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English vocabulary on Scrabble board game

Learn English Vocabulary in 10 Easy Steps

Working with English as a foreign language can be a bit overwhelming. English is filled with so many words that it can make fluency seem impossible. Don’t let the stress of diving into a new language get to you. Focus on the baby steps instead of the big picture, and you’ll end up making strides.

Vocabulary acquisition can be a challenge, but if you take each word or group of words one step at a time, you will see improvement in your comprehension. Here you have ten easy steps to getting that difficult vocab ingrained in your head.

  1. Identify the word and its meaning. This is the more or less obvious first step to vocabulary acquisition. Figure out what word you want to remember, and pair it with its meaning.

  2. Pair the word with a visual aid. Everyone is a different type of learner, and covering all of the bases is never a bad thing. Pair your word with a picture so that when you see the word, you remember the picture and ultimately remember the meaning.

  3. Write out the word and its meaning multiple times. Writing by hand helps you remember, as does repetition. The more times you write the word, the more likely you’ll remember its meaning and spelling.

  4. Listen to the word being spoken. This is a key step to learning to speak English. You can have endless vocabulary stored in your head, but if you have never heard it spoken aloud, then you won’t be able to speak it aloud.

  5. Repeat the word aloud. As previously mentioned, repetition is the golden word for remembering vocab. The more you use it, the more you’ll remember it. This time let your mouth do the muscle memory and let your ear play aid as you repeat the word as you’ve just heard aloud.

  6. Write a sentence containing the word so that you have another way to remember the meaning and where it fits in a sentence. Be sure to check with a native or fluent speaker so that you are sure that the grammar is correct.

  7. Listen to the sentence being spoken by an English speaker so that you hear how it is spoken naturally.

  8. Read the sentence aloud. Mimicking the native speaker will help you with your pronunciation skills.

  9. Use online exercises to help you see how well you have actually learned the material and test your ability to use the word in real world situations.

  10. Engage in conversations using the vocabulary you have recently acquired. Exercising your newfound word set will help you get accustomed to using it in real life conversation.

Vocabulary doesn’t have to be scary if you take your time and follow the steps above. Remember that it’s not impossible—it’s a challenge.

Photo Credit: David Goehring
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