’s where this idiom comes from and if you think about it, you would probably come to the same conclusion.
But it’s not always that easy, that straightforward and it’s not always that you can guess their meaning. So you have to know what it means.
And another way of using this idiom would be… Imagine yourself in a company meeting for example. Then you are given the word, you have to say something and then you would start your speech by saying: “If we look at the bigger picture“. That’s a very good sentence starter, right? Meaning, if we look at everything as a whole, if we ignore the little details and try and encompass the whole operation as a whole and basically see it in a strategic perspective.
That’s a very good sentence starter. If we look at it… If we look at the bigger picture, basically, we can clearly understand that the slides drop in sales figures and the months of November and December aren’t really so drastic because if we go back two years ago, something similar happened and then we bounced back and made even more sales the following year, so I would say this is all seasonal and basically if we look at the bigger picture, this figures aren’t really so worrying as you may think at first.
So that was the second example of how to use this particular English idiom and let me come up with a third example. Obviously that’s what I always do in these Idiomatic Expression videos. I give you three examples, all right? Now, let me see. I’m drawing a blank, which means, I can’t really think of anything. That’s a good one. That’s weird because I always brainstorm something. Something crosses my mind on all occasions and now all of the sudden, I can’t really think of anything else, you know?
So you would have to do with two examples. The first one was when you describe yourself in a job interview and then you say you possess the ability to see the bigger picture which distinguishes you from all other candidates, that’s what sets you apart from the other candidates.
And the second one was during a company meeting when you said that if we look at the bigger picture, OK? So the two examples would have to suffice for now and maybe I’ll think of something after recording this video but that’s what always happens, right? You think of something when that moment has passed. That’s typical!
But anyway… I hope that you will benefit from this video and obviously, as always, if you have any questions, of any nature, preferably something that’s got to do with this particular idiom – The big picture or English improvement in general, just let me know in the comments section below the video. Thanks for watching and bye-bye!
Oct 08 2016
Rank #13: Can’t Say a Word in English Because Of Embarrassment… Is That Normal?
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, hello boys and girls and hello my dear foreign English speakers. Welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog and tonight I’m going to record a video as a video response to one of my YouTube commentators. But just before that, allow me to take a sip of my evening decaf coffee, right? Cheers my friends!
So this person, Triple H and he is as a matter of fact, one of the most prolific commentators on my channel and I really hope that you don’t mind Triple H me reading out your comment because it’s going to help everybody, the whole audience for that matter.
So Triple H shares a very embarrassing moment that happened to him at the embassy. So basically the woman or personnel asked him who was going to collect his passport. And basically he didn’t get her accent, her pronunciation so she had to say it 4 times over and he couldn’t get it. And she pronounced basically the word “when” as “wha” and “who” as “he”.
Yeah, well, there are certain distinct accents whereby native English speakers pronounce words completely differently to what you would have expected, right? So after that incident his fluency went down the drain, out the window and afterwards he couldn’t say one word. So the question is do you think it’s common?
Such Fluency Issues Are Very Common!
Triple H, don’t worry, right? You’re not the only one. This is the typical English fluency issue manifesting itself. Basically you are experiencing this embarrassing moment when somebody doesn’t get you or you find it hard to get someone and then you just can’t speak, you know. And it’s all because you are kind of trying to say something to fix the previous problem. So you’re trying to speak better.
So basically here’s the level of the communication, right? So something goes wrong so in your mind it’s like okay, now I’ve got to really show that I can speak really well so you’re immediately increasing the standards for yourself, right?
You’re raising the bar really, really high, super high, and you’re aiming for that but you can’t even say a word because your mind is full of the different things you could say and the different grammar structures and whatnot and eventually you can’t say a thing because you’re overthinking. You’re like “Well, I need to save the day, rectify the situation.” But what happens in real life is quite the opposite. You’re aiming so high that you can’t say a word!
And as a matter of fact, I’m noticing this kind of phenomenon every day. Even in my workplace where there’s plenty of foreigners. As a matter of fact, there’s probably only a handful of Irish at my work. I apologize guys, there’s something in my eye, I’ve got to get it out. I’m sorry.
So yeah, there’s all sorts of different nationalities: Germans, Italians, Spanish people, you name it, from all over the world and we all obviously communicate in English and we use the English language to communicate with our customers and our managers and so on and so forth.
