vocabulary tip: giving out directions to visitors / tourists
Often times, when you are living in an English-speaking country or are visiting as a tourists, strangers may come up to you in public or on a street corner to ask for directions. You may not see it as important but it’s a great way to practice your English and even talk to the locals about other topics if you so choose to.
Everyone should be familiar with what directions are in English and the related vocabulary words and phrases that are related to giving out directions / receiving them. It can be a bit awkward if you are not able to give out directions or ask for them in English. You would want to prevent yourself from getting lost or going to the wrong place so it’s important to understand, listen, and speak accurately when it comes to the topic of directions.
Listed below are a number of English vocabulary words, phrases, and sentences that will help you navigate the subject of directions. To comprehend, use, and understand them, it’s key to be able to become proficient in this type of English. Your ability to navigate a city, town, and country is key and to be able to bridge the gap of communication with a complete stranger by asking them in English.
Phrases / Sentences
Go left, right
Hang a left
Merge into the center lane
Head north, south, east, west
You will have to go inside the tunnel.
You should go outside and make a right.
You will have to walk to the center of the city.
The building is above the highway.
When you reach the store, turn left and you will be next to the market.
If you see a ‘do not enter’ sign, go backward.
When you see the park, keep going forward.
My office is located south of downtown New York City.
The beach is located east of the harbor.
West of the farm is where I grew up next to the corner store.
You will have to go ten miles north to reach Washington, DC.
vocabulary tip: discussing the news of the day
What’s happening in the news tends to come up every now and then in conversation. It’s a subject that may be difficult to avoid. If you have to discuss the news, it’s important to know the words and phrases in English vocabulary that would focus on this particular topic. You can always steer away from this topic in a polite manner because it could lead to discussing politics but talking about the news is a bit more general and less controversial.
Here are the main vocabulary phrases and words to know about when discussing the news of the day:
-Did you hear about the.….?
-There was a…..
-It happened at (time and place)...
-Did you read the story about …….?
-I just heard about….
-I just read about…..
-I just listened to _________ on the _____________ (radio / TV / Internet).
-Were you there to see it happen?
-They have just said on the news that…..
-You’ll never believe this but…..
-Wait until you hear about this story!
-It was in the newspaper and was one of the top stories!
To go off the record (to hide your identity)
To be on the record (to state publicly with your identity known)
As you can see from these examples, there are dozens of vocabulary words associated with talking about the news. It’s an important topic of discussion that is likely to come up. You should remember to be polite and cordial when discussing news or politics with others because it can be a sensitive topic for English speakers! Hopefully, you can use these phrases, words, and verbs to have worthwhile conversations that inform people and spread the right information to them.
vocabulary tip: ordering food and drinks at a restaurant
There are few vocabulary topics more important than being able to go a restaurant and order food and/or drinks without any issues. The good news is that it is relatively easy to do so with just a basic command of the English language. The bad news is that there are multiple ways to order your food and drinks so it can be a little confusing to know which phrase or sentence you should focus on using.
My advice is to stick with two or three phrases that are easiest for you to use with the waiter or waitress, and take your time to develop your ability to use other phrases over time.
I have listed below a number of different phrases that you can use when responding to the waiter or waitress and also what to say when you’re ready to order your food and drinks. Please be sure to do your best and hone in on a few of these phrases so that you’ll know what to say rather than try to be perfect with knowing all of them at the same time.
-I’d like to have ____________.
-I am ready to order and I would like the __________.
-Could I have the _______________ please?
-May I have the ________________ and a side of _________? Thank you.
-Excuse me, I would like to order now please.
-Can I get some ______________ please? Thank you.
-I would like to order my food now.
-I think I’ll have the __________ and the ____________ please. Thanks.
-May I get the ______________ now?
Let me have the _______________ please.
VOCABULARY TIP: using WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT TO HELP AND SUPPORT OTHERS
We use encouraging words in the English language for helping someone out especially when they are not doing well. We want to encourage each and every person to keep on doing their best.
