Advice for learning vocabulary

Learning new words is probably the most important part of learning a language. Of course grammar is important, but without words you have nothing, right? So, it's very important to dedicate time to vocabulary!

What are some good ways to remember new words and include them in our daily speech? What ways are there to remember new language?

Here are a few pieces of advice:


Use an English to English dictionary

If you use English to help you understand the meaning of the word, it will help you remember it because you need to think more about the word. If you use a translator, you will focus more on the translation and there is a higher chance you will forget the word. So, please avoid it - and please, please, please avoid Google Translate! Very often, translators will not choose a direct translation of a word, they will change it so something different that might sound more natural in your language, but not in English!


Keep a vocabulary notebook

Having a place to keep your new vocabulary is useful as it will provide opportunities for practice (see below). You can organise your notebook into topic, for example: vocabulary for work, vocabulary for the classroom, vocabulary for the body. You can draw pictures and label them.


Write down examples of how to use the word in your notebook

When you learn a new word it is important to understand how to use the word, is it a noun or an adjective? Is it formal or informal? Is it spoken or written? Can you use it with all words or just a small number of words? How can you use it in a sentence?

The more you think about a word, the better you will remember it! 


Example:  crucial

Crucial (adjective) 

Meaning: very important

Use: a formal word

Collocations: a crucial meeting, a crucial decision, a crucial player in the team

Sentences: It is crucial for success that you practise every day. 


Try to use the vocabulary often

The more you use it, the better you will remember it.

- Think of examples in your mind

- Use the word in class or when speaking/writing

- Try to notice where and in what situations this word might be used

- Every week, review your vocabulary notebook and test yourself