Answers

Answers to common questions about the English language.

What's the difference between 'clean away', 'clean up', 'clean out', etc.?

Before I explain the differences between "clean up", "clean out", etc. here's a warning: if you don't already know these phrases, it's a bad idea to learn them all at the same time. Read this blog post to find out why.

If you already know these expressions and you'd like to figure out exactly how...


What's the difference between "in time" and "on time"?

The phrases "in time" and "on time" are very similar in meaning, but English speakers use them in slightly different situations.

Doing something "on time" means meeting an appointment, or meeting a time that has been set by someone. For example:

I hardly ever get to work on time.

My flight's...


How do I build my English-speaking confidence?

Speaking a foreign language can be really intimidating. You know that you're probably making mistakes. You're worried that you might say something offensive and make people angry. It's stressful!

It's hard to make yourself speak when you don't feel confident, but to get better at speaking...


When should you use an exclamation point at the end of a sentence?

This is an exclamation point: 

!

When should you use an exclamation point at the end of a sentence? The answer is interesting because the way that it's used has actually changed quite a bit in the last 10 years.

The old rules

Here's how exclamation points have traditionally been used in...


Why do English speakers mix present and past tense?

A PhraseMix reader asked this interesting question:

I have realized that some people use present tense mixed with past tense while talking about past events. For instance, check out the following statement:

I wouldn't say the man lied to his surbordinates yesterday. However, it is...





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