So oftentimes I’m witnessing guys that are super fluent when talking to each other or with me or whatever and then when I see them speak with the manager which is somewhat a more formal form of communication or when they have to get on the phone with a customer, their English becomes worse, you know.
And even today, as a matter of fact, I noticed one guy, he had to take over my case because I’m the level 1 technician and he is a level 2 technician, so basically I couldn’t deal with the issue so I had to engage him and when he started speaking with the customer I noticed that he was a little bit nervous, a little bit on the edge and he was saying things wrong. He was trying to speak quite fast which is another mistake that we all make, right? When we’re trying to match the native speaker in terms of the speed of the speech, right?
So he started speaking too fast and he was kind of finding it difficult to pronounce words because the faster you’re trying to say something, the more difficult it actually becomes after a certain speed, you know what I mean? You have to find the right speed for you that’s comfortable with you. And even if it’s slower than average, so what? No big deal, you know!
But obviously the pride kicks in, you’re comparing yourself automatically with the native English speaker, you’re trying to match their level of fluency and your fluency deteriorates drastically. And as a matter of fact, in the most critical situations, such as the one that Tripe H described, you might be able to – quite the opposite, you might not be able to say a word, you know.
Don’t Have Unrealistic Expectations of Your Own Speech!
And it has happened to me in the past. I’ve been getting myself into loads of different situations and it’s all due to my own fault, you know what I mean? Because of myself. Because of my unrealistic expectations. I didn’t have the concept of saying something simple in mind. I always wanted to sound sophisticated. I was trying to say the right thing. You know, something that would have been expected from me. And when you’re speaking like that immediately this phenomenon kicks in whereby you actually can’t say a thing!
So simplicity is the key if you find yourself in a situation like that. Obviously you’re going to be stressing out, when you can’t even expect yourself to perform at a normal level so you have to lower your standards. It’s quite the opposite, right? So you have to start saying like very simple things. Speak like a baby, you know. Two word sentences and you will be understood and you will get out of the situation. Whereas if you’re trying to kind of say it all at once, eventually you can’t say a thing.
So yeah, to answer the question, it’s very common and it’s not that easy to deal with. And I dealt with that and after a long time having figured out all those fluency management techniques and strategies and if you’re interested in that, then you may want to click on this link here: englishharmony.com/english-fluency-management/
It’s going to take you to the page on my blog where I’ve listed a number of those strategies and they will come in indeed very handy when dealing with situations like Triple H just described!
All right. So thanks for watching this video, my friends. Chat to you soon. Bye-bye!
The post Can’t Say a Word in English Because Of Embarrassment… Is That Normal? appeared first on English Harmony.
Dec 21 2016
Rank #14: English Idiomatic Expression: “Take Something For Granted”
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, hello boys and girls and hello my dear foreign English speakers. That’s me, obviously Robby from EnglishHarmony.com and you are very welcome back to my video blog! Now, today I decided to record a video dedicated to a particular English idiomatic expression, namely “to take something for granted”.
And the reason why I decided to record this particular video is because I got a comment on my blog recently. To be more specific it’s only 6 minutes old, right? And here is what it says. As a matter of fact, it was published on another English idiomatic expression page, The Big Picture and the commentator says this is an incredible video, really got the meaning very quickly and here’s the request: Robby, can you make a video for this idiomatic expression “to take something for granted”? Thank you.
And guess what? You’re lucky, my friend, tonight I’m in a good mood so I decided hey, why not? You know what I mean. And as a matter of fact, I wanted to record a video anyway so I was like okay, I’ll do a video about this particular idiomatic expression.
So if you are interested in finding out how to use this particular one and what kind of situations it can be used in, please bear with me for a few more moments. Did you hear how I kind of started stumbling upon words?
Bear with me for a few mo – mo – mo more moments or something like that? It’s all part of the English Harmony philosophy, my friends. Even if you make a little mistake, even if you stumble upon words a little bit it doesn’t matter. Just keep pushing on, you know what I mean? Keep pushing the envelope and keep speaking with yourself because that is the surefire way to English fluency.
Now, welcome back. So here is the first scenario, right? And before that I actually have to give you a little history. One morning I was driving to work on the highway and all of a sudden there was a massive traffic pileup and I was like “What’s going on?” Normally just after 6 o’clock in the morning there’s very little traffic, you know what I mean?