A letter, essay, e-mail or other written form of encouragement in English serves the following purposes:
-An expression of approval and support.
-An act of giving hope or support to someone.
-A belief in others and wanting to help them succeed.
-Do not give up faith.
-Do not be discouraged.
-Do not lose hope as you will have many more opportunities again.
-It has been a great incentive to get a bonus for my extra sales and I hope that this continues.
-I am confident that our Sales / Marketing team will have no trouble accepting this challenge.
-I am confident that you will make an excellent host.
-Your hard work and determination are greatly valued.
Ten Main Expressions of Encouragement to Use in Your Speaking and Writing
-You’re coming along nicely.
-Keep up the good work.
-That’s good effort on your part.
-You are showing real improvement.
-You’re on the right track.
-Keep going and do not give up.
-Come on, you can do it
-Give it your best shot
-What have you got to lose?
-If at first you don’t succeed, then you must try, try again.
Some Phrases to Inspire People:
(You wouldn’t use these phrases often in regular conversation, but when you are writing speeches or creating motivational essays, they sound very inspirational.)
Always follow your dreams.
You should reach for the stars.
Do the impossible.
Believe in yourself.
The sky is the limit.
To read the full blog post on ‘Using Words of Encouragement in English’, go here: https://www.englishfromatoz.com/blog/how-to-use-words-of-encouragement-in-english
vocabulary tip: knowing about your financial professions and jobs
Banker – A person who is engaged with the business dealings of a bank.
Auditor – A person who is authorized to examine and verify financial accounts for accuracy and completion.
Accountant – A person trained to compile, interpret, and report financial statements and tax returns that comply with governmental and regulatory requirements.
Financial advisor – A planning partner who helps you to plan out your savings, managing your accounts, creating investments, and giving advice on which kind(s) of insurance you should enroll in. (life, disability, long-term care)
Consultant – One who gives professional advice and guidance regarding business services.
Trader – A professional who buys or sells something such as stocks and commodities in order to gain short-term profits.
Stockbroker – A broker who gives orders to either buy or sell stocks and other securities (they usually work on a trading floor of a stock market but not always.)
Tax official – In charge of collecting taxes and making sure to issue returns or issue payment requests if tax collections are lacking.
Treasurer - a person appointed to manage the financial assets and liabilities of a company, local authority, administrative body, etc.
Financial analyst – Examine financial data and uses their conclusions to help companies and/or clients make business decisions often involved with investing.
Loan officer – Specializes in consumer, mortgage, or commercial loans and acts as the liaison between the financial institution and the applicant in order to get the best loan arrangement between both parties.
Budget analyst – A person who helps organizations and companies allocate their limited resources by developing, analyzing, and executing budgets for both the near and far future.
Investor – A person that allocates capital with the expectation of a future financial return. Types of investments include equity, debt securities, real estate, commodities, currencies, etc.
Financial director – Member(s) of an executive team with responsibility for managing the assets and liabilities of a company to ensure financial health.
Insurance agent - An insurance agent sells, solicits, or negotiates insurance (auto, health care, property, etc.) for financial compensation.
Underwriter – A person or company that underwrites an insurance risk. It is any party that evaluates and assumes another party's risk for a fee, such as a commission, premium, or interest.
Credit analyst – Responsible for assessing a loan applicant’s credit worthiness. Your financial history and/or transactions can come under review by the credit analyst if you are looking for some kind of loan. (can be based off your credit rating)
Fund manager - A fund manager is responsible for implementing a fund's investing strategy and managing its portfolio trading activities. A fund can be managed by one person, by two people as co-managers, or by a team of three or more people. A fund is a sum of money saved or made available for a particular purpose.
Cashier - a person handling payments and receipts in a store, bank, or other type of business.
