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How to think in English: put in the time!

A user on the UsingEnglish.com forum posted a question that got me worked up to respond:

How to thinking in english....???


When I practise to speak english. I always repare a sentence with a native language then I translate it to english to speak.

I knew it wrong for speaking english. But how...

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"Will", "Going To Do", and "Doing" - why learners get them wrong

Here's a little example of something English learners get wrong that I attribute to a failure of textbooks and teachers to properly reflect the way language is used.

I've been spending a lot of time recently hanging around Lang-8.com and helping people out by correcting their journal entries....

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The Importance of Not Being Thorough

This morning I was trying to think of some phrases that use the word "face" to show to someone and did a quick Google search. One of the results I came across was this: http://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/32/messages/937.html

I think that this is fairly typical of phrase lists and...

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Uncommon Common Phrases

I was going through a list of English phrases that I collected from watching TV, reading online articles and so on.  I came across this one:

Are we still on for Saturday?

As natural an English expression as one could hope for, but not something I expect to hear from my students or friends...

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Speaking phrases vs. Listening phrases

Ever buy a book of idioms or phrases in the language you wanted to learn? Somewhere at my wife's parents' house in Japan is a book that I bought several years ago with several hundred pages of phrases.  I tried studying some of them, but at some point tried out a few on native Japanese...

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Going and Coming

Once I was talking with one of my English students about how we use the words "come" and "go" in English.  Our conversation brought up some really interesting points about these words.

If you were to invite someone out to watch a movie, how would you ask?  A few possible ways to ask...

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The Scrabble Method to achieving super fluency

In order to speak a foreign language well, you’re supposed to think in that language. We all know this. The idea is so widely accepted among learners that it’s almost a cliché. So why don’t we do it?  Why don’t we think in the language that we're trying to...

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Finding Good Learning Material, Part 3

One other aspect of finding good learning material that I wasn't able to touch on in my last post is the issue of variety.

Let's say that you've found a great, convenient study method for building vocabulary and reading comprehension. You've found a good news site that provides video clips and an...

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What a Japanese proverb taught me about learning English grammar

Don't learn; absorb

There's a phrase in Japanese that I love: narau yori nareru (習うより慣れる). 

You'll sometimes see this translated to English as "practice makes perfect", but what I like about this is the way that it's phrased. Narau (習う) means "to...

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The importance of collocation

One of the most-overlooked aspects of language learning is collocation.  Collocation is the pattern of co-occurrence of words. In other words, it's which words tend to appear together.

Take a word like “cease”: there are certain set phrases that we associate with the word, such...


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