It’s moving very well. All of a sudden there’s a massive pileup and then there were emergency vehicles driving by, then I realized that there must have been an accident further down the road. And true enough, after a couple miles I witnessed a terrible accident scene. Somebody had crashed into the ditch and there were some trees as well and that car had plowed down the trees and they must have done it at a great speed, you know.
That made me realize that oftentimes we take our lives for granted. We go about our daily business, we just wake up in the morning, go to bed at night and obviously just because we’ve been doing so throughout our entire lives we just think that that’s given, you know, nobody can take it away from us. But in reality it’s quite the opposite, my friends. In a split second, in a car on the road at a high speed can change your life and as a matter of fact, it can take away your life.
So never take your life for granted. Always stay cautious and think twice before you do something, right? So that was the first scenario, right? You should never take your life for granted. Which means that you never should take it as given, as something that can ever be taken away from you. Because it can, you know? It can.
Now, the next kind of scenario is say for instance your friends or your family members, we take people for granted which means that we don’t really appreciate that they are in our lives. Oftentimes we are a bit grumpy towards our partners or our children or our friends even. We don’t really think about how grateful we should be that those people are in our lives in the first place, right?
So now as you can clearly see the meaning of the expression “to take something for granted” starts revealing itself. Basically it means that you shouldn’t take it as something that is always going to be there. You have to appreciate it, right?
And the last example is going to be about for example the safety of our lives. You know, we live in certain conditions, in different countries the economy is better and in other countries it’s worse or whatever but for the most part we live in safety.
We can walk out on the street and we can rest assured that we’re not going to get killed. But for some people on this planet it’s not the case. Where there’s war happening people are just getting shot and killed in their homes or getting bombed and people are dying every day of the week.
Therefore we should not take our country’s safety for granted. We just assume that nothing can happen, that law and order is always going to be there but it’s sometimes very fragile. We don’t really realize what larger forces are at play and how quickly the situation can change.
Just think about Syria where there’s war happening now at the moment. A few years ago that was a country where people went about their daily business, they lived normal lives and all of a sudden their lives changed 360 degrees. There’s thousands upon thousands of people being killed, it’s crazy.
So never take your country’s safety situation for granted. Don’t. And basically appreciate. Don’t complain about stuff, you know. Oftentimes we complain about like really, really irrelevant stuff like – and it’s actually called first world problems, you know? There might be some potholes on the road or whatever and we start complaining about the local council that looks after the roads or whatever but just think about how irrelevant it is.
And it’s a weird phenomenon, the better our lives are, the higher our standards, the higher our expectations and we start taking everything for granted, that that’s the way it has to be, that that’s the way it’s going to be forever and it’s going to get better and better and better. But the history has shown us on multiple occasions that our lives can change within a heartbeat.
So never take anything for granted, appreciate your situation that you’re in every day of the week, be grateful to the God and stay safe, right? So that’s the message today, don’t take anything for granted and appreciate everything.
So I hope that now you’ve got the gist of how this expression can be used and what it means but obviously if you have any more questions in relation to this particular idiomatic expression, feel free to publish them in the comment section below my friends. Chat to you soon. Bye-bye!
The post English Idiomatic Expression: “Take Something For Granted” appeared first on English Harmony.
Dec 28 2016
Rank #15: Why It’s So HARD to Accept Spoken English Can Be Practiced?
Video Transcript Below:
Hi guys, hello boys and girls, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers!
It’s Robby here from EnglishHarmony.com and welcome back to my video blog. Let’s talk about the subject of spoken English self-practice again for the millionth time.
But in case you’re thinking “Robby, come on, you’ve been talking about it in every single video for the last couple of months.” Hold on a second, just bear with me for a moment and you’ll realize that today I’m going to reveal a certain aspect of the whole spoken English self-practice thing that hasn’t been talked about before.
And to be honest with you guys, I didn’t even realize that it existed up until today, when I happened to receive an email from one of my blog readers. And I actually sent him an email a couple of days before that, telling him that spoken English practice, basically speaking is the only way that’s going to develop his fluency, his ability to speak for that matter.
And I didn’t explicitly mention in the email that speaking with himself is one of the options. I only spoke about speaking in general terms and then I went on to give him a few tips and tricks on how to approach the whole speaking thing but I never explicitly mentioned that if you don’t have anyone else to talk to, you can do self-practice in the comfort of your own home. Okay?
