vocabulary tip: what to say about shopping

(October 2018)

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:

Helpful Phrases

  • 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 prefer...

  • I’d like to purchase / buy / order….

  • I’m just looking, thank you.

Useful Vocabulary

  • Sizes - extra small, small, medium, large, extra large

  • Measurements - used with specific measurements for pants, suit jackets, etc. 

  • Shop owner

  • Store assistant

  • Pants / Jeans / Dress Pants

  • Waist 

  • Inseam 

  • Credit cards

  • Debit cards

  • Cash

  • Discount / Sale

  • Coupon

  • Dressing Room / Changing Room

  • Shopping Mall

  • Outlet Store

  • Length / Width / Height

  • Mom and Pop Shop (Local Business)

  • Cashier

  • Store Manager

  • Online Shopping


vocabulary Tip: Bantering about Books

(September 2018)

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:

reading terminology

Plot

Setting

Characters

Theme(s)

Chapters

Argument

Motif

Storyline

Idioms

Metaphor

Simile

Background

Beginning

Ending

Main Points

Genres

Action

Adventure

Drama

History

Autobiography / Biography

Romance

Horror

Mystery

Science Fiction

Reading questions

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?

reading phrases

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

(August 2018)

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:

MUSICAL TERMINOLOGY

beat

harmony

lyrics

melody 

note

rhythm

scale

tune

MUSIC EQUIPMENT

amp (amplifier)

headphones

hi-fi or hi-fi system

instrument

mic (microphone)

music stand

record player

stereo system

MUSICAL GENRES

blues

classical

country

dance

electronic

folk

hip hop

jazz

opera

pop

rap

rock

musical phrases

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

(JULY 2018)

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: 

Sports Equipment

  • Basketball

  • Soccer ball

  • Bat

  • Football

  • Golf club

  • Hockey stick

  • Ice skates

  • Racing car

  • Snowboard

  • Tennis racket

Sports Athletes

  • Baseball player

  • Basketball player

  • Boxer

  • Cyclist

  • Footballer / football player

  • Golfer

  • Gymnast

  • Hockey player

  • Ice skater

  • Racing driver

Sports Places

  • Arena

  • Circuit

  • Court

  • Course

  • Field

  • Gym

  • Pitch

  • Ring

  • Stadium

  • Track

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 

(June 2018)

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

  • lightning

  • blizzard

  • cloud

  • drought

  • dry season

  • wet season

  • fog

  • frost

  • heat

  • hurricane

  • ice

  • maximum temperature

  • minimum temperature

  • mist

  • rain

  • rainy season

  • scattered showers

  • shower

  • snow

  • snow storm

  • storm

  • sun

  • sun showers

  • thunder

  • thunderstorm

  • tornado

  • twister

  • wind

Adjectives to describe the weather

  • chilly

  • clear

  • cloudy

  • cold

  • cool

  • dry

  • foggy

  • frosty

  • hot

  • icy

  • misty

  • rainy

  • snowy

  • stormy

  • sunny

  • warm

  • wet

  • windy

Temperature

  • degrees Centigrade / Celsius

  • degrees Fahrenheit

  • temperature

  • above zero

  • below zero

  • weather forecast

  • weather report

Weather expressions

-It's raining.

-It's snowing.

-It's cloudy out.

-It's sunny.

-There's clear skies today.

-It's thundering.

-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.

-It's hot.


Vocabulary tip: act out the words and phrases that you learn

(May 2018)

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

(April 2018)

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

(March 2018)

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

(FEBRUARY 2018)

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

(January 2018)

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:

 An example of a flashcard that shows some vocabulary words with corresponding pictures.

An example of a flashcard that shows some vocabulary words with corresponding pictures.


VOCABULARY TIP: KNOW YOUR GREETINGS

(december 2017)

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:

-Hello

-Hi

-How are you?

-How is your day going?

-Good morning

-Good afternoon

-Good evening

-Good night

-It's nice to meet you

-It's good to see you


VOCABULARY TIP: MAKE LISTS OF WORDS IN THE SAME CATEGORY

(November 2017)

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

(October 2017)

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. 

  • http://www.dictionary.com/

  • http://www.thesaurus.com/