One of the most common reasons that students take online lessons is to improve their vocabulary. Taking online sessions with a native speaker can expose you to new words, phrases and idioms and can give you practice by trying them out in your own speech. Whether you are studying for the IELTS exam or simply want to improve your speaking and conversation skills, here are some of my favorite links from around the web to expand your vocabulary:
Vocabulary Resources for ESL
- 4 Useful Ways of Describing People in English (FluentU) – This article offers vocabulary to describe people’s appearance, mannerisms, character traits and emotions. (Here’s a good follow up worksheet to test yourself!)
- 35 English words you’re probably getting wrong (The Guardian) – Elimintes the confusion over more advanced vocabulary words like continual/continuous, affect/effect, compose/comprise.
- Playful Learning: 56 Phrasal Verbs to Easily Grow Your Vocab (FluentU) – Phrasal verbs are tricky, but this article breaks them down with definitions and examples to help you master some of the most common combinations.
- Common Idioms relating to FOOD (MMMEnglish) – Emma from MMMEnglish explains expressions and idioms related to food.
- MacMillan Dictionary Blog’s Word of the Day – Learn one new word each day with this blog. There are some other interesting features as well including words in the news, language tips and grammar.
- Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries – This is my favorite of the online dictionaries on offer. Besides definitions, part of speech (including countable/uncountable for nouns), you can hear pronunciation in both British English and American English.
- IELTS Vocabulary by Topic – Useful in general, but especially if you are studying for the IELTS exam.
Techniques for studying ESL Vocabulary
Everyone learns differently so it’s often a matter of experimenting and learning which techniques work best for you. Here are a few of my favorite techniques for studying vocabulary. Feel free to leave yours in the comments below!
- Mind Mapping – Mind maps are a great way to organize lists, including vocabulary. This article has a great section about how to use a mind map to study vocabulary (and grammar too)! The cool thing about a mind map is it can be super low-tech with just a pen and a paper or you can search for websites and smartphone apps to help you create fancy ones. Whatever works for you!
- Flash Cards – many students love the traditional method of studying wtih flash cards. Grab a stack of blank index cards and write the word you need to study on one side and the definition on the other. Carry them with you and use them to test yourself whenever you have a minute or two. If you have a mobile phone, you might also try the website and smartphone app called Quizlet to help you save flashcards to practice later. Students on Verbling can also make flashcards with words from your lessons.
Need help trying to expand your vocabulary?
- For help with your studies and speaking practice, you can find me on Verbling so we can work together on your English learning goals! I’m happy to help you gain confidence in speaking, to study for immigration or exams like IELTS and TOEIC, to learn practical phrases for business, travel, and of course food. (I’ve even got a whole course designed around learning English through talking about food!)
- If you simply want to improve your conversation skills and don’t need structured lessons, try Cambly! This app connects you with native speakers so you can improve your fluency. You can find my current schedule on my Cambly profile if you’d like to make a reservation with me, or browse for any tutor who is available online! (Use the promo code ShoyuSugar or click here to get 20 minutes free to test Cambly out for yourself.)