Next thing I know that person responds by saying “Listen Robby, it’s not going to work. I can’t, I can’t heed to your advice because I can’t speak. There’s no one for me to speak with!”
Generally SPEAKING Associates With Interpersonal Communication ONLY!
And only then I realized – it was some sort of a light bulb moment, I realized that for some people speaking is only associated with communication with other people, right?
And when you think about it, it actually makes an awful lot of sense because when you grow up as a human being, when you develop from the stage of infancy and then you start pronouncing the first words, repeating what you hear around you and then you start speaking with your parents and friends and all that, you don’t probably even think about speaking with yourself because you only speak with other people. That’s the most natural thing.
And then at some stage in your life when you start learning the second language, if it happens so that you learn it by way of speaking – the natural way. If you live in a bilingual country for instance, just like I did, in my country they speak Latvian and Russian, so I learned Russian by way of speaking.
I can’t actually remember when I learned the Russian language; I just kind of know that I always spoke it. But it’s because I was playing with Russian kids as a little kid myself, so I just learned it the natural way.
But if you start learning the second or the third language in school, in the traditional language teaching setting where you only do textbook exercises, filling gaps in the different exercises and read a lot and listen, you don’t – nobody tells you that you can practice your speech with yourself, right? You only assume that you can do the very same thing you’ve done in your native language, maybe in your second language – speak with others, okay?
When You Don’t Have Anyone to Speak With in English – You’re Lost…
And just because there’s no opportunities to speak with others when it comes down to the English language, you’re lost. You don’t even realize, there’s no concept of self-practice because you just never knew that it existed.
So it can’t even cross your mind. It can’t occur to you. And this is something that I didn’t even think about because for me personally, the whole concept of spoken English self-practice has become second nature.
And it’s been like that for long, long years now and I can’t actually imagine myself without it, you know. And just because I’ve been communicating about the whole thing from my videos for years on end now, I assume that everyone who I come in contact with will quite automatically realize what I’m talking about.
Even When I Say That You’ve Got to SPEAK, Speaking With Yourself Doesn’t Even Occur to You!
But the fact of the matter is that most people out there who haven’t heard about the concept of spoken English self-practice, even if you tell them that you’ve got to speak which I thought was just enough information to make them realize that they can speak with themselves, even then they don’t realize it! You have to explicitly tell them!And when you tell them that, most people are shocked because the whole concept seems something weird, something strange.
And I want you to read an article that I published a year ago. You can click on the link right here and it’s called “Why it’s so hard to realize you have to speak in order to speak?” Right?
And back then and up until now obviously I thought that this is the only issue that for most of us it’s difficult to realize that you have to speak in order to develop your fluency because of the bad job that the traditional English teaching study has done to us, right?
We’ve been brainwashed and now we believe that we can read, write, listen and that way become fluent English speakers, right? So that’s why it’s so hard to realize that you’ve got to speak.
But here’s the thing that I’m talking about today. Here’s a whole new issue. Basically, even if you convince a person that they have to speak, it requires an additional effort to make them understand that they can speak with themselves and that there’s so many advantages to do spoken English self-practice such as zero stress levels and you can make as many mistakes as you want and you can record your speech on a camcorder, go back and self-correct and all those sort of things. So there’s a million advantages and no disadvantages at all, right?
So that’s the message I wanted to send to you guys. In case you happened to be that person who didn’t realize up until now that you can speak with yourself, please start doing that on a daily basis. And if you know some other people who would benefit from this advice, don’t hesitate to tell them that. Tell them Robby told you to speak with yourself and that’s the only way to improve your English fluency if you don’t have any opportunities to speak with other people, right?
So I hope that what I was trying to communicate with you guys makes an awful lot of sense!
So obviously, if you have any questions or comments of any nature – preferably something that’s got to do with spoken English improvement – post them I the comment section below.
Chat to you soon and bye-bye!
The post Why It’s So HARD to Accept Spoken English Can Be Practiced? appeared first on English Harmony.
Feb 04 2016
Rank #16: Happy New Year 2017 From English Harmony!
Happy New Year 2017 my friends foreign English speakers and all my followers!
I’m wishing you a very happy, prosperous and successful New Year!
