Monday, January 26, 2009

Top 6 Vocab Tips

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Tips for Improving Your Vocabulary

Tip #1: Read, Read, Read!
Most vocabulary words are learned from context. The more words you're exposed to, the better vocabulary you will have. If you still do not recognize the word, write it down and look it up later in the dictionary (see Tip #5).

Research shows that the vast majority of words are learned from context. To improve your context skills pay close attention to how words are used.

Tip #2: Practice, practice, practice. Learning a word won't help very much if you promptly forget it. Research shows that it takes from 10 to 20 repetitions to really make a word part of your vocabulary. It helps to write the word - both the definition and a sentence you make up using the word - perhaps on an index card that can later be reviewed. As soon as you learn a new word, start using it.

Tip #3: Make up as many associations and connections as possible. Say the word aloud to activate your auditory memory. Relate the word to words you already know.

Tip #4: Use mnemonics ( memory tricks). For example, consider the word EGREGIOUS (extremely bad). Think EGG REACH US - imagine we've made a mistake so bad that they are throwing eggs at us and a rotten EGG REACHes US. Such funny little word pictures will help you remember what words mean, AND they are fun to make up. Also, find out which learning style suits you best. Everyone learns differently!

Tip #5: Get in the habit of looking up words you don't know. If you have a dictionary program on your computer, like Random House Webster's Unabridged Dictionary with CD-ROM Keep it open and handy. Or compile a word list and plow through the dictionary for definitions. You may find more words you like as well!

That idea leads up to our Tip #6: Be a word lover! - A good vocabulary learner loves words and is fascinated by their construction, word origin, and usage.

You can always call upon an English coach to improve your vocabulary, too!

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

Anyone interested in English-language services or translations (Sp/Fr/Pt>En) may send an email to for a prompt evaluation.

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