How to improve your English vocabulary and memorize more words?


Many people may be worried because they don't know how to learn English words and have a vocabulary in their hands. In the first place, how many words do you need to learn to make everyday English conversation?

It is said that 98% of daily English conversation can be covered if you understand about 3000 words.

The 3,000 words you learn by the time you graduate from high school are not always the most frequently used 3,000 words, but you can see that the number of words required as the basis of daily conversation is not very large.

Of course, natives use a richer vocabulary to talk. Although there are various theories, the number is about 20,000 to 35,000 words for adults. Looking at this number, it may seem daunting.

Therefore, this time, we will tell you the tips and ways of thinking when memorizing words, the wrong way of memorizing, and the effective way to study English words for beginners and intermediates of English learning.

<Table of Contents>

  1. Tips and important ways to remember English words

  2. Wrong way of remembering English words

  3. How to study English words that are particular about conversation summary

1. Tips and important ways to remember English words

First, before you resume studying English words, be sure to keep in mind the tips and important ideas of how to remember them in the first place. Please keep the following five in mind.

Use images to connect with background knowledge, context, images of situations, and emotions

The basic English text contains new English words along with pictures and illustrations. This is because the image information that comes in from the eyes and ears is many times easier to accept than the enumeration information that contains only letters, and it impresses the brain.

In order to learn a new word, it is effective to make an illustration of a scene that matches the meaning of the word and to be strongly aware of it. Furthermore, if BGM and sound effects that match the scene are added in terms of hearing, the retention rate of memory will dramatically increase.

Google Image Search is a recommended learning method to meet this need. When you enter a word in Google's search window, many images are displayed in an instant, making it much more efficient and easier to remember than memorizing the word in its entirety.

Understand prepositions with pictures

In learning English, many people have difficulty using prepositions.

There is no universal correct answer that "it is OK if you apply the native languague corresponding to the preposition ", and it is difficult to understand the correct English sentence unless you understand the "spatial meaning" that the preposition expresses. By the way. That's why, let's study while valuing images and feelings.

The following sites summarize the characteristics of each preposition in an easy-to-understand manner while comparing them. It's in a list format, so it's helpful to keep this figure in mind.

" It is a topic that the image that summarizes the prepositions about the place in English is easy to understand! "

Learn from English words in a narrow field of interest

A common mistake for beginners is to blindly try to learn English words with "wordbooks only". It is often said that the dryness of the work makes it difficult to get into your head and reduces learning efficiency. The recommended learning method is to get in the habit of reading the news in your area of interest every day.

For example, if you work in the advertising industry, read media news for 15-20 minutes every day. If you come across a word you don't understand, look it up in the dictionary on the spot. At that time, it is useful to write down the words you did not understand for review. Once you understand the words, you can understand the meaning of the sentences to some extent and find it interesting.

Being able to understand the text is proof that you are also acquiring grammar skills. Just by touching the news, you can improve your vocabulary and grammar, and get the latest knowledge about the industry.

If you don't have an area of particular interest, it's a good idea to start with a relatively friendly English news site. Even if a beginner suddenly jumps into the BBC or CNN, there are many unknown words and grammars that take time and effort to read, so it is important to select the teaching materials that suit your level. Here are two recommended sites.

◆ Japan Times ST

◆ Japan Today

Consciously increase the chances of encountering words

Repeated study that relies on grammar books and vocabulary makes it difficult to maintain memory and tends to discourage motivation. For example, choose a foreign book with relatively easy content from your favorite author, and read it while tasting it. It's a great training to interact with live English and enrich your vocabulary.

The recommendation is a reading material called Graded Reader. It has a limited number of vocabulary and is divided into several levels, so you can choose according to your level. Here are some famous series.

◆ Oxford

◆ Penguin

Allow ambiguity regardless of the correspondence between English and your First language (L1)

Some people use vocabulary cards with English on the front and First language on the back, but be aware that English and First languageare not all one-to-one. Also, if there are multiple First language translations for one English word, it can be frustrating to be too particular about memorizing them.

