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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...

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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...

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What's the difference between "jail" and "prison"?

Do you know the difference between the words "jail" and "prison"? Learning the difference can teach you not only about these words, but about other words related to crime, courts, and punishment as well.

The meaning of "jail"

If you get arrested, the police take you to a jail. Jails are operated...

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What do you do?

“What do you do?” is a question that you’ll often hear when you meet new people. When English speakers ask this question, they’re asking what your job is. So describing your job is important.

If you have an easily-recognized job, you can just tell people the name of your...

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English phrases for gift-giving

gifts

Gift or present?

The words "gift" and "present" mean the same thing, but which one to use depends on the occasion. These are the most common collocations (word combinations) for each holiday:

a Christmas present

a Birthday present

a wedding present

a Valentine's Day gift

a Mother's day...

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Idiomatic English

What is Idiomatic English?

Using "idiomatic" English means speaking and writing in a normal way.

This is a little different from "correct" English. It's possible to make English sentences that are completely grammatically correct, but they're not idiomatic.

For example, consider the following...

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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...

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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...