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HOW TO IMPROVE ENGLISH VOCABULARY – LEARN ENGLISH LIVE 25 WITH STEVE FORD

 

This week I have a great question from an online English learner from Brazil about: although, even though and though. When you first learn how to use these words in an English course, they may seem easy, but as you will learn after watching my lesson this is not always the case. There are small differences between all three and I would like you to think of the three of them as brothers with differences and similarities. So the first two brothers are virtually twins: although and even though. As you can see from the picture below, these two brothers look and act almost the same. However, even though is a little more “emphatic”. There is a sample dialogue in my lesson to give you a better idea.

Now we move onto the youngest brother: though. It’s already difficult for English learners to pronounce this word. Now we have to learn the many ways this youngest brother works. You see “though” for many years has been considered to be informal and incorrect in writing. However, this is now changing and “though” is being used more and more in writing and speaking to mean the same thing as “although” and “even though”. Now remembering that “though” is the youngest brother, he tends to be a rebel and does things that others would never expect. You will find out in my lesson how much “though” is used in different ways in English.

  

 

 

HOW TO IMPROVE ENGLISH VOCABULARY – LEARN ENGLISH LIVE 24 WITH STEVE FORD

 

So my question in my lesson comes from an English learner from Turkey who is interested in tips on how to memorize new vocabulary. Flashcards are certainly a great way to remember new vocabulary and with technology, we can make flashcards which are free to use on iphones and smartphones. In my video lesson,  I give a demonstration of one of these free apps called Chegg Flashcard app which you can download for iphone here

Another great tip I give in my lesson is on the many ways you can remember new vocabulary by creating captions or speech bubbles with your own pictures or pictures you find on the internet. This is a particularly cool tool and it is free. You can see that i was able to quickly make a funny caption for my cat who is very ‘laid-back” meaning relaxed and easygoing. The great thing about this tool is that you can download the picture you create. It works on desktops and iphone/smartphone/ipad/tablet. Check it out: here

To improve your vocabulary, in my lesson I talk about how we can use the word “deal” in many different ways in English. We use “deal with” all of the time and it means to resolve, handle or cope. That is one of the most popular meanings for deal.

To say that something is not a problem or unimportant, many native speakers will use “it’s no big deal”. So if you offer a ride to someone and they say, “are you sure? Isn’t that going to be a lot of gas and time that you will waste?”, you could say, “don’t worry, no big deal”. You could also say, “it’s not a big deal”. 

In many other languages when you exaggerate the importance of a problem, you can say to “make a tempest in a teapot”. This expression is not nearly as popular as the one I explain in my lesson: make a big deal out of something. I give a few examples in my lesson and I also have explained it previously in my lesson

HOW TO SPEAK ENGLISH FAST – LEARN ENGLISH LIVE 23 WITH STEVE FORD

There is a very effective tool I use to remember new vocabulary from other languages: visualization. So as you will hear me explain in my lesson, I learned the word “ponimat” in Russian and to remember it I imagine a pony sitting on a mat(small carpet). The pony is saying, “I don’t understand”. You can use this especially for words that are harder to remember. These are part of memorization tricks called mnemonics.

This is another trick I developed to remember new vocabulary. You simply try to find words in your own language that sound almost the same as the word or phrase you are trying to remember. One for me was when I was learning Portuguese. When they say, “é verdade”, I tried remembering the pronunciation by associating it with the sounds of the words in English: ever daddy. This can make learning new sounds a lot of fun and I hope you can use it too! English is much easier when you can start to understand the lyrics to a song. You see music has a special quality about it because you can sing it over and over again without getting bored. The same cannot be said about trying to memorize long lists of vocabulary. Oh how boring! If you are a basic to intermediate learner of English, I highly suggest you listen to slower love songs since you will be able to follow the lyrics more easily.

 

In order to help my English learner Renato from Brazil, who will be studying at an English school in the USA and attending a business meeting, I gave him a few tips.Most if not all English learners are scared that their English isn’t good enough to be understood by native speakers. Most students practice their English with non-native speakers and if they are lucky, they will have a few minutes to talk to their teacher who is perhaps a native speaker of English. Quite often English courses teach textbook English which in fact is not the way English is spoken in native English speaking countries like the USA and Canada. However, there is some good news for non-native speakers visiting the biggest cities in North America: most native speakers are used to speaking with and understanding non-native speakers because the population rate of immigrants is high. Check out some examples:

Of course visiting a big North American city as a tourist is one thing and coming here on business is entirely different. One tip I give in my lesson is about “inside jokes”. These are often jokes that are only understood by people who are from the same country or even state/province or city. This is not something unique to English speaking countries as I also experienced this when living in Brazil and France.