Payroll manager - Payroll Managers are found in the finance or accounting departments of companies of all sizes, from nonprofits to corporations. A Payroll Manager is in charge of everything that has to do with payroll, which means the work that they do ensures that employees get paid on time and they also receive other benefits such as paid vacation and/or paid sick time off.
vocabulary tip: what to say about shopping
If you decide to travel or live in an English-speaking country, it’s important to be able to converse as easily as possible about shopping regardless of the item or thing you are looking to purchase. It will come in handy to be able to hold a conversation with the store owner and be able to convey what you are looking for, if you would like to try on an item if you’re shopping for clothes, and whether you need help looking for something in particular.
The key with what to say about shopping is to be polite, courteous, and straightforward. Having a good sense of shopping vocabulary is also important in order to be able to have a successful visit to the store.
Listed below are words and phrases that I hope you will be able to use correctly for the next time you go to the store to do some shopping:
Could I help you?
How may I help you?
How are you doing today?
Hello sir / ma'am, I need your help with…
Could I try it (them) on?
How does it fit?
How does it look?
How can I pay for this item?
What hours are you open today?
Do you accept cash / credit card / debit card?
Is there any item on sale today?
I'm looking for...
I’d like to purchase / buy / order….
I’m just looking, thank you.
Sizes - extra small, small, medium, large, extra large
Measurements - used with specific measurements for pants, suit jackets, etc.
Pants / Jeans / Dress Pants
Discount / Sale
Dressing Room / Changing Room
Length / Width / Height
Mom and Pop Shop (Local Business)
vocabulary Tip: Bantering about Books
There’s few better ways to boosting your English vocabulary than bantering about the books you’ve read, would like to read, or have read in the past. By being able to discuss the process of reading and then discussing books, you’ll be able to express yourself that much more deeply by talking about things such as the characters, the setting, the story, and the themes of a book.
If you’re learning a second language such as English, you’re likely to want to read some books that are printed in the English language. Therefore, you’ll want to be able to have the vocabulary in mind related to discussing the English books that you have read. Joining a monthly book club, reading a required book for a class, or presenting a book report are all great ways to being able to put your vocabulary to good use when it comes to talking about books.
Listed below are some vocabulary words and phrases that you should have in mind when it comes to ‘bantering about books’ with other English speakers:
Autobiography / Biography
What did you think of …….(the plot, the characters, the ending)?
How was the book?
Who was your favorite character?
What was the book about?
What were the main themes of the book?
Would you recommend this book to other people?
Why do you think the book begin / end like that?
What was the setting of the book?
How did this book compare to other books you’ve read?
Which book is your favorite one and why?
It was a very short / very long book.
I thought that the story was interesting.
I don’t like this book because the characters were boring.
I really liked the setting of the book because of how lifelike it seemed.
I believe that the author was trying to create a theme about ‘redemption’ with this book.
I loved the main character of Will the Pirate because he was very intelligent and adventurous.
I would definitely recommend this book to my friend because it was a quick page turner.
I would not recommend this book to my parents because it was too violent.
The themes of the book were really relevant to me.
My classmates liked the book a lot for its action genre but I prefer history books.
Vocabulary Tip: Musing about music
Music is a powerful topic of conversation that transcends different backgrounds and nationalities. For this reason, being able to converse in English about music is a good bet if you're looking to become a more fluent speaker while practicing with native speakers. There are many kinds of music out there and to express yourself in English about this topic will help you in terms of boosting your vocabulary and improving your ability to come up with creative sentences.
People all over the world love to listen, play, and definitely discuss music in all of its forms. By being able to talk about music in English, you're likely to make some new friends regardless of whether you like jazz, rock and roll, or even hip hop.
Listed below are some groups of words and phrases to use when it comes to expressing music in English:
hi-fi or hi-fi system
That sounds nice to me.
I like the beat of the drums.
It has a beautiful melody.
That sounds terrible to me.
It makes my ears hurt.
That is more white noise than actual music.
It heals or calms me down.
It stirs my imagination.
It touches my soul.
It is rejuvenating to me.
