Do you use word lists to learn new vocabulary? If so, find out how to use those lists more effectively to improve your English vocabulary! In this blog post, I'm going to show you two different techniques to make the most out of your vocabulary lists!
The simplest, but also most basic way to learn a new word or expression is to add it to a word list. However, to really learn a new word, having a vocabulary list is not enough, because it won’t help you to remember the new word.
Use the words in context
So, in addition to creating a word list, make it a habit to use the new word or expression in a sentence. You could either make up your own sentence (and have it checked by your teacher) or you could use the original sentence from the article / book etc. where you first read about it.
In English, context is really important! Because a seemingly simple word like “table” isn’t just a piece of furniture with a flat top and four legs.
A table is also a list of facts, information or numbers organized in rows and columns.
So yes, context is everything!
But don’t stop there. Try to use the new vocabulary in a conversation or in writing as often as possible, to make it stick.
Bonus tip: Don't just copy and paste the new words and sentences to your vocabulary list! To help you memorize the new words a handwritten or typed list works best, because handwriting improves your memory. Whilst you're writing, your brain is already processing the new information.
Learn about word families / word classes
A slightly more advanced technique I usually recommend to my exam prep students is to also learn about word families.
Words which share a common base or root word to which different prefixes and suffixes are added, are called a word family. Those additions may change the meaning of a word as well as its word class (noun, verb, adjective ect.)
This is a very helpful technique if you prepare for a language exam and it will help you to kill two birds with one stone, because you’re not just learning one new word, but lots of new words connected to the original word.
attentive / inattentive (adjective)
So, having a word list is great, but it's just the tip of the iceberg!
How do you learn new words?
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