Problem 1: Speaking slow with pauses because you can’t think of the right word.
Problem 2: Not being able to fully express yourself in English.
Problem 3: Not feeling confident because you don’t enough words.
There is research to prove that it takes about 15-20 exposures to learn a word deeply. Deeply means being able to use it and apply it in your daily life. It’s actually not that difficult to do – you just have to create situations for yourself where you can use your new words. I always tell my students:
“Use It or Lose It”
The more you use a word, the more you will remember it. And the opposite is the same…the more you don’t use a word, the more likely you will forget it! See, students spend more time studying a textbook than going out into the real world and USING their English. Practicing a little each day is the key to success!
1. STAY AWAY from vocabulary lists!
Word lists are NOT the best way to learn because you will just try to memorize all of them. Memorizing word lists can be overwhelming and stressful there is no way you can apply a long list of new words from the beginning. Most English words have many different definitions that can be used in many different ways so the goal is to learn how to use each word DEEPLY.
Here’s the trick – pick and choose
ONLY 2 or 3 words
and practice using them repeatedly.
Once you feel comfortable using the words, move on to another 2-3 words. This is how you increase your vocabulary – little by little. AND you won’t stress out about it!
2. Learn Word Families.
Word families are many words under the same topic or situation. So for example, choose a place like, your favorite restaurant. What do you eat, see and experience there? There are so many words and even phrases you can write down.
- verbs (actions) you do at the restaurant
- nouns (objects) you find at the restaurant
- adjectives for describing the restaurant (food, interior, exterior)
- phrases when you ask about the specials, order your food, etc
- and much, much more!
3. Write down new words and USE it immediately
The act of writing is more active than reading so you are more likely to remember a new word if you write it down. Buy a notebook and write down these things:
- the word, definition and situation you use it in
- draw a picture of the word (if you can)
- 1 example sentence that YOU make
- 1 example sentence from a dictionary (link to another post)
If you connect new words to something related to your life, it’ll be much easier to remember! Don’t forget to review your notebook every day so you don’t forget.
Remember, learn a few words deeply by using them in your daily life. Little by little each and every day is the best way to increase your vocabulary. Good luck!