Remembering English Vocabulary, Improving Your Writing, and the Difference Between Bring and Take (AJ #3)

Ask Jack Episode 3

(Note: If you want to reach a high level of English, click here.)

This is episode three of Ask Jack, the video series where I answer YOUR questions about English.

In this episode, I answer questions about remembering vocabulary, improving writing skills, and the difference between bring and take.

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Hello, this is Jack from with episode 3 of Ask Jack. Now, this is a free video series that I’m putting on YouTube where I answer your questions about learning English and the English language. Now, if you want to know more about me you can click the link now and watch a quick video that I’ve made and also read about my background and about my teaching. But you’re ready for episode 3, then continue watching because here is question 1.

Wael asks: how do I learn new words? Thank you for your question Wael. Now, there’s quite a lot to talk about here and I’ve already made a video on how you can remember new words and phrases and I go into depth in that video on the this, so I recommend that you watch that as well. But in a nutshell, as a summary, it’s really important to know that you don’t need to learn every new word or phrase that you see. So make this learning relevant to you; relevant to your interests; relevant to your learning at this stage.

Now, the second thing is that context is really important, so always learn a new word or a new phrase within strong context. Now, this is the context of the overall situation so the word or a phrase might come from a TV series or a conversation or blog post. So, make sure that you’re learning within that context,and I also recommend learning this new word or phrase within the context of a sentence, because this is going to tell you so much about this word and tell you how you can use it correctly.

So, you don’t have to learn every new word and phrase you come across – and I think that’s a really important point – but the ones that you do you want to learn, learn it in context and also get repetition
’cause repetition is going to help you remember this word and phrase and be able to use it over the long-term.

Now, a couple ways that you can get repetition… the first way is just to read similar things all the time, okay, and I call this narrow reading and listening, and this is, erm, a very popular method too. So, basically if you’re wanting to learn new words and phrases related to diet and exercise, then read a lot about diet and exercise; watch programs on diet and exercise; listen to podcasts on this subject too because words and phrases are going to get repeated in a natural way.

Now, the second way you can learn new words and phrases through repetition is doing something like this sentence method. And this is where you use digital flashcards so that you can easily remember this new vocabulary. And there’s more details about the sentence method in the show note, so check that out.

Pari from India asks: how can I improve my writing? So, Pari, to improve your writing it’s important just like I talked about when I answered the question about improving speaking, to improve your overall English too because everything that you do in English is going to help the different skills.

But to be more specific, and to specifically help your writing, then you need to write more. Writing more is really going to make a big difference to your writing but don’t just write anything write things, again, that are relevant to you and interesting to you, and take your time with it too. Don’t feel like you have to rush it. Now, the difference, or big difference between writing and speaking, is that when you’re speaking you have to speak quickly, you’re responding to people… and you’re interacting with people, but when you’re writing this is done in your own time, so you can take your time with it; look up the correct grammar and words and the phrases that you want to use. I also recommend getting feedback on your writing too, because getting this feedback is going to help you improve; it’s going to help you expand your writing and also, obviously, it’s going to help you make less mistakes, so getting feedback is really important as well.

Now, there’s something else you can do, and this is where you take writing that you like and simply copy it. Just the act of writing has been proven to help writing. So, that’s something else you can do. Check out the show notes for a detailed description of this latest method but, generally speaking, write more, get feedback, and you’re going to improve.

Victoria from Russia asks: what’s the difference between bring and take?

This is a great question Victoria and I see lots of learners make mistakes when trying to use bring and take. Now, the general rule depends on your point of reference in relation to the action and an example is really going to help you with this [Example] now my wife and I are visiting the U.S. in a few weeks tovisit my parents, and when I’m with my wife so this is me this is my wife I say to her remember to take an umbrella because we’re going to go to England and it rains a lot there, soremember to take an umbrella, however, my parents are already in Europe and they tell my wife, so this is my wife now and these are my parents remember to bring an umbrella so they’re already there so they using bring.

We’re not not there so we’re using take. Hope that makes sense I’m gonna more examples in the show notes so please check those out. Also, there’s a few exceptions to this rule but, generally speaking, this is how we use it.

Now, my question for this video is this: what three things that you should always take to your English class? What three things that you should always take to English class?

So, thanks for watching this episode and see you next time!

Q1: How can I remember new words and phrases?

There is no need to try and remember all new words and phrases that you come across. I always say that making things relevant to you will help, and it’s the same for vocabulary.

But the vocabulary that you choose to learn, do this in context. This is for both the context of the overall situation and the context of the sentence. From there, it’s time to get repetition. You can do this through narrow reading and listening and through the sentence method. Another way is to use The Sentence Method.

Q2: How can I improve my writing?

To improve your writing, you need to write more. The advantage of writing is that you can take your time; there is no need to rush. I also recommend that you get feedback on your writing so that you can learn from your mistakes.

And another method to try is copying others. Now, I’m not talking about copying other people in exams, but to read an article that you like, and then copy this. Relax while you do it and don’t analyze too much. Just get into a flow.

Q3: What’s the difference between bring and take?

The difference between “bring” and “take” is dependent upon your perspective. For example, my wife and I are going to Europe to visit my parents. I say to Kate, “Remember to take your umbrella.” My parents say to Kate, “Remember to bring your umbrella.”

Another example is this: I’m hosting a party on Saturday and I say to my friend, “Could you bring some chairs? We don’t have enough.” My friend then says to his wife, “We need to take our chairs to Jack’s party.”

There are some exceptions to this, but the general rule is strong. It is quite similar to the difference between go and come.

What to Do Now:

1. Answer the question below: What three things should you take to English class?
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  • nur

    I have to take three things which are my boring English books,a pencil and my body to my English school.