Building Up Your Vocabulary

The question I hear the most from students is “how can I learn more vocabulary?”  Here are some tips to help you.

1. Read, read, read as much as you can!  Most schools have graded readers from A1 to C2 that you can practice with.  If you don’t find these books very interesting go out and buy one that appeals to you.  Charity shops usually have a range of books for 1 or 2 euros.

2. Reading doesn’t end with books.  If you’re watching a TV show with subtitles make note of any new vocabulary and the context it is used in.

3. Record vocabulary in a better way.  I always recommend that students record their vocabulary ONLY in English and make notes to help them remember it!  If you include at least one synonym and one antonym for every word, you triple (x3) the vocabulary you learn!

4. DO NOT TRANSLATE- If you don’t know a word do not translate from your first lanaguage.  Firstly, because a lot of the time the word or phrase will be different in English so translating is a waste of time.  Secondly, it gives you the chance to improve your fluency by describing the word and then (hopefully) learning it from the person you are speaking to.

5. Test the vocabulary you already know.  Do vocabulary building exercises to keep old and new information fresh. Games where you categorise words or list as many words as possible related to one topic can help you remember vocabulary for longer.

6. Set yourself a vocabulary task.  Every day write down five new pieces of vocabulary.  They can be random or connected.  Write a little description, draw a picture or whatever will help you remember it.

Thanks for reading!  If you have any questions contact me at or @helloteacher_ on Instagram!

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