Words are the building blocks of language. If you want to improve your English language skills, you need to work on your vocabulary.
Unfortunately, many English students find it difficult to improve their vocabulary. Sometimes, it's because they focus too much on grammar. Sometimes, it's because they forget the new words they learn.
There are better ways to learn!
When it comes to improving your vocabulary, there are better ways to learn! Here are some helpful tips.
1. Use spaced repetition. This is a learning technique that helps you remember information better. Basically, you need to review the information regularly, at spaced intervals, until it enters your long-term memory.
A simple way to practice spaced repetition is by using flashcards. Write the words you want to remember on one side of the card. Write their meanings on the other side.
If you identify the word on a card correctly, put it in a pile for less frequent review (like three times a week). If you fail to identify the word, put the card in a pile for more frequent review (like once a day).
There are also free mobile apps featuring flashcards that use spaced repetition. Check out what's available on Google Play or the App Store.
2. Study vocabulary in context. Many English learners try to memorize random word lists. But this isn't a very effective way to improve your vocabulary. Research shows that you learn words best when you study them in context.
The simplest way to do this is to group words around topics or themes. For example, you can make a list of words for different colors and put them under the theme "Clothing." You can practice using the words in simple sentences related to clothing.
Colors: red, blue, yellow
My shirt is red.
Her dress is blue.
His cap is yellow.
It's also best to memorize complete sentences instead of single words. To remember the different forms of the word "go," for example, you can memorize sentences like these:
I go to school every day.
I went to the mall yesterday.
I will go to the library tomorrow.
In the sentence above, you have the word "go" in different forms. You also have time markers that put the word "go" in the present, past, and future. As an added bonus, you also have words for different places.
3. Put a personal touch on your sentences. Studies show that it's easier to remember something if you have a personal connection to it.
When you compose sentences to memorize, don't make it generic. Include a personal detail, especially one that's important to you.
Study the difference:
The book is on the shelf. (generic)
My favorite book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, is on the shelf. (with personal detail)
Replace Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with your favorite book. See how the detail makes its easier to remember?
We hope you found these tips useful! Check our blog for more tips on how to improve your vocabulary.
For more tips on how to speak English fluently, schedule a lesson with our online English teachers.