Answers

Do you have a question about English? In these articles, we answer many of the common questions that English learners have.

What's the difference between "It's broken" and "It broke"?

Broken glass

A reader asked this question:

I have a question about the usage of "break". What is the difference of "The TV set is broken." and "The TV set broke." I've been unclear on that for a long time.

"The TV set is broken" is a statement about the situation of the TV right now. It doesn't work.

"The...

Should I learn to speak with an American or British accent?

flags

People often ask me what variety of English they should learn. Here's my honest answer:

It doesn't matter.

Here's why:

Accents are hard to change.

It's really, really hard to pick up a native-sounding accent if you learn English as an adult. Children pick up accents very...

Is there any difference between "it's not working" and "it doesn't work"?

A lot of English learners have trouble knowing when to use a simple verb ("it works") and when to use a progressive verb ("it's working"). For example, one PhraseMix reader asked, "Is there any difference between 'it's not working' and 'it doesn't work'?"

It's not working

If something "is not...

Excited or exciting, interested or interesting, etc.

English learners often have trouble figuring out whether to use the "-ing" ending or "-ed" ending for adjectives that express emotions. Some examples of these adjectives are:

  • exciting/excited
  • interesting/interested
  • boring/bored
  • amazing/amazed
  • confusing/confused

An easy way to remember

The easy...

What's the difference between "college" and "university" in English?

The words "college" and "university" are used differently in different parts of the world, so you should pay attention to how people around you are using these words.

Two-year schools

In Canada, for example, "college" is specifically a two-year school that people go to after high school.

In much...


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