Build your Vocabulary – by Learning the Meaning of Words

 In Grammar, Vocabulary Words

When you know the meaning of words, it is much easier to retain the word itself. Nothing is more embarrassing when someone uses a word in conversation that you don’t understand. Or worse, when somebody uses a word in a conversation which they do not understand!! As we discussed in  our blog about dictionaries, there are many ways you can memorize words, including association, by using the word in a sentence, by knowing what the root of the word means, etc. Usually the first things you learn about  new English words is the meaning of words – what a word means, and its translation in your own language. But there are other things you need to find out before you can say that you know a word like a native speaker does. You need to know how a word is spelled and pronounced. You need to know its grammatical forms, and what other words are often used with it.  Lastly you must understand the context in which it is most likely to be used.

Meaning of Words  Best Practices

  1. Look for synonyms or related words that also convey meaning of the word.
  2. Use associations such as pictures, signs, symbols, or ways that will help you associate a word with its meaning. This site has some great images which are designed to help the English language learner to memorize vocabulary words using substitute words and association. Choose images which are very familiar to you and you have a better chance of remembering the word: here is a useful piece about memory improving tips.
  3. Learn the word parts – these consist of roots of words as well as various markers, such as  plural marker house- s, past tense marker d-ed.  These do not change the meaning of the words.  However if you join suffixes or prefixes to a word, the meaning of the word can change. For example, worth  becomes worth-less, happy becomes un-happy, etc.

In both the online and printed versions of dictionaries you will find a definition of a word in simple English, pronunciation guidelines, and example sentences (context) so that you know how to use it. So, try these tips and then use whatever works for you – there are even apps which help you learn the meaning of words these days so.

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