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None of these things will happen if you speak English badly.

If you try to speak English and make a mistake, none of these things will happen:

  • No one will point and laugh at you
  • You won't lose your job.
  • The townspeople won't chase after you with torches.
  • You won't be locked up and thrown in jail.
  • The love of your life won't dump you.
  • You won't be...

Are English speakers changing the way they speak for you?

Have you ever noticed that it's a lot easier to understand someone who's speaking directly to you in English than a conversation between two other people?

I have this problem when I visit my in-laws in Japan. If I'm riding in the car with my wife and her mother and they're speaking Japanese to...

Learning through explanations and learning through examples

When some aspect of English confuses you, what should you do about it? Should you ask a teacher or consult a book? Or try to figure it out for yourself?

If you've been reading PhraseMix for a while, you probably already know what my answer is going to be. In the past, I've written about why you...

How do you feel about calling yourself "fluent"?

Do you feel comfortable calling yourself "fluent" in English?

I started thinking about this topic recently when I was telling someone about my experiences living in Japan. She asked whether I'm fluent in Japanese, and I started to give my usual complicated answer.

I'm never sure what to say. On...

Study and use

When have you made the fastest improvements in your language learning? I was thinking about this recently. I remembered that I've improved the fastest when I was:

  1. Studying the language every day by looking up new words, drilling with lists, and reading explanations of grammatical structures
  2. ...

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