When you build a house it takes a lot of work. First, you have to put down the foundations. Once
they are secure, you have to build the walls and the roof. This takes time if you want to do it
correctly. A lot of practice, some mistakes, a lot of homework are all necessary to complete these
fundamental stages. What happens when they are done? Well, the house is not actually ready to live
in yet. You still have to make the house a home and there is still more work to be done. However,
this work is not as demanding. In actual fact, it can be very rewarding. As you choose things like
colours, furniture, pictures etc, it can feel like a reward for all the hard work involved in getting to this
Learning a language to a higher level can be the same. You have learned many things. You have
practiced the structures and now you have the opportunity to look at acquiring the aesthetic side of
the language. You have earned the chance to decorate all your hard work by discovering new
vocabulary that you can use to enrich the quality of the language you are learning.
From B2 onwards, students should be looking to expand and enjoy their word pool. You should no
longer be using safe, lazy words like ‘ good ‘ or ‘ nice ‘. Consider the difference between the following
During the summer we lived in a nice, big house next to the sea.
We used to spend our splendid summers lounging around in the elegant beach house with its generous verandah looking out onto a sparkling sea.
If you had the ability to write the second sentence, why would you choose to write the first? That is
the joy that can be found when you reach a level that allows you to look further into what new
vocabulary can help you to achieve. So how do you learn new vocabulary?
See if you can learn five new words in one day. You might come across them by chance say when
reading. When you see a new word, look up the meaning then practice using it in a sentence. Once
you have a block of five new words, see if you can fit all five of them into a little one-paragraph mini-story.
dustbin binoculars tyrant seemingly bolster
As he lifted the lid of his dead father’s dustbin he threw in the binoculars that the old tyrant had used
to seemingly spy on anyone who was behaving in a way that would bolster his suspicions.
It is good fun but if you don’t have the imagination, you could go for two shorter paragraphs; one
with three of the words and another with two.
Many students say they dislike phrasal verbs. A big complaint is that there are so many of them. This
is a question of perspective. Would you say you hated Netflix because there are far too many things
Phrasal verbs are very helpful in allowing English speakers to express themselves. They help to make
the non-native speaker understood. Like all vocabulary learning, the only way to accumulate your
lexis of phrasal verbs is to acquire in small groups. You can look at particular verbs and add different
Student 1′ serves ‘ a verb to Student 2 who adds a particle. Student 1 returns with the same verb
and a different particle. This is reciprocated until a student can’t think of a further example.
“ get “, “ get on “, get back “, get down “ …..
Alternatively, you can serve with the particle and alternate with verbs.
“ back “, “ take back “, “ get back “, “ turn back “ …..
Like all vocabulary, it is important to use it in context by writing examples. Alternatively, you could
challenge yourself by trying to use newly-found phrasal verbs in daily conversation.
When using a word, it is always a good idea to think about what the other members of that word’s
family are and how we spell them. If reading anything in English, have some paper by your side with
the following table on it :
Choose five words from the article, insert them in the table and see if you can complete the empty
boxes with the word family words. It is not always possible to complete all four boxes.