How can you build up your vocabulary?
- Come to a workshop on
- There are many ways to learn vocabulary. The most
important way is by practising your English - reading, listening,
speaking and writing. This leads to deep learning, so you
remember and can use new words and phrases correctly.
- You need to learn the 3000 most frequent words in
English. You probably know many of them already. The
best way to learn them is by using special books called
graded readers. We have a library of these books which you
can borrow - just visit the Language Support Centre. Using
graded readers will also help you get faster and more confident in
your reading. (If you would like to see a list of the basic
3000 words, click
here, then select Word Lists and click "Oxford
- You also need to learn the most frequent academic words in
English. You can find these in the Academic Word List by
Averil Coxhead. Click here to see the
Academic Word List. Also, click
here for exercises that will help you to learn these
- Use a translating dictionary AND an English-English
- Use this cheap app, called FlashVoc, to help
you learn your vocabulary. There's also a similar free online programme,
Why are English-English dictionaries useful?
- You can hear the pronunciation on the CD, often both British
- You get real examples of how the words are used. The
examples help you to understand the word - and to remember
- You get the most important words in this dictionary. If a
word has more than one meaning, you get the most common meaning
first in the list.
- You can buy them on CD and in book form together for about the
same price as the book.
More work on Academic vocabulary
Vocabulary Exercises is really useful if you are planning to do
a degree or postgraduate course here. Lots of useful activities,
including wordlists and corresponding activities.
BBC website The content changes regularly, but there is
always lots of help with vocabulary. Check out Funky
Phrasals and The Teacher. Also look at
Words in the News.
- Learn English A site for
elementary and intermediate students, focussing on grammar and
vocabulary. Choose ‘elementary’ or ‘intermediate’ on the left hand
side of the page and select ‘vocabulary’. You can then choose your
topic and you get a great vocabulary collection with easy to
understand pictures and exercises to check your knowledge.
- a4esl You can choose easy,
medium or difficult vocabulary exercises – plenty of things to do
on this website!
Club From the homepage choose ‘learn English’ and then go
to ‘Vocabulary’. There are lots of different word lists and
activities, with plenty of work on phrasal verbs and idioms.
- Language Guide Lots
of opportunity for pronunciation and vocabulary practice – hover
over pictures and hear the words. This website also gives French
translations, but is suitable for any nationality.
Return to Sources of help »