In the first place, when translating English into First language, it may be more suitable for the First language sense to intentionally leave or blur ambiguous parts. Also, if you are too obsessed with dealing with First language word by word, you will end up with translations and conversations that are awkward and unnatural.

Rather, if you draw an image of an English word in your head and memorize it, it will be difficult to forget and the result will be that appropriate First language will be spun out flexibly.

2. Wrong way of remembering English words

Next, I will introduce the wrong way of remembering English words that we tend to do at the beginning. I'll list four, so be careful not to apply even one.

Trying to remember "words only"

There is a law that when a person receives a message, it recognizes it at a rate of 7% for linguistic information, 38% for auditory information, and 55% for visual information (Reference: Mehrabian's Law). While there is a limit to how much effort you can make with only linguistic information, it is effective to use visual information together because you can think of scenes and situations.

Specifically, the following methods can be mentioned. ・ Examine the etymology of a word and connect the meanings derived from that etymology. ・ Take out some example sentences of multiple words and connect them as a story.

This work may seem difficult at first glance, but when you actually look at the recent sales of vocabulary on Amazon, books focusing on these are ranked high. 2 I recommend books.

System English words (Sundai exam series)

DUO 3.0 (written by Yoichi Suzuki / ICB)

For the importance of learning words by connecting them to hearing and sight, please refer to [Tips 3 for improving English proficiency] in the entry below.

" [Study method for English conversation] 7 points for self-taught people who are frustrated with English "

Blindly increasing the number of words to remember

It is easy for beginners to think that the steady work of memorizing vocabulary from the beginning to the end is the royal road to studying vocabulary.

However, as described in Chapter 3, good use of commonalities between words such as synonyms and etymology enables systematic and efficient memory. It has been pointed out that "a combination of a little less than 300 prefixes and suffixes can increase the number of vocabulary words by 10,000 to 20,000 words or more."

If you have a clue about blind stuffing, you may want to rethink the rationalization of memorization methods.

I spend too much time on one word (speed and give up are also important)

The "forgetting curve" is a study on memory advocated by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus, which states that the retention rate of memory increases when it is remembered again after a certain period of time.

For example, if you memorize 100 English words and do nothing, you will forget 90 or more in a year. However, if you repeat the act of memorizing 100 pieces, and then memorizing them again after a certain period of time, the retention rate of memory will increase. Moreover, less effort is required to remember the second and subsequent times.

It is said that the more the forgetting curve is repeated, the closer it becomes to parallel, and the more it is repeated 4 to 5 times, the more parallel the curve becomes. In this way, "repetition" is a very effective way to memorize words. Realizing that it is almost impossible to remember all the words at once, it is rational to spend days and time to repeat memorization.

It ends with input

Studying vocabulary is just a tool for mastering living English. If you are enthusiastic about memorizing a vocabulary, even if you have fragmentary knowledge in your head, it tends to lead to mistakes such as not being able to use it in actual conversation at all. Keep in mind the distribution of inputs and outputs, and study so that both wheels are aligned.

With the English conversation learning app "TerraTalk" provided by our company, you can learn words that are often used in conversation in a vocabulary format at any time and place. You can also practice pronunciation and listening, and enjoy actual English conversation, so please make good use of it.

3. How to study English words that are particular about conversation

Having seen all the tips and mistakes in learning English words, I would like to introduce five more specific study methods. All of them are selected from the viewpoint of "connecting to actual speaking", so please try them while digging one by one.

Master basic verbs such as have and get

In Japan, in junior high school English classes, do is taught to translate as "do", so it tends to depend on do. However, to express "..." in English, use basic verbs such as have, make, take, and get. If you use them well, you can express a wide variety of movements, so you don't have to use difficult words.

For a detailed explanation of the five verbs have, make, take, give, and get, the following sites may be helpful.

