While learning new vocabulary is very important in any language, it is not so easy to remember all the new words. In this short article, we will look at three main tips for learning English vocabulary.
Tip #1: Read, Read, Read
Reading is not just important for picking up new words; it will put these words into context, meaning you will learn a new word and also understand how it can be used. If you read and come across a word that you don’t understand, get into the habit of using a dictionary (something like the Cambridge online dictionary is helpful when reading online) to look up the meaning and uses of the word. Even on the Kindle app, you can easily press on the word you don’t know and a dictionary-like function will appear, giving you definitions of the word and even an example sentence. If you still don’t understand, you can use the translate function, too.
Tip #2: Learn Groups of Words
Another tip for learning English vocabulary is to not just learn one single word at a time. It can be helpful to learn and practice words that “travel” together. If you remember a phrase that goes with that word, it is easier to remember how to use the word in at least one sentence. For example, rather than just remembering and learning the word “envy,” learn “green with envy” (the idiom meaning to be very jealous of something or someone) or “feel a sharp pang of envy”.
Tip #3: Write It Down
Don’t just read a word, repeat it and try to use it orally in sentences. Open an English vocabulary journal or file on your computer and make a note of new words. Write down the part of speech (like ‘envy’ can be a noun and verb), the definition, and an example sentence or two. Also, make note of any idioms or sayings that go with that word. You can then easily go back every day or once a week and add a new sentence, especially for those words you don’t often use in conversation.
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About the Author
Denine Walters is currently a freelance writer, editor/proofreader and ESL teacher. Previously, she taught online English lessons to students from all around the world and, before that, she lived and taught English to young learners in Taiwan.
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