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What's the difference between "beautiful", "pretty", "gorgeous", and "handsome"?

A beautiful model

The words "beautiful", "pretty", "gorgeous", and "handsome" all describe something which looks good. When several words have the same meaning, how can you choose which one to use?

The best way to learn similar words is to learn them in phrases. Learn the words that go along with them.

Who do we...

Phrase Lists »

Phrases for reconnecting with an old friend

Friends hugging

Do you know what to say to an old friend who you haven't seen in many years? Here are some phrases that you can use when you reunite with someone:

Greet them

People who haven't met in a long time often act surprised, even when their meeting was planned:

Oh my gosh, look who it is!

Well if it...

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Another interview: ALsensei from the English 2.0 podcast

ALsensei from alsensei.com interviewed me recently for his English 2.0 podcast. We talked about the most common questions English learners ask, my ideas for how to learn English faster, and tips for being productive. Check out the interview here:

English 2.0 Teacher Interview 5 - Aaron from...

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Words and phrases for talking about coffee in English

Coffee cups

Photo Credit: marfis75 via Compfight cc

Are you a coffee drinker?

How do you take your coffee? Do you take it black, or do you like to add milk or sugar to it? Do you prefer skim milk (milk with no fat), whole milkcream, or half-and-half (half milk, half...

Phrase Lists »

Phrases for talking about gardening in English

 Gardening

Do you like to garden? Here are some words and phrases for talking about gardening in English:

There are a few different types of gardens:

  • vegetable gardens, in which you grow vegetables and fruits to eat
  • flower gardens, which have pretty flowers
  • ornamental gardens, which contain a...

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Does punctuation go inside or outside of quotation marks?

We use quotation marks in English in several situations:

  • when quoting exactly what someone said or wrote

    He said, "Don't bother cooking dinner for me."

  • when naming the title of an article, song, TV episode, etc.

    I sang a song I wrote called "Only Once".

  • when writing about a word or...

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English phrases for talking about skilled trades

Wrench

A "tradesperson" is someone who is skilled in an area that requires both manual labor (working with your hands) and specialized expertise (detailed knowledge about how to do something).

Here are some skilled trades. You can click to read an encyclopedia entry...

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The most common English online slang

You may sometimes notice strange non-words that pop up in informal writing online: things like "OMG", "bf", etc. These slang expressions have entered the English language in the last 10-15 years because they're faster to type than the fully-spelled-out words and...

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Why don't I use the English that I've learned?

A reader asked me this question:

When English speakers ask me something, my response always contains the same old vocabulary and phrases. Instead of using new English that I've learned, I always go back to the simple way of saying things. How can I stop doing that?

So how can you make yourself...

Phrase Lists »

50 more of the most important English proverbs

One of the most popular PhraseMix articles ever was about the 50 most important English proverbs, so here are some more really common proverbs.

Proverbs are wise sayings that are remembered and repeated. The ones below are so popular that you will often hear them in daily conversation.

If you're...