VOCABULARY TIP: TALKING ABOUT SPORTS
One of the best topics to converse about in the English-speaking world is the topic of sports. Sports whether its American football, soccer, baseball, ice hockey, basketball, etc. are important to a lot of people for different reasons. Some people are avid fans who wear their team jersey any chance they get while others enjoy playing the sports with their friends or family. Regardless if people are watching or playing sports, English-speaking peoples love to talk about sports. If you're looking to improve your English, learning sports vocabulary will improve your conservational abilities and even make you a few friends.
Sports vocabulary is very expansive and includes a wide range of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. If you're looking to dive into a topic that will have a great return on your time studying and learning a particular kind of vocabulary, I would definitely recommend focusing on 'sports.' The best aspect of sports vocabulary is that you'll learn a number of key 'action verbs' and get to use the gerund (-ing) as well. If you look at sports as a whole, there is a lot of running, jumping, playing, diving, swimming, throwing, catching, etc. involved.
Listed below are a number of vocabulary words and phrases that you should focus on learning about when it comes to the topic of sports:
Footballer / football player
Try your best to practice the pronunciation of these Sports vocabulary words and also to write sentences with these words being used within them. If you try hard enough, you'll go the distance with sports vocabulary!
vocabulary tip: discussing the weather
The weather is a great topic to learn about when it comes to understanding and using English vocabulary. There are numerous words and phrases associated with this particular topic but the ones I have listed below are likely to come up most frequently in a conversation. If you are getting to know someone for the first time, discussing the weather is a good topic to start with because everyone can relate to it especially if it's a hot, sunny day or a cold, snowy day.
Not everyone likes sports or has the same tastes in music but it can be easy to get a conversation going about the weather. There's no debate about what kind of weather it is but you can get people's perspective of how the weather is and whether that person likes it or not. You will be able to learn if that person likes cold weather or hot weather. You can also inquire if that person you're talking to likes when it rains, when it snows, or when it is sunny out.
Here is a list of good vocabulary words and phrases to be used when it comes to the weather:
The Weather forecast
Adjectives to describe the weather
degrees Centigrade / Celsius
-It's cloudy out.
-There's clear skies today.
-It's clear out.
-It's going to rain.
-It's going to snow.
-It's warm out.
-It's cold out.
-It's freezing out.
Vocabulary tip: act out the words and phrases that you learn
If you are a very visual learner when it comes to remembering and understanding English vocabulary, it may be best to act out the new words and phrases that you are learning. You can physically move your body or utilize your facial expressions in order to match the vocabulary words that are new to you.
For example, adjective words such as 'happy' or 'sad' can easily be replicated by you when you change your facial expressions. By doing that, you're acting out the meaning of the words using your body. This is especially true when it comes to 'action verbs' in that you can act them out to understand them better by using your body's movements.
Some of these action verbs that you can replicate firsthand with physical movement are: run, swim, jump, walk, dive, sit, stand, eat, drink, etc.
There are many vocabulary games that you can do that involve acting out these words or phrases with a partner or a friend. The most popular one would have to be 'charades' where you are given a vocabulary words such as 'eat soup' or 'play baseball', you would act out that action for the rest of the class and they then would have to guess which vocabulary words are involved.
For this game of 'charades', you can switch roles so that you can not only act out the words but also be the one who guesses the name of the word(s) in order to score points and compete to win the game. If you are alone, don't be discouraged because you can act out the vocabulary words you're learning in front of a mirror or your computer's camera if you would like to better associate the words with the actions themselves.
Acting out the vocabulary words you're learning helps to bring them to life and will definitely help you to remember them, and improve your proficiency if you're a visual English learner.
VOCABULARY TIP: FIND OUT WHICH kind OF LEARNING WORKS BEST FOR YOU
A key part of learning and mastering vocabulary is to find out which way you can learn the words best. Our brains work in a variety of ways when it comes to learning a new language so it's best to try out a few different options when it comes to learning English vocabulary.
Certain English learners may do best in terms of absorbing vocabulary words through visual means whether its' pictures of words or drawing their own pictures to remember what the words are. Visual learners would also need to see the word written down for them in order to remember what it is and what image goes into their head so that they can relate that vocabulary word to.
