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Moving from "I" to "we"

Third person and first person

When you write something in English, you have to choose which "person" you're going to write in. You can choose to write in "third person", which means that you talk about things as "he", "she", "it", "they", "that", and so on. Here's how I might write about PhraseMix in third person:

PhraseMix began in 2009.

When you write in the third person, your writing seems straightforward and factual.

Another way of writing is to use the "first person", which means that you write about "I", "me":

I started PhraseMix in 2009.

When you write in first person, your writing seems more personal and emotional. This is the way that I've chosen to write in most PhraseMix articles and emails. For example:

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

The first-ever PhraseMix book is coming out soon!

I'm proud to announce that the first-ever printed book from PhraseMix will be released on September 15th, 2015. It's being sold in Japan, with the title "英語はもっとフレーズで話そう" ("Let's learn English more phrasally!"). It was translated into Japanese by Misako Yoke and is being published by GOKEN publishing company.

Let's learn English more phrasallly!

If you read PhraseMix in English, that means that you're an intermediate or advanced English learner. You already know a lot, but you use PhraseMix to get even better.

This book is a great opportunity for PhraseMix to reach a new audience: English beginners. This book is a collection of past PhraseMix lessons, with the explanations translated into Japanese. Since the explanations are translated, Japanese readers who don't know a lot of English can read the lessons and get started...

When will you be perfect in English?

A PhraseMix reader wrote to me recently about her problems with learning English, and I noticed this sentence:

My problem is that I can't apply for a job because I am not so perfect in English.

I thought it would be good to talk about this idea of "perfect in English". If you study English really hard using the best study methods like PhraseMix, how long will it take for you to become perfect? Six months? A year? Two years?

Actually, you will never be a perfect English speaker.

There's no such thing as speaking a language "perfectly". Native speakers don't speak perfectly. Take me as an example. Here are just a few of my flaws:

  • I don't know much about finance and economics, so I would be completely lost if I got a job at a big bank.
  • I sometimes mumble and don't pronounce words...

How is PhraseMix doing?

October was the 5-year anniversary of PhraseMix! I thought this would be a good time to share with you how things are going. But first, a little history:

My plan for PhraseMix

I started PhraseMix in 2009 because I had an idea about how to learn languages. I got the idea when I was trying to study vocabulary for a Japanese language test.

At that time, I was working full-time at a large magazine-publishing company, but I wanted to try to start my own website. A language-learning site seemed like a good idea because I had experience as an English teacher.

I built PhraseMix in my free time: in the mornings, evening, and on weekends. I was able to do a lot in that time, but I always wanted to do more. So I set a goal for myself: I would build PhraseMix up until it made enough money to...

How to remember phrasal verbs without mixing them up

Phrasal Verbs

You have to learn phrasal verbs if you want to sound natural in English. English speakers use phrasal verbs all the time. They give our language color and life.

How have you learned phrasal verbs in the past? Most English learners study phrasal verbs in lists grouped by verb like these:

  • go out with (someone)
  • go around (doing something)
  • go for (something)
  • go on about (something)

This approach has a problem, though: it's easy to forget which words at the end (which we call 'particles'*) to use. It's easy to get them mixed up later when you try to remember which phrasal verb to use.

I'd like to suggest a different approach. Instead of grouping phrasal verbs by the verb, what if we grouped them by their particles like this?

  • chip in (for something)
  • break in (something)
  • hand in...

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