" Let's master the basic verbs "

Remember with synonyms

If you remember related words as a set, those words will trigger your memory and make it easier to remember. By connecting synonyms, antonyms, related words, etc. as a story, it is possible to memorize multiple words at once.

Also, if you know multiple expressions in English conversation, you will have the effect of expanding the range of communication. If you can only express one English expression, it is just "memorization". Let's practice it to improve communication skills that can be understood by native speakers., a synonym dictionary, allows you to easily sort and display found synonyms and antonyms. In addition, the method of studying words using this is introduced in the next entry on this site.

◆ " [Intermediate English] Only one study method to create an English brain at explosive speed "

Learn by field / situation

If you combine the contents you have learned with the memories of each field, you will have more power to remember. It is also important to remember each situation in conversation.

If you just memorize a word, for example, when you want to say "Take it", which of "Can you get that for me?" "Pass me please." "Could you pass it to me?" Is appropriate. It's easy to get lost. However, if you understand what kind of scene and flow this phrase is used in, you can instantly select the most suitable expression.

The following are teaching materials that make it easy to remember English words by field.

TOEFL TEST measures iBT English words (written by Yoshito Takagi / planned by Teyes)

1 minute English words 1600 (written by Takashi Ishii / Chukei Publishing)

If you want to learn English words by situation, the following two entries are recommended.

[Business English Conversation] Phrases and vocabulary for presentations | Business English

FREE collection of business phrases, words, and idioms!

Learn with collocation (collocation)

Some people tend to make "unnatural English sentences with correct grammar and words". For example, if you want to express "strong rain" in English, it is grammatically OK to say "strong rain", but it is not often used in practice.

This is because they are all about memorizing English words independently and separately, and do not understand collocation, which is a "common combination / natural connection of two or more words ." In the case of "heavy rain" mentioned earlier, "heavy rain" is a commonly used combination.

When memorizing words, remember the combinations that you often see in example sentences, and if there is a connection (collocation) of words that you are interested in English conversation or reading materials, take notes and take them consciously.

If you are an intermediate learner or above, it is useful to have a collocation dictionary (for example, the Oxford Collocations Dictionary For Students of English ) at hand.

Check out this Common Collocations and the Collocations List by alphabet for examples of commonly used collocations.

Learn by etymology (prefix, suffix, stem)

Long words are especially troublesome when memorizing English words. However, even if it seems complicated, it often fits into some pattern, and if you know it, you can guess the meaning of the word. Of course, even advanced English speakers may come across unknown words, but etymology (prefix, suffix, stem) is useful in such situations.

Even if you don't understand the meaning of "tuna" and "bonito", you can expect it to be a fish by seeing the fish bias. With the same theory, the more you know the prefix, suffix, and stem, the easier it will be to guess the meaning.

For example, the prefix "re-" for "rewrite" means "again", and the suffix "-ful" for "beautiful" means "full of", "aquarium". (Aquarium / Aquarium) The stem "aqua" means "water".

The following is a recommended site for a collection of commonly used prefixes, suffixes, and stems.

◆ Common Prefixes, Suffixes and Roots (common prefixes, suffixes, stems)

In addition, "Tsumugu English Words" (Kawaijuku SERIES) clearly shows the image of the meaning of the word parts, and is useful for memorizing derivative words and related words.

Efficient study by utilizing the function of words and the latest tools

"Memorization of thick vocabulary" was the traditional method of studying English words, but here we have introduced a study method that is more efficient and dramatically improves vocabulary. By making good use of the nature of the word itself, such as etymology and collocation, it is possible to memorize without waste. At the same time, I want to make good use of tools unique to the information society, such as Google image search and many news sites.

The most important thing is that English words are just a means for living English. It is valuable to be able to communicate through actual English conversation. By enjoying English conversation while cultivating vocabulary with apps etc., I want to proceed efficiently without feeling painful in studying.