Kinetic learning is another way in which students may be the most comfortable with in terms of mastering vocabulary. These kind of learners need to interact with the words by writing it down multiple times, reading it in different publications, and using our bodies to touch it if the word is a physical object. Having direct interaction with vocabulary words is one way in which a particular type of learner can become better at using and memorizing the words.
The last kind of learning when it comes to vocabulary words focuses on auditory learning where those students benefit most from hearing the word in order to add it to their active memory. These students have it particularly easy in that they just need to hear the word in order to remember and use it in the future.
Depending on what kind of learner you are when it comes to languages; auditory, visual, or kinetic, you should think about how you have learned vocabulary words in the past and how you feel about it now. Are you the type of student who needs to write the word down or read it out loud in order to have a connection to it? Or do you need to see the word represented visually as a person, place, or thing in order to draw the connection in your mind? A few of you may need to hear the word multiple times being said and to absorb the sound of it in order to remember it for a while.
Every learner will experiment with each type of learning over the course of their studies and it is up to the individual themselves to figure out if they do best with auditory, visual, or kinetic learning. While you'll have to be able to understand how to utilize all three types of learning, you'll most likely have a preference in terms of which kind of learning suits you best.
Ideally, you'll need to use all three methods of learning and do your best to figure out which kind of learning is easiest for you and how to use it for learning English vocabulary as often as possible.
Vocabulary tip: Create flashcards to help you study the words
Writing down the new vocabulary words in English that you have learned won't always make a big difference. In learning any new language including English, creating flashcards for each new vocabulary word you learn as well as writing down the meaning can make a big difference.
Being able to associate each vocabulary word on the flashcards with either a visual such as a picture of the object, person, or thing or the definition of the word itself will make it much easier to remember the word. Also, writing down whether the vocabulary word in question is a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb can also help you to remember what the word signifies.
One side of the flashcard should have the visual of the word itself if applicable or a sentence about what the word means and what kind of word it is. The other side of the flashcard should have the word itself and maybe how to sound it out if you're at the beginning level to make sure that you pronounce it correctly.
Flashcards or index cards are easy to make and they can last a long time. They are also easy to store and keep for further use. By writing down the word, creating the visual, and/or memorizing the definition of the word, these steps will help you remember more vocabulary words and improve your English proficiency.
The best part about the flashcards is that you can practice reviewing / studying them on the bus, on the train, or on a plane. You can take them with you everywhere and you can spend as much time on them as you think would be necessary. If you need someone to help you, your friend or family member can show you the visual / definition and have you guess the name of the vocabulary word to see how much you know. It is really fun and easy to turn your flashcards into an interactive game. If you want to test your vocabulary, turning your knowledge of the flashcards into a quiz would also be helpful.
The effort you'll need to put into creating the flashcards for your vocabulary words will be well worth it as it will be a great study tool. It will definitely help you as the student to develop your memory and understanding about a great number of English vocabulary words.
VOCABULARY TIP: Make a sentence for each new word that you learn
In order to better improve your English vocabulary, it is important to create a sentence to go along with each new word that you learn. In order to really better your vocabulary with any language, you have to create some context that goes along with the new word(s). When you write sentences based around the vocabulary word, your brain will be able to connect the situations and circumstances associated with that word for the future.
For example, if you learned the word 'love', the best way to understanding the meaning and the context of this important vocabulary word is to write sentences about it.
1. Jack loves Jill because they have a lot in common.
2. I love Mexican food because it is very delicious.
3. Love is the most powerful force in the world.
From these example sentences with 'love', we can draw connections about the word's meaning and its' importance. We now can conclude that 'love' means having a deep passion or affection for somebody or something such as Mexican food or for another human being.
This method of writing sentences for vocabulary words may seem silly but it will help boost your memory about it for the future. You'll now associate 'love' with the relationships of people, an affection for food and other things, or an important drive in our world.
