Learning Vocabulary and Grammar - Top Tips and Tricks

Learning Vocabulary and Grammar - Top Tips and Tricks

As a languages student, I've accumulated a lot of handy ideas and suggestions for learning vocabulary and grammar over the past few years. Here are just a few of the things I do to make learning vocabulary and grammar easier on myself, especially as I get into more learning-heavy areas of my course. 

1. First of all, think about the quantity of what you have to learn. If it's just a few key irregular verbs, or a handful of words, then maybe look at using revision cards. These are for more handy the less of them you have, so try and keep these for small things. You don't want to end up with a stack of about 500 cards in the end of it all!

With your revision cards, it's also useful to get yourself a box or pot to keep them in - separate them by gender or patterns in endings, whatever will help you most when you're looking to revise a specific set. 

2. If you do need to learn more, I'd recommend small notebooks or jotters. You can buy these very cheaply in your local shops, depending on what paper size you prefer. I normally go for A6, as they're easy to slip into the side pocket of your bag and don't take up too much space.

For these, maybe get one for your vocabulary and one for your grammar, so that whatever you need is easily findable. If you've got time and the motivation, putting vocabulary in alphabetical or subject order will definitely save time when you just want to find one or two words. 

3. If you're ever stuck looking for a word that you don't know, make a note of it and look it up when you have time. Make sure you get around to it though, set a reminder on your phone if need be. I don't have a good dictionary at home yet so I normally wait until I get to college, and then I look what I need up there. 

4. Yes, yes, I know they say Google Translate is no good, but if you know what you're doing it can be useful. If you just want one word, or a quick refresher of the meaning of something you've written down, it is far easier to use and find. You literally just have to type it into Google, and if you're someone like me who likes convenience, then use it. 

5. It's only really good for single words though. Do look into getting at least a half-decent dictionary for your desk, or put in extra effort and use wordreference.com or Linguee. These two give you more synonyms, so although it takes longer to find what you want, if you want to find the rough translation for an idiom then it's your man. 

6. I use a website called quizlet.com to learn my vocabulary and verbs - it's a flashcard based learning software, that's completely free to use. I was introduced to this by my German tutor, but it's really useful for learning any other language too, or even just specialist vocabulary in your native language. It's like a set of online revision cards, so it's cheaper, better for the environment and it takes up less space. 

I hope these hints and tips were useful to you, and if you have any other suggestions or tricks that I've missed, please let me know!

Published by Ellie Crowson-Jeffery

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