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50 more of the most important English proverbs

One of the most popular PhraseMix articles ever was about the 50 most important English proverbs, so here are some more really common proverbs.

Proverbs are wise sayings that are remembered and repeated. The ones below are so popular that you will often hear them in daily conversation.

If you're...

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What's the difference between "jail" and "prison"?

Do you know the difference between the words "jail" and "prison"? Learning the difference can teach you not only about these words, but about other words related to crime, courts, and punishment as well.

The meaning of "jail"

If you get arrested, the police take you to a jail. Jails are operated...

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What do you do?

“What do you do?” is a question that you’ll often hear when you meet new people. When English speakers ask this question, they’re asking what your job is. So describing your job is important.

If you have an easily-recognized job, you can just tell people the name of your...

Phrase Lists »

English phrases for gift-giving

gifts

Gift or present?

The words "gift" and "present" mean the same thing, but which one to use depends on the occasion. These are the most common collocations (word combinations) for each holiday:

a Christmas present

a Birthday present

a wedding present

a Valentine's Day gift

a Mother's day...

Concepts »

Idiomatic English

What is Idiomatic English?

Using "idiomatic" English means speaking and writing in a normal way.

This is a little different from "correct" English. It's possible to make English sentences that are completely grammatically correct, but they're not idiomatic.

For example, consider the following...

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Should I use "Can I", "Could I", or "May I"?

A student sent me a question about how to ask for permission in English:

I have a question about when to use "Can I...?", "Could I...?", or "May I..."to ask someone for permission. For example, If I(a student) asked you (the teacher) to do something, should I use "Could I...?" instead of...

Phrase Lists »

How to talk about the weekend in English

Park afternoon

Everyone loves the weekend. Weekends are a huge topic of conversation. Starting on Wednesday or Thursday, people will ask you about your weekend plans. When you return to work or school, you'll be asked how your weekend went. So it's helpful to have a nice range of phrases to use for these...

Phrase Lists »

9 ways to offer to help someone

Reaching out to help

When you want to help someone, how do you make your offer in English?

There are a lot of different ways to offer your assistance. Which phrase you should choose depends on the situation. Here are some English phrases for offering help that you should definitely know! They're arranged roughly in...

The Blog »

A cool trick for memorizing sentences

(Watch this video or read the article below.)

Someone recently told me about a cool trick for memorizing things. 

I wish I could remember who told me about the trick, and where they got it from. But I looked the trick up online and found an article about it from QuickAndDirtyTips.com.

...

The Blog »

An interview with the "Let's Master English" podcast

This week, I was interviewed for a podcast called "Let's Master English". The host, Coach Shane, is a really smart guy and easy to talk to.

We talked about how I got started with PhraseMix, some of my recommendations for language learners, describe my idea of "bottlenecks" in language learning,...