Acquiring new vocabulary is a huge part of learning English.
There is no magic key to unlock all the new words and phrases there is in English.
We would love it if there was, but unfortunately it does take some time and lot of effort.
But don’t let this put you off.
There are certainly tips, methods and useful practises that you can apply to your English study time that can help you learn and acquire new English vocabulary much more easily.
In this blog post we are going to share our practical advice on how you can improve and expand your English vocabulary.
1. Set a clear intention to search for and find new vocabulary.
The first thing you should do is set an intention to look for and listen for vocabulary.
You need to be listening to or reading in English on a daily basis.
How do you expect to find new vocabulary without doing much listening or reading?
Set an intention to do all you can to help you come across new words in different types of context.
The students that make the most time for reading and listening are much more likely to acquire new vocabulary.
You are going to encounter lots of new words and phrases if you follow our advice, so you need to be recording your vocabulary in an organised way.
So, our next tip is to be organised with vocabulary.
2. Record new vocabulary in a clear and organised way
There are so many different topics you can explore and that means that there is also a lot of vocabulary you can learn.
It’s important that you keep a record of any new vocabulary that you find.
The best way in our opinion is to record vocabulary under each topic heading.
This way when you need to look back on this vocabulary you can easily locate it and you will then be able to use it effectively.
If you are making the effort to record vocabulary in an organised way, you will notice that you are much better at using it at a later date when it’s needed.
You could also use the app Quizlet which is great for recording vocabulary in an organised way.
3. Learn phrases not just words.
Learning individual words at a time is not the best practice. This is because it will take much longer to acquire a huge amount of vocabulary.
Instead you should be learning the language in chunks or as set phrases.
This then helps speed up the vocabulary learning process and makes it much easier to use it in a whole sentence and phrase.
To learn more about learning vocabulary in this way take a look at this article here.
4. Mix up your English practice.
Do you find that you read at lot of English materials such as blogs, articles, web pages etc?
Reading is a great way to develop vocabulary and we defiantly recommend it as a way to encounter new words and phrases. However, reading all the time may become a little boring and repetitive.
What we recommend is to change your practice from reading to listening for vocabulary and constantly changing between the two methods regularly.
Not only does this make it more interesting, but it’s also going to help you acquire lots more new vocabulary.
One week you could read lots of English materials and the next week change it to listening for vocabulary.
5. Constantly find ways to use your new vocabulary.
We have a saying in English, if you don’t use it, you will lose it.
This is so true when it comes to learning and remembering new vocabulary.
When you have found new words and phrases and recorded them in a clear and organised way, you must then find ways to use it in your own sentences.
We recommend that you use it as many different ways as possible and see if you can create a number of different sentences with it.
Here’s an example;
Let’s say you have learnt the phrase ‘let go of something’ This means to no longer be attached to something.
We could use it like this;
“John knew that if he didn’t let go of his addiction to smoking cigarettes, he wouldn’t be able to run in the London Marathon”.
Or we could say. It was hard for John to let go of smoking, as he had done it since he was a young adult.
And here’s one more example.
“Letting go of smoking is a good idea if you want to be fit and healthy and avoid disease".
So, when you learn a new word or phrases make sure you use it, or risk forgetting it.
There really is no point you actively seeking new vocabulary and then you’re not going to use it.
Bonus Tip. Keep it relevant and enjoyable to you.
We know it’s important for you to improve your English and acquire lots of new vocabulary.
Many of you require English to help you succeed in your own pursuits.
So, yes it must be taken seriously, but you still need to have a fun approach to learning, and the same goes for acquiring new vocabulary.
Don’t pressure yourself into finding and using new vocabulary, obviously do your best, but make it fun and enjoyable or you will not sustain it for long.
Search for words that are relevant to you and that interest you. If you’re a fan of sports, then seek sports vocabulary and expressions.
If you like art, then seek out words that can help you express yourself more in this subject.
You get the idea.
So there you have our five top tips to help you expand and improve your English vocabulary.
Follow these five tips and a start seeing a huge improvement to your vocabulary skills.
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Thanks for your support.
Matthew & Becky
Matthew & Becky
Native British Teachers
Online English Skills
We help English learners take their English skills to the next level.