Personally for me this last year has been very challenging and full of surprises, but I can proudly say that I accomplished what I set out to do and I secured a job in the IT sector as a foreign English speaker.
Have you got similar dreams and ambitions?
- Do you feel like you’re kind of stuck and you would really like to change things?
- Do you plan to move to an English speaking country to study?
- Do you finally want to find a better job where you can realize your full potential and also use the English language?
- Or maybe you want to start your own YouTube channel about a specific topic and publish videos as a foreign English speaker?
Everything is possible.
Just set your goal for the year 2017, come up with a simple action plan and follow through with it.
It really is THAT simple my friends!
Have a very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2017!
Your English fluency coach,
Dec 31 2016
Rank #17: English Fluency Q & A – 17 September 2016 – Ask Robby!
In today’s video I’m going to respond to a number of e-mails sent by my blog readers, and here’s exactly what I’m addressing in this video:
- How heeding to my advice about using SIMPLE VOCABULARY helped one of my blog readers to succeed at a job interview which resulted in securing a job 1:00 – 3:15
- Is trying to build huge vocabulary and phraseology going to help overcome an English fluency issue whereby the person in question keeps constantly second-guessing themselves when speaking in English? 3:20 – 9:50
- Studying English grammar for 20 years – and still can’t speak in English! 9:50 – 11:05
- Struggling with English Tenses and modifying English sentences 11:15 – 13:05
P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!
The post English Fluency Q & A – 17 September 2016 – Ask Robby! appeared first on English Harmony.
Sep 18 2016
Rank #18: English Idiomatic Expression: “Along the Lines of…”
Hi guys, hello boys and girls, hello my dear fellow foreign English speakers! It’s Robby here obviously from EnglishHarmony.com and today I’m bringing you another daily English idiomatic expression video.
Well, I guess by now you would have noticed that these idiomatic expression videos are not being published on a daily basis. That was the original intention a few years ago but as you can imagine I just haven’t been able to keep up with that production schedule, publishing one video a day simply because of my Fluency Star students and everything but I just stuck with the name daily English idiomatic expressions, right?
So I’m just going to give you a new one today, right? Because God only knows when is the next one going to come up, when I decide to publish the next one. But to tell you the truth I have a bunch of them recorded and then I publish them as I see fit, every now and then I would publish another one for you guys.
Anyhow, today we’re going to look at the following English idiomatic expression “along the lines of”, right? And obviously if you want to find out what exactly it means, when you can use this particular phrase then bear with me for a few more moments and everything is going to become crystal clear to you my friends!
Example Sentence #1
Welcome back. So “along the lines of.” What exactly it means. Well, let me give you an example and that will paint a pretty clear picture and you’ll figure it out for yourself what exactly it means and when you can use it in your speech, right?
So here’s reported speech, basically something that someone told me or something that I just overheard being said by someone else, right? And you are the person I’m talking to and I’m saying what I’ve heard the other person say, right?
“Listen, I was passing by when Julie was talking to Mark today and I can’t actually remember word by word what she said but it went something along the lines of listen Mark, I’m fed up with your attitude and I’m done with it, you know what I mean. I’m not going to put up with it for much longer!”
So that’s what she said. Just like I said I can’t remember exactly what she said but it went something along the lines of I’m fed up with you Mark. I’m not going to put up with you anymore so I’ll leave the rest to yourself, to your imagination to understand what exactly was going to happen next, right?
So as you could clearly see in this particular example I used the English idiomatic expression “along the lines of” to describe reported speech that I wasn’t quite sure exactly how it went, exactly what words were used but I’m just paraphrasing, right? So that’s the type of situation when you may want to use this particular idiom.
So how you use it? You use it by sticking “it went” in front of it so it went along – or something as well, right? So it went something along the lines of. So that’s how you describe particular person’s speech that you’re not a 100% sure of but you’re just putting it in your own words.
Example Sentence #2
So I’m not really sure what Mike said to Jodie but I think it went something along the lines of “Jodie, you’re the best worker so I think you deserve a pay rise. Just don’t say it to anyone else, right?” But I happened to be passing by the door and I didn’t even want it but I just heard that conversation and just like I said it went something along the lines of “Jodie, rest assured that your wages are going to be increased but not a single word to anyone else because others are going to ask me if the same thing, right? They will ask me for pay rise but I can’t afford it. I can only remunerate you like that because you’re the best employee, right?”
