More on Remembering New Vocabulary

One of the biggest problems many language learners  have is remembering and retaining new vocabulary. Students often talk to me about keeping notebooks and lists of new vocabulary they come across and yet  finding it very difficult to remember or to use these new words or expressions. If this is a problem you’re having then this link may be very helpful for you. As always, with language acquisition, the more you can personalise it, make it relevant to you, the more you can relate things to your life and your interests the easier it will be to remember and to use them.  http://www.strategiesinlanguagelearning.com/improve-your-language-learning/

Remembering New Vocabulary

Here is a really excellent blog on language acquisition. This post makes some very useful suggestions about how to remember new vocabulary…..it’s all about context!!!! Have a look at this: http://www.lingholic.com/how-to-remember-words-when-learning-a-language/

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Frequently Confused Words #2 Make or Do?

Another difficult area, for many non native speakers, is working out when to use make or do. The problem is that they have very similar meanings, but they do have very different uses.
Do is used when we are talking about general and daily activities and when no physical object is produced.

What are you doing? I’m doing the housework.

I really hate doing the ironing.

I wish I didn’t have to do it.

Examples: Do the washing up

Do my homework

Do our jobs

We also often use do with, nothing, everything, anything, something.

It’s my day off tomorrow, would you like to do something?

Does anything really matter?

I’ve done everything you asked me to do

Make, on the other hand, is very often used when we are talking about creating, building or constructing something that we can actually touch or see.

I am making breakfast/lunch/supper                                                                          

He made a really beautiful box in his woodwork class

My grandmother used to make her own clothes.


Do and make are also used with a large number of set expressions, (collocations) the problem is (rather like a lot of things in English!!!) there are no rules to help you decide and so these just have to be learnt.

Follow this link to see a list of set expressions and to try out some exercises.

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Frequently Confused Words #1 Tell and Say

For my first post I want to try to help you to understand when and how to use tell and say . This is often a big problem for many English learners.

So, when to use tell? Tell is used for instructions and information and we usually say who is told (a personal object) as in this example:  told Peter to finish his homework (instruction) and here’s another Please tell him I will be late (information).

We tell someone something.

Also, we tell the time, tell a story, tell a lie, tell the truth, tell a joke and tell the difference.

The teacher told a story to the class

I was telling a joke to Emma

If you tell the truth he will understand


Say is more often used in direct speech and to report someone’s words and is often used without a personal object, for example:he said it was my last chance.

What did you say? I  said the exam will take 2 hours.

When a personal object is used say is always followed by ‘to’I said to him that we will be leaving at 9.00pm. & Please say to Tom; I’ll call him when I return

Say is used to ask about language: How do you say that in French?

Also, we say hello, goodbye, please, thank you, yes, no, Happy Birthday, congratulations.

Now why not follow this link to practice using say and tell?