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Should I use "Can I", "Could I", or "May I"?

A student sent me a question about how to ask for permission in English:

I have a question about when to use "Can I...?", "Could I...?", or "May I..."to ask someone for permission. For example, If I(a student) asked you (the teacher) to do something, should I use "Could I...?" instead of...

Phrase Lists »

How to talk about the weekend in English

Park afternoon

Everyone loves the weekend. Weekends are a huge topic of conversation. Starting on Wednesday or Thursday, people will ask you about your weekend plans. When you return to work or school, you'll be asked how your weekend went. So it's helpful to have a nice range of phrases to use for these...

Phrase Lists »

9 ways to offer to help someone

Reaching out to help

When you want to help someone, how do you make your offer in English?

There are a lot of different ways to offer your assistance. Which phrase you should choose depends on the situation. Here are some English phrases for offering help that you should definitely know! They're arranged roughly in...

The Blog »

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.

...

The Blog »

An interview with the "Let's Master English" podcast

This week, I was interviewed for a podcast called "Let's Master English". The host, Coach Shane, is a really smart guy and easy to talk to.

We talked about how I got started with PhraseMix, some of my recommendations for language learners, describe my idea of "bottlenecks" in language learning,...

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Containers

English has lots of words for different containers of different sizes, shapes, and uses. Sometimes containers are defined by what they look like. For example, a "roll" is cylinder-shaped (round and long).

But there are other containers which are hard to specifically define. A "carton", for...

Concepts »

Word order

Word order in statements

Subjects and verbs

Subjects usually come first in English sentences. The verb comes afterward. They can be simple:

He | lied.

Or more complicated:

Over a dozen of the plane's passengers | died.

 

Objects

When the sentence has an object, it comes after the verb....

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Bottlenecks

Bottle

In English, the word "bottleneck" describes something that slows down a process.

Think about the shape of a wine bottle. The bottom part is wider, but in order for the wine to pour out, it has to pass through the narrow "neck" of the bottle. This limits how quickly you can...

The Blog »

What's funny to you in English?

Laughing

When I was in college, I studied the plays of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare is probably the greatest writer in the English language, but he wrote several hundred years ago. So some of his plays can be hard to understand for modern English speakers.

The comedies were especially hard to...

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Questions you might be asked in an English job interview

Meeting Room

In a job interview, an employer usually wants to learn a few basic things about  you: your experience, your goals, and your personality. How they find out this information can vary quite a bit, though. It's useful to expose yourself to some of the kinds of questions that interviewers...


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