Frequently asked questions
Why should I use PhraseCat?
PhraseCat saves you lesson preparation time and makes your teaching more efficient and diverse. It also makes you a better teacher, as your students get grammar hard-wired into their brains and start using it in a natural and fluent manner. PhraseCat can assist you with teaching both one-on-one or in a group – where students can get inspired by each other and learn from their peers.
Can I try the phrase selection feature before I buy a licence?
The ability to select specific phrases for practice is the only paid feature of PhraseCat. You can try it for free for 7 days. In fact, you can try it even for 14 days because you can try each of the Teacher’s Licence and the Learner’s Licence for 7 days.
Which licence should I choose?
It depends on your needs. Basically, if you are not a teacher (i.e. you do not plan to give lessons), the cheaper Learner’s Licence is sufficient. If you are planning to give lessons to other people, you will need a Teacher’s Licence. Instead of getting a Teacher’s Licence, you can incentivise your students to get Learner’s Licences as they are cheaper. If your learners have a Learner’s Licence, you do not need to have a licence to teach them. Licences are described in more detail here.
Is 1100 phrases a lot?
Let us estimate it in teaching time. Depending on the learning ability of your students, 10 phrases should fill in about half an hour of your teaching time. This means that 1100 phrases comprise teaching material that is equivalent to about 55 hours of teaching time. Factor in repetition of what has already been studied, and you can count with about 100 hours of teaching time or more.
Does PhraseCat use the British or the American language version?
With a few exceptions at the Advanced level, the grammatical structures that are presented on PhraseCat are common to both versions of the language. With that being said, British spelling and vocabulary is used in our phrases and in answers provided by our Expert Bots. As for spellchecking the students’ input, British, American or both spellings can be selected in Settings. If both variations are selected, either British or American spelling will pass the check.
Does PhraseCat bring anything new to online English learning?
We believe it does. Unlike other learning platforms that have recently emerged and offer learning through films or by chatting with native speakers, PhraseCat aims to reinforce fundamental grammar skills that are often hard to master. There seemed to be a gap in online teaching/learning tools targeting this area, which is now filled by our platform.
Do students need a certain knowledge of English to take advantage of PhraseCat?
In order to understand grammar explanations at the Beginner level, it is best for students to review such basic grammar as: what an infinitive is; how to put verbs in the ‑ing form; how to make the plural form of nouns; the difference between countable and uncountable nouns and between vowel and consonant sounds.
In addition to what is recommended for the Beginner level, for the Elementary level it is best if the student knows how to use determiners and articles.
What about students who are not very creative? Can they learn without making up anything new?
Yes, they can. Such students may simply re-type submissions made by our Expert Bots. The resulting phrases are 100% correct and to the point, and learning them through repetition will greatly improve such students’ command of English. Our Expert Bots Gram and Mar do not mind if you just copy them, they are there to help you.
How do I practise with Expert Bots?
Our Expert Bots Gram and Mar will always complete the phrase in a correct manner. They come in especially handy when you study on your own, either by practising random phrases or by selecting phrases for yourself. They also play an important inspirational role in groups taught by a teacher.
You submit your phrases in the same way. The only difference is that you cannot correct the bots, and you will not get upvotes for your submissions from them, as bots have no emotions and therefore cannot like or dislike your phrases. But they will thank you if you like theirs!
What languages are supported?
Teachers and tutors teaching in other languages can use the English version, translating the rule and the phrase where necessary. If you like PhraseCat and would like us to adapt it for your language, please let us know using the feedback form.
Is there a PhraseCat app?
PhraseCat can now be accessed on desktop computers and also on mobile phones or tablets via a web browser.
When viewing PhraseCat in the portrait orientation on a small-screen device, you will only be able to use the functionality of the Student view, i.e. you can practise random phrases yourself and study as a student with a teacher. The Teacher view simply does not fit on a small screen, but this should not be a problem, as it is hard to imagine a teacher giving an online lesson while commuting.
Now that you know everything about PhraseCat, it’s time to practise!