Learning new English words is essential not only for the exam, but to help your speech sound more natural and fluent. The wrong word, or word form, dropped by mistake into a conversation can be at best confusing, and at worst embarrassing.
Secret to success!
Whether in the classroom or in everyday life the printed page is a treasure trove of vocabulary of all types. If your teacher sets a reading exercise for homework don’t simply answer the task questions, use the opportunity to look up any words that you don’t recognise and pay attention to other structures such as verb/noun patterns, collocations etc.
Vocabulary can be split into certain groups, and keeping a written record of these groups will really help when it comes to revision for an exam or any occasion when you need to communicate in English.
Keep groups simple so it is easier to remember them, and group them as follows.
General – Topic based nouns/verbs/phrasal verbs – examples,
Topic – Technology, online forum, download, look up etc.
General – object nouns – examples, power tool, blusher, waistband etc.
General – phrasal verbs/idioms/collocations – examples, set out, talk of the town, bitter disappointment etc
Word Families – examples, memory (n), memorise (v), memorable (adj.) etc.
Verb Patterns – examples, depend on + ing., decide + inf., used to + ing., etc.
Noun Patterns – examples, difference between, contrast to, etc.
Connectors/Linkers – examples, in spite of + ing/noun, nevertheless + ing etc.
All of these types are found in all forms of written English, but to find as many new words as possible read different types of text, for example scientific articles, fashion magazine articles, narrative fiction, newspapers stories, technical instructions, etc. In the classroom most reading exercises are taken from a wide variety of sources, but you can help yourself and use the internet which has billions of texts, for free.
How to quickly check the meaning of a word, phrasal verb or idiom in English
Very easily, simply enter the word followed by definition into Google and you should be given not only the definition but also synonyms, antonyms etc.
For an even easier way to check the meaning of a general noun simply type the word into Google search followed by the word images.