So that was the second example. It’s all about reported speech as you could clearly see and when else would you be using this particular idiom?
Example Sentence #3
It’s when you want to remember something in the exact words for instance, a saying, a phrase or an English idiomatic expression for that matter but you can’t remember exactly how it’s said, right? But this particular situation kind of demands that you remember how it was said. For instance if I couldn’t remember the phrase “along the lines of” so I could have used that expression to describe how I remembered it.
So “it went something along the lines of” obviously this particular example doesn’t even make sense because obviously I know how to use it but let me just give you an idea of what I’m trying to say here. I know this phrase but I can’t actually remember the exact words but it went something along the lines of… with the lines of if you know what I mean, right?
So I was trying to describe that phrase not being exactly sure what way it was put, what words were used. And then normally when you would describe something to the other person like this, with almost the exact words it would make the other person maybe remember what exactly you are trying to say, right? Whether it’s a phrase or some quote for example.
Let’s say for instance you’re talking about songs and song lyrics and you’re saying “I can’t actually remember the chorus part of that song but I think it went something along the lines of… And then you’re saying it and the other person will probably help you out with that in case they remember the exact words, right?
And on the finishing note let me just tell you that you can use it – I mean you can use this particular idiom “along the lines of” in combination with some other words. It doesn’t always go with “it went something along the lines”. You can say it was something – no, sorry. It was along the lines, right? It was along the lines, yeah, you can say that, surely, right?
And obviously there’s a whole lot more ways of using it. I just can’t think of them all and that’s a very well-known phenomenon, right? If you’re asked to come up with all ways of doing a certain thing, surely you can’t do it because it’s only the context that will bring out that particular thing that you’re looking for, right? And in this example if I were to speak and use that phrase in a different way, that’s when I would remember it, right?
But suffice it to say that these example sentences that I’ve given to you today should paint a pretty clear picture of how to use this particular English idiomatic expression so please make sure to use it in your daily spoken English practice sessions and also real time – real life should I say conversations with other people, right?
So thanks for watching this video, thanks for your time and don’t forget to like the video obviously if you liked it and don’t forget to subscribe for my channel if you haven’t already done so my friends. Thanks and chat to you soon. Bye-bye!
The post English Idiomatic Expression: “Along the Lines of…” appeared first on English Harmony.
Aug 27 2016
Rank #19: English Idiomatic Expression: “To The Best of My Knowledge”
Hi guys, hello boys and girls and welcome back to Robby’s English Harmony video blog!
Today I decided to bring another English idiomatic expression video to you and this time around the video in question is – no, not the video in question, the phrase, the expression in question!
Sorry guys for making this mistake but I’m just going to leave it here on record so that you can see that Robby is not really afraid of making mistakes, he practices what he preaches and that’s the path that you should be going down as well if you’re anything serious about your English fluency improvement that is, right?
So basically don’t be afraid, don’t be embarrassed of making mistakes, saying something wrong, going back, correcting yourself, it’s all part of the game.
Anyway, going back to the original subject, the expression in question for today is “to the best of my knowledge”, right? So if you’re interested in learning how to use this particular English idiomatic expression, just bear with me for a few more moments and everything is going to become crystal clear to you my friends!
So welcome back guys. Now, basically how to use the idiomatic expression “to the best of my knowledge”? Let me give you a very simple example sentence, right? To the best of my knowledge I haven’t actually recorded a video about the English idiomatic expression “to the best of my knowledge”, right? It’s like a joke but anyway, I hope I made you laugh!
So I hope that you could clearly understand what way the phrase “to the best of my knowledge” is used in this particular example, right? It’s basically as if I were to say as far as I’m aware, right? Same thing, right? Much of a muchness which is an expression I learned years ago which means that the two things are pretty much the same, right? Much of a muchness. It doesn’t matter which way you go, right?
So as far as I’m aware I haven’t recorded a video about the phrase “to the best of my knowledge”. “To the best of my knowledge” I haven’t recorded and so on and so forth. So pretty much the same meaning, right is carried by both of these phrases. Speaking of which, I actually recorded the videos about similar phrases, right? Such as “if I’m not mistaken” and “correct me if I’m wrong”, right? And you may want to click on this link which is going to take you to the respective page on my blog where you’ll be able to watch a video about those two phrases.
