This post was submitted by Kara Cunningham, teacher at TLG London.
There are so many words in the English language that sometimes you may ask yourself – how can I possibly remember them? Here are a few tips to help you and make remembering vocabulary fun and easy.
Keep a vocabulary notebook
It’s really important that you write new words down so that you can revise them later. You are likely to forget them if you just read the word and don’t keep a record of it.
It’s also a good idea to carry your notebook around with you so that anytime you hear or see a new word you can keep a note of it and look it up later in a dictionary.
Write down collocations
Our brain works in marvellous ways and tends to remember chunks of words better than individual words on their own. Some words in English naturally go together such as heavy rain. It would be incorrect to say big rain or large rain. What other words naturally match with heavy? There’s heavy traffic, heavy smoker, heavy sleeper and the list goes on.
By learning these 'chunks' not only will you remember vocabulary better but it will also help you to sound more like a natural English speaker. You can also use a collocations dictionary to extend your vocabulary. A useful one is the Oxford Collocations Dictionary, which you can find online.
Mind map your words
To help your brain remember connections between words, why not make your notebook more visual? Every time you write a new word, extend it as if it were a web of words.
For example, if we use the word make:
-> A mistake
-> An effort
Make it fun!
Draw pictures next to the word. Play a game with your friend where one of you draws a picture and the other guesses what it is.
Take turns to say the definition of a word to your friend and they guess the word. Make word cards and carry them with you so you can practise wherever you are. Do crosswords, puzzles, and vocabulary games online.
Read, read, and read some more
The more you see a word the easier it will be to remember it and use it naturally. Read novels, newspapers, magazines – anything you can get your hands on!
By reading a wide variety of texts your vocabulary will be much more extensive and colourful. Most of all have fun!
If you're interested in improving your English, learning new vocabulary, and getting tips from our fantastic teachers, why not check out TLG's General English course?