How to learn new words in English? A native speaker’s approach

May 28, 2019English and Study Tips, Smart Brains Spotlight


How to learn new words in English? A native speaker’s approach


Lisa Biskup


Smart Brains Spotlight




You learn something new every day; what did you learn today?

The topic for today is “How to learn new words in English?“.

Learning should be for life. Every moment of every day we are being presented with new and important lessons.

Here we will present you one handpicked new and important lesson every day from smart brains and experts around the world.

Today we learned about “How to learn new words in English? A native speaker’s approach.  Let Lisa Biskup shows you how native speaker learn new words in English which you can apply to your learning.

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Maricel Galon Tan

Smart Brains Spotlight Selection


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How to learn new words in English

How to learn new words in English | Lisa Biskup


How to learn new words in English? A native speaker’s approach


Lisa Biskup


How can I become fluent in English?


How to learn new words and phrases faster in English?


Thank you, Youtube – Antonia Romaker – English and Russian online.


How to learn new words in English? A native speaker’s approach


Answer by Lisa Biskup (Teacher, writer, editor, entrepreneur, language lover). All credit goes to Lisa Biskup, Thank you!


How to learn new words in English 6.5/10


How to learn new words in English? A native speaker’s approach



I used to teach grades 4-6. I have 3 children (ages 11, 14, and 16). I have spent the last 16 years around a bunch of homeschoolers of all ages.


Children learn new words by being exposed to them over and over again within a context (life). Certainly some words will be explained outright by a parent, sibling, friend or teacher and many words they will just figure out the meaning of after hearing them within a context many, many times.


I even learn new words from my kids, especially words that are specific to things that they like that I don’t know much about, such as words related to video games like Minecraft or Black Ops.


Just think about how you learn new words in your own language, it’s probably the same.


Reading – if you are reading something that doesn’t have too many unknown words, then you can pick up the few unknown words based on the context. You may have to read it (see the word used) in a variety of contexts, multiple times to really understand it and be able to use it. If you are reading something that is way over your head (too difficult), then it won’t be a great way to learn new words. Kids learn new words over time and by the time they are around 18, they know quite a few words. If they have been exposed to a wide variety of reading materials, they know tens of thousands of words related to different subject areas.


Watching TV and movies – My kids pick up all sorts of new words by watching TV shows and movies. They hear a word they don’t know, they are interested in the subject and so they are highly motivated to learn it. They may ask others (usually other kids) or just watch the show over and over again until they figure it out, and then they start using it. If they use it incorrectly, someone may give them feedback about that.


Listening to music – They learn a lot of new words from songs. At first they have no idea what they are saying, but eventually, if they are interested, they ask around or somehow figure it out based on the context. It may take them quite a while to figure out the real meaning, even if they have heard the word many times.


Vocabulary study – In school most students are required to look up the definition of words, but this isn’t the most effective way to really learn new words. It is much better to learn new words in a context, like by researching a topic for a presentation or working on a project about a specific historical time period or event or animal or location, etc.


As an ESL student, a great way to learn new words is to read and listen widely (to a wide variety of topics). I create free podcasts for ESL students which cover a range of topics. Podcast


I also teach Reading Classes on Verbling
You can watch some of those videos on YouTube for free. Verbling Teacher Lisa


There are two mistake ESL students make which definitely slows down the progress of learning new words.


1. You read or listen to material that is too difficult. If you are reading articles with more than 20 words that you don’t know, then it is

definitely too difficult. Find something that you MOSTLY understand and learn a few words at a time.
Or find someone you can work with that will help make the material more comprehensible to you without you having to look up all those words.


2. You move on to new material too quickly. Stick with a subject matter for a while. Read one article or listen to one podcast and repeat it over and over again. Repetition is really important.


If you get bored reading the same article over 10 times or listening to something 10 times, then find something else to read or listen to but related to the same topic. For example, become obsessed with a movie and read all the reviews about the movie, watch the movie a couple of times and read interviews with the actors. You will learn new words and since they will be repeated over and over again, you will really learn them.


How to learn new words in English Reference: Lisa Biskup. “How do native English speakers learn new English words?”  originally appeared on Quora, the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

How to learn new words in English | Other Great Tips


How to learn new words in English Use New Words


Use a word immediately after you learn it. Try to make a game out of using a new word as soon as you learn it. Every day, try to slip in a new word into the conversation, a journal entry, an assignment or an email to a friend. Do this as often as possible, and repeat the word to yourself.


Thank you, Word Counter – Count Words & Correct Writing.

How to learn new words in English Group similar English words together


Your best way to learn English vocabulary: group similar English words together.

As we already mentioned, it is better (and easier) to learn new vocabulary words by giving them some context. One way to do this is to remember words in a sentence. This is a great option because you will not only know the word, but you will also know exactly how to use it in conversation.

Another easy way to learn English vocabulary is to remember words by groups. If you just learned the word “humongous” (very large), you can memorize it by thinking of a group of words getting bigger and bigger—large, huge, humongous. This also gives the chance to learn even more words at the same time.

For example: large, humongous, gargantuan. What do you think “gargantuan” means?


Thank you, FluentU – Language Immersion Online | Learn a Language with Videos.

How to learn new words in English Use


Ditch the flash cards and stop memorizing definitions. teaches you words by systematically exposing you to a wide array of question types and activities that will help you understand all the meanings and nuances of every word you’re learning.

Even after you’ve achieved mastery, we’ll continue to reinforce what you have learned to make sure that it all stays fresh in your memory.


Thank you, – helps you learn new words, play games that improve your vocabulary, and explore language.

How to learn new words in English Visualise what the word or phrase looks like


Drawing what the word means, either on paper or in your imagination, will help you recall the meaning of the word whenever you hear it. This method works well with idioms, such as ‘to keep one’s mouth shut’ (informal), meaning, ‘to not talk about something’.

Tip: In addition to the image of the word, look at word associations in the visual dictionary and thesaurus Visuwords.


Thank you, British Council – The British Council is a British organisation specialising in international cultural and educational opportunities

How to learn new words in English Engage in conversations


Simply talking with other people can help you learn discover new words. As with reading, once you hear a new word, remember to jot it down so that you can study it later — and then slowly add the new word to your vocabulary.


Thank you, Enhance My Vocabulary – Free site for anyone