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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...

My crazy challenge for you: become a YouTube star!

If you already have plenty of English-speaking friends or colleagues, you can skip this advice. Just go talk to them and make sure to keep doing it each day. But if your big problem is that you don't have anyone to use English with, I have a solution for you.

A way to find people to speak English with

I'd like you to make a video of yourself speaking English and put it up on the Internet.

The reason for doing this is to make contact with English speakers, both native speakers and other learners like you. If you create something interesting, people will find it. Then maybe they will comment on it. Eventually, some viewers might even contact you.

Of course, it will take a while for that to happen. But while you're waiting for your audience to grow, you will also be practicing your...

41 unique ways to practice listening to English


Our PhraseMix Premium service gives you a super-easy way to improve your English by listening to key example sentences. But there are lots of other ways to practice listening to English, if you're willing to put in the time and effort. We've pulled together a big list of 41 interesting ways that you can improve your listening skill.

  1. Tweet This Idea!

    Get hooked on an English TV show.

    Find an English-language drama or comedy that seems interesting, and start watching it from the beginning. Follow the storylines and get to know all the characters. Not sure what to watch? Here's a list of some of the best TV series of all time.

    How this can help:

    To learn English, you have to practice consistently for a long time. When you find a TV show you like a lot, it's easy to spend hours and hours...

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