How to Learn English Vocabulary
English Vocabulary Lessons
How to Look Up New English Vocabulary
When you see a new word or phrase that you don’t understand, I recommend you do the following:
Decide whether you need to know this new vocabulary
Like I said before, you don’t need to learn all new vocabulary you see. If it is relevant to you, then continue with the following step.s
Use a dictionary to find the definition
It’s great practice to look up (phrasal verb) new words and phrases in an English dictionary. Here is one that I recommend.
Once you have found the word or phrase, read the definition and make sure you understand what it means. The context of where you found it is HUGELY important. This helps you understand in which situations and how it is used.
Listen to the word too. Most online dictionaries come with this feature:
Then, read further examples to help you better understand what it means.
Translate the vocabulary
This sometimes makes a big difference. But you need to get the correct translation. A poorly translated word can be very confusing.
Here is the tool I recommend. It doesn’t have a lot of languages, but it does a very good job. If it doesn’t include your native language, search on Google.com for “best English translation [insert language]”
Another way to find the translation is to search for, “[insert word] in [insert language].” For example, “scrumptious in Arabic.”
The next stage is to commit the vocabulary to your long-term memory. That is what you’ve already learned above.
The Difference Between Sentences, Phrases, and Idioms
Before I talk about the definition, I want you to know that knowing the difference between words, phrases, and idioms isn’t important.
What’s important is that you internalize the meaning and know how to use new vocabulary.
With that being said, here are the definitions of these terms.
Here is a definition of a sentence:
“A sentence is a group of words that makes complete sense, contains a main verb, and begins with a capital letter.”
Here are some examples:
- The dog ate my homework.
- I like him.
- I hope you have a great day.
Not typically a complete sentence, a phrase is a meaningful sequence of words. Here are some examples:
An idiom is a phrase that can’t be understood literally. You can’t use the individual words to understand what it means.
Here are some examples:
Idioms are also phrases.
Learning Advanced Vocabulary and Slang
You will probably think that using advanced vocabulary makes you sound, well, advanced.
However, this isn’t the case.
People will think you have a higher level if you use the right words, in the right way, at the right time.
For example, it’s better to say: “Hello, how are you?” in the right situation and with good pronunciation rather than something like, “What’s up, bro?” in the wrong situation and without good pronunciation.
You might think that the first one is too simple. But simple is good. Use vocabulary and sentences that fit the situation. It doesn’t matter if it’s beginner or advanced English. If it’s right, then use it.
This is true for slang too. I added the word bro because a lot of English learners use this in the wrong situations.
A good rule for using slang is this: know exactly what it means and how and when it used before using it yourself.
Again, you don’t need to use every new word or phrase you learn. Some vocabulary is best to stay passive. This is definitely true for a lot of slang terms.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use slang. If you know how to use it, go for it! But be careful because slang is often sensitive and used for very specific situations.