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Finding a different way to explain tenses

I'm working on writing some posts to explain tenses. (Like the past tense, past progressive, present perfect, and all those lovely terms you learned in school). Of course, there's a ton of information out there already which explains these ideas. But I have to figure it out and explain it in my...

Why you shouldn't focus on the differences between words and phrases.

People really seem to like it when I point out differences between words or phrases. This morning I sent out a Twitter message about my recent post, "I'll just be glad when it's over." The message I sent out got a lot of response - people re-tweeted it and wrote back about it, and about twice as...

Watch out for unnatural translations!

The other day I saw some discussion on a language forum about a project called "Tatoeba". This is a site where users are creating multi-language translations of example sentences. If you register for the site, you can write translations of sentences from one language into another. I signed up,...

How to memorize the phrases

I keep going on and on about how important it is to memorize phrases and other pieces of language in order to become fluent. But I realize that I haven't written much on how you memorize something.

Here's the secret to memorizing phrases: TRY to remember them.

It sounds so simple, and in fact it...

Sometimes rules don't help.

The other day on Lang-8, I answered a post about when to use "it" vs. "that". I think the distiction this poster was asking about is the type of difference that

  • takes a long and complicated explanation
  • has a lot of exceptions to the rule
  • doesn't cause much confusion when used differently from...