August 14th, 2012 in Vocabulary
Use that dictionary
Pick up a dictionary and start learning. It may sound strange and this approach may not work for everybody because few people are interested in reading dictionaries. But that is how I learned most of the words I know. I didn’t even bother to group words into categories. Instead, I started reading the dictionary from the first page trying to memorize the meanings of all important sounding words that I could find. Try it. It might work for you. Even if it doesn’t, you have nothing to lose.
Some people find online dictionaries far more engaging than their paperback or hardcover versions. Of course, online dictionaries are interactive. They also make it easy to look up words. And now that just about every respected dictionary is available online you have no excuses for not learning new words. Which are the best online dictionaries? I like Cambridge dictionaries, but my favorite is the Macmillan Dictionary.
Learn word families
The same word exists in different forms. Consider the word academic. It has several forms: academics, academically, academy, academician etc. All of these words belong to the same word family. When you learn a new word, you must also learn how to use its different forms.
Learn word groups
Words are usually used in groups. Let me make it clearer. Most words are used in some fairly standard word combinations. These word combinations always go together. In grammars they are called collocations. Learning collocations is essential if you want to express your ideas in natural English.