Expanding your vocabulary Part 1
Many students think they need a large vocabulary in order to communicate effectively.
This is simply not true. Knowing how to use the 100 most common words in English will allow you to understand 50% of what you hear or read.
Add the next 200 most common words and you will be able to cope with 65% of the English you are likely to encounter; and if you can handle the 2000 most commonly used words, your ability to communicate will be close to 90%.
Of course, there will still be gaps in your vocabulary which clearly need to be filled, but with over one million words in English, and a further 14 new words being added every day, how do you choose which words and phrases to add to your “toolkit”? The answer is simple; be picky, be very picky, and only choose vocabulary that you think is genuinely useful to know.
When you come across a new piece of vocabulary, the first thing you should consider is whether or not you are likely to need it again.
For example, if you have no interest in fashion, do you really need to know the vocabulary to describe a dress in great detail?
If you can’t realistically see yourself needing that particular vocabulary again, simply ignore it and move on to something more useful.
On the other hand, if you do think a piece of vocabulary is useful, you must then decide whether to treat it as ACTIVE (words and phrases you want /need to use to communicate) or PASSIVE (words and phrases you simply need to recognize).
Each needs to be dealt with in a slightly different way to make the learning process more efficient; and so, how to go about expanding your active and passive vocabulary will be the subject of next tip for learning English.