Featured Blog Posts

Thoughts about learning foreign languages and news about PhraseMix.com

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.

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Don't just learn. Overlearn.

If you're just reading each PhraseMix lesson, you're doing it wrong.

A story

I used to teach at an English conversation school in Japan. The students were mostly Japanese housewives and businessmen who came in two or three times a week.

There was one student who had been coming to the school...

The 3 biggest improvements you can make to your English writing

I see a lot of emails and comments from English learners. Some of them are well-written, but others are filled with mistakes and hard to read.

There are so many different rules to follow and think about when you're writing in English. It might seem impossible to learn them all. But it's...

The key to understanding natural spoken English

Today a friend told me a story. She was doing translation work at a booth in a restaurant trade show. She was translating for the CEO of a company that made high-quality kitchen knives.

This CEO had studied English, but hadn't gotten many chances to use English in real situations. So he was able...

5 steps to achieving your New Year's resolutions

2015 Calendar

I'm a big fan of New Year's resolutions. "New Year's resolutions" are yearly goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of a new year. They usually have to do with fitness, saving money, education, etc.

People often make New Year's resoltions at the beginning of...

8 reasons why your English isn't improving

Do you feel like you're becoming better at speaking English?

I often get emails from PhraseMix readers saying something like this:

"I need help. I've been studying English for a long time, but I don't feel like I'm improving. What do you suggest?"

Here are some of the most common reasons that...

How your brain learns English (and how it doesn't)

I sometimes worry that the lessons I write contain too much information.

"Information" includes anything that can be written as a "rule": grammar rules, explanations of the difference between two words, etc.

It's OK to learn information about English. But it's much, much more...

Infographic: How many words do you 'need'?

Word frequency

How many words do you need to learn in order to speak English fluently? Well, it depends on what you mean by "fluent".

We looked at a "word frequency" list of spoken English - a list of which words show up most often - and made some interesting discoveries. 

 

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The problem with language learning "levels"

Most language systems and books have different levels: Basic, Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and so on.

I don't really believe in levels very much, because my experience is that people take very different paths to learn a language. One person might speak English like crazy after a few weeks...

Where do I start?

A PhraseMix reader asked this question:

I feel a little lost. There are is too much information, and I am so excited to learn everything but I don't really know where to start. Wherever I look I find new links and pages and phrases. Any advice on how to start to learn the right way and not miss...


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