Your brain will better remember the word when you write it down and create different examples about it. Try it out for yourself and let us know how it goes for you!
vocabulary tiP: Use visuals to help remembrance
In order to remember both new and old vocabulary words, using visuals as a guide is highly recommended for English students. Whether its drawings, pictures, signs, etc., having our eyes and mind stimulated by visuals can help us to remember the meaning and significance of vocabulary words.
Any English language learner can benefit from having lists of vocabulary words and pictures together on sheets of paper so that you'll associate the visual in your mind with the word itself. The sense of sight is one of our five basic senses and having a picture to go off of.
There are numerous online vocabulary games out there as well that can help you to improve your vocabulary. In these kinds of games, you are given a word and you have to match that word with the correct visual. Also, having a visual kind of English dictionary is also recommended to study in that you'll be able to learn and memorize many words and also learn about how they are expressed visually. Printing out vocabulary word lists that come with pictures is also a good idea and will help the English learner to improve in their knowledge too. Reading a simple story in English with pictures describing the vocabulary words is another great idea especially for beginning learners.
Listed below is a flashcard word list with pictures which is a good example of how to improve your English vocabulary with the help of a visual aid:
VOCABULARY TIP: KNOW YOUR GREETINGS
When you are first starting out with studying English vocabulary, it would be best to focus first on learning your greetings. This basic category will help you to get by in any English-speaking country whether you're visiting as a tourist, studying at a university, or coming there for a business trip. By knowing your English greetings, you'll come off as being kind, polite, and courteous. This kind of vocabulary could even make you some new friends if you use them often enough. You'll be more likely to start a lively conversation too when you use your greetings.
The locals are more likely to be friendly to you and show you respect in return if you are able to use these English greetings proficiently. Listed below are what I think are the most important greetings to learn and master as an ESL student:
-How are you?
-How is your day going?
-It's nice to meet you
-It's good to see you
VOCABULARY TIP: MAKE LISTS OF WORDS IN THE SAME CATEGORY
When you're trying to expand your vocabulary, it's best to try to create lists of words that you can tie to a certain category. For example, if you're learning about fruits, vegetables, and meats, you're going to want to tie all of those words together to a list of vocabulary words focusing on food in particular.
For example, In that vocabulary list on food, you're going to put down words like chicken, beef, fish, pasta, rice, apples, broccoli, etc. because they all could be classified as food. Now, when it comes to vocabulary lists, you can create subcategories within a main category. In a vocabulary list about food, you may have other subcategories that you make small lists of such as for fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats, seafood, etc.
By creating these vocabulary lists or by perusing the Internet to find them, you'll be able to greatly expand your ability to speak and write in English. However, it's important to take an hour or so each week where you're studying these vocabulary lists so that you'll become better at the English language by learning more and more words.
It's also best if you can write down these new words and new lists you're creating yourself instead of taking them from the Internet. It's best to think of the words you know and create the lists yourself so that you'll remember them before by speaking and writing them outloud. It's a lot easier to remember vocabulary words when you're actively learning about them through your own hard work rather than just copying them from someone else or printing them out. Creating lists of English vocabulary lists will allow you to study the language on your own time and to also become a better student by doing the work yourself.
VOCABULARY TIP: LEARN A NEW WORD EVERY DAY
It may be difficult to pull this off but if you have the discipline, it would be useful to learn a new English vocabulary word each day.
Because of the digital age, it is easier now than ever to learn new words without too much trouble. There are dozens of websites out there that have an English 'word of the day.' You can find the word itself, the definition of the word, and an example of it being used in a sentence.
English from A to Z recommends either Dictionary.com or Thesaurus.com when it comes to finding any new word in the English language. We recommend that you copy the word itself, the example being shown, and its' definition. If you have your own journal or diary, you should add any and all English vocabulary words into your book to study and review later.
This particular tip will take some discipline but if you want to improve your English, you'll need to take some time each day to learn a new vocabulary word. Once your master ten, a hundred, and then a thousand words, you'll improve your language proficiency quite a bit in a short amount of time.