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How to build vocabulary ?


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  • Head Tutor

Thank you for starting this interesting chat topic. Here is what I think:

If you want to be able to actively use the vocabulary that you learn in your own writing and speaking, you must learn it in context and as part of a phrase, not in isolation or through translation. The best way to access vocabulary like this is by reading and listening.

The choice of what you read and listen to depends entirely on what type of vocabulary you need in your daily life and your interests. Thanks to the Internet, you now have access to written and spoken English on any topic under the sun.

One thing we must never forget if we have learned new words through reading is to check their pronunciation in an online dictionary. Never guess how a word in English is pronounced!

I'd love to read everyone's opinion, experience and suggestions on how to expand one's vocabulary range.

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  • Minoo pinned this topic

I am preparing for aptitude test these days. I am finding very difficult to memorize synonyms and antonyms for this purpose. Which are the best books for increasing vocabulary for this purpose. Or which are the best website for reading such kind of material. Thanks in advance

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Also if is not always easy... I really like to see series on Netflix in English, with English Sub-titles. He help me to learn a lot of new vocabulary.

Is even good to translate the music that i like. I use often this website, its very easy to use and give me the possibility to translate with the original song beside. Take a look http://lyricstranslate.com/

Good luck, Bye 

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  • Head Tutor

Thank you for your contribution, Pier.

Indeed, it is great to use movies and songs that you like to learn new expressions. I would like to add a couple of suggestions:

Choose movies you have already seen in your mother tongue and really liked, and watch them three or four times, first with English subtitles, and then two or three more times without subtitles with one or two weeks between each viewing. You will be amazed at how much more you understand each time even without subtitles. Remember that if you have the subtitles on all the time, your listening comprehension does not improve as much, so limit the subtitles only to the first time you watch a movie.

Same goes for your favourite songs. Learn the lyrics (with some translation if necessary), and then listen to them again and again, and sing along with them.

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I think there are two main categories of vocabulary words: the concrete and physical objects that you can see, and "abstract words" such as verbs, adjectives, adverbs, ...

I find the first category  the easiest to memorize, You just have to search a picture on the internet to illustrate the word, And we can even make flashcards with them. We can organise them by topic groups.

The second category is more difficult to keep in mind. As far as I'm concerned, one of the best way to master new words is making up my own sentences with those words and try to use them. It's good to write down the sentences, and say them out loud as Minoo said. 

This technique is also useful to study any grammar point (especially the English tenses).

And I'm going to  try your suggestion Minoo for getting rid of English  subtitles when I watch a film in original version...

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  • Head Tutor

This is a great piece of advice from Phil to construct your own sentences with new words that you have learned and structures that you want to make reflexive, and then repeat them out loud.

I have included many common vocabulary items and expressions in the grammar exercises on the platform so that every time you're practising a specific structure, you're also expanding your range of verbs, nouns, adjectives and adverbs. However, it is vital that you expand your vocabulary in areas you're interested in through reading and listening (as I have suggested above), and the method Phil suggests is the best one to make sure you can use these new words and expressions reflexively. 

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