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Ideas on learning from "Everything You Thought You Knew About Learning Is Wrong"

If you're a good reader in English, try to challenge yourself with this article from Wired magazine:

Everything You Thought You Knew About Learning Is Wrong

The article gives three main suggestions for improving your ability to learn:

  1. Interleave your studying. Rather than just focusing on one skill, practice several connected skills together.
  2. Study in many locations instead of always in the same place.
  3. Work hard to remember things. Don't study something that you've just learned; wait until you've started to forget, and then review it.

The article is pretty hard to read, but it's written in a casual tone. I think you might enjoy it. Have any questions about it? Ask them in the comments!

What's your favorite phrase?

Out of all the PhraseMix example sentences you've read, what's your favorite one? Why is it your favorite? Because it was new to you? Because it's funny? Because it perfectly fit a situation that you've encountered?

If you need to refresh your memory, here's the index of all the past PhraseMix lessons.

Leave your answer (with a link, if you can) in the comments!

Who would you like to speak like?

If you could sound like one particular English speaker, who would you want to sound like?

For me, I think it would be cool to have this guy's voice:

I've already explained in a past blog entry why you should try to do an impression of someone. So is there anyone special that you would like to sound like?

Give your answer in the comments. Extra credit for posting a video or audio clip!

The 5 levels of incorrect English

What does it mean to say that something is "wrong" in English? Sometimes PhraseMix readers ask me things like "Is this sentence correct?" and I have trouble answering directly. That's because there are actually several different meanings of the words "correct" or "incorrect", "right" or "wrong".

Here are some of the different categories of "incorrect" English that I've found:

Level 1: Unintelligible English

Something that people just can't understand is "unintelligible".

Here's an example of unintelligible English:

"If me and if we don't you have know me find."


You might speak unintelligible English if you're drunk, or if you're trying to talk about something that you don't have enough ability to explain.

If your English is "unintelligible", you'll probably find out quickly...

Good English learning habit: carry around a piece of paper

I find that I forget a lot of what I learn. Do you have that problem?

For example, if I watch a movie in a foreign language, I usually hear a few interesting new phrases. If I'm paying attention, I might even think, "Hey, I should remember this for later!". But a few minutes later, it's gone. If you ask me the next day, I probably won't remember what even happened in the movie, much less any new words or phrases :)

Ah, if only there was a way to record what I've learned and save it for later...

Wait! There's is a way to do that! In fact, it's an extremely simple technique. Just make sure that you have something to write on. Then develop the habit of writing things down.

I like to carry around a really small, thin notebook that fits in my back pocket.

Even better might be a folded-up...

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