Sunday, January 11, 2009

Reaping Richer Vocabulary I

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English is now the language of global commerce and is spoken in every corner of the world. Being able to understand words used commonly by native speakers is essential for good communication.

Luckily for English learners, many vocabulary items come in the form of “chunks” or collections of words. By learning these chunks you will be able to understand native speakers better and also sound more natural in your day to day conversation.

These chunks can be grouped into three main categories:

(1) Collocations – a group of words that are commonly used together, for example: “human rights, presidential elections, and unemployment rate”.

(2) Idioms – phrases that cannot be understood from their literal meaning, for example “It’s raining cats and dogs.” or “It’s a piece of cake.”

(3) Phrasal verbs – these are groups of two or three words (combining a verb with a particle) that can only make sense in a sentence when they are taken as a single entity. Examples are: Drop off, profit from and compensate for.

Tomorrow we will examine key tactics to reap a richer vocabulary.

If you are in Buenos Aires and want English lessons personally designed to fit your needs, please call Professor Winn at 1160 461 342 or send an email to

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