And actually all these four phrases “to the best of my knowledge”, “as far as I’m aware”, “if I’m not mistaken”, “correct me if I’m wrong” they’re pretty much interchangeable. Having said that, I have to admit that “if I’m not mistaken”, “correct me if I’m wrong” kind of involves a little bit more doubt factor, right? In that particular situation I’m probably only 50-50 sure that what I’m saying is right or 60-40 or something like that, right?
But “to the best of my knowledge” that’s quite a big certainty, right? So whatever you’re saying, whatever statement you’re making you’re pretty sure of that, right?
And now let me just give you a few more example sentences so that you can develop the feeling, the instinct for using this particular phrase, right? Let’s say you’re showing someone how to install a Windows operating system, right? As a matter of fact that’s something that I did today in the college, right?
I was guiding one person through all the steps necessary to install – what was it? – rooting an active directory services on the Windows 2012 server machine, right? And I was going through the wizard and he was asking “Hold on a second, do you see those options there, Robby? Do you not have to tick them as well?” And I said to him “Listen, to the best of my knowledge you just ignore them. You just go next, next, next, bam, bam, bam, install, that’s going to be done for you.” Right?
So that was a typical example. So you’re basically saying to someone “Listen, to the best of my knowledge this is the way it’s done.” And this is basically when it comes to certain procedures and whatnot. That’s when you typically would be using this phrase in your work environment, right? Someone asks you for advice and they kind of slightly doubt that, they question it and then you say “Well, to the best of my knowledge that’s the way it works.” If you’re in doubt you may want to ask someone else but to the best of my knowledge, as far as I’m aware that’s the way it is, right?
And let me think… can I think of another example? I suppose you could use this one when talking about some facts, right? When you’re saying something that you might have read before, that someone might have told you before but you’re not a 100% sure of that you can say “Well, to the best of my knowledge you’re not supposed to pour boiling water over tea. If you put your teabag in a tea cup you’re not supposed to boil water and pour it immediately over the tea, right? You have to – I suppose – cool it down for something like 2 or 3 minutes or something like that so that its temperature drops from a 100 degrees Celsius down to 95 or something. And I think I’m pretty sure that I read it somewhere. So to the best of my knowledge that’s the way you go about making tea in the ideal set of circumstances, right?”
And to finish off this video I should probably come up with another example. Well, let me see, let’s say for example that you’re chatting with a friend of yours and that person – basically it’s an informal conversation – that person, that friend of yours is saying that he thinks that – let’s assume for argument’s sake that your friend’s name is Mark and you’re talking about Sally. And Mark is telling you that Sally is going out with someone, right? And then you’re saying to your friend “Now listen, buddy, that’s not the way it is. To the best of my knowledge Sally only broke up with Peter last week so there is no way she could be possibly going out with someone. It’s only been a week since her breakup. So to the best of my knowledge that’s not true. I don’t know who might have told you that but that’s just rumors is all, right?”
So this was the last and final example of using the idiomatic expression to the best of my knowledge in a conversation. So please make sure that you do a lot of spoken English self-practicing where you use this particular phrase and also if you happen to have conversations with other people don’t hesitate to use this particular phrase in your conversations to make sure that that speech pattern is imprinted into your brain and into your mouth which is the most important part of the whole English fluency thing, right?
So thanks for watching this video! Obviously if you have any questions post them in the comment section below. Don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to my channel if you haven’t already done so and chat to you soon again. Bye-bye!
The post English Idiomatic Expression: “To The Best of My Knowledge” appeared first on English Harmony.
Aug 08 2016
Rank #20: We Create English Fluency Issues for Ourselves!
This one may come as a shock to you, my friends, but the fact of the matter is that sometimes those terrible problems we experience with our English fluency are our own making.
Yes, you heard me right – we create a lot of our fluency issues for ourselves, and there’s no-one else to blame for it but us!
Sure enough, we’re not even aware of the fact that we’re contributing to our inability to speak fluent English, but the good news is that it is relative easy to get our fluency back on track if you know the right techniques and methods, and that’s exactly what today’s video is all about.
So don’t despair, watch the video and you may just learn the right approach to fix your fluency issues on 5 occasions out of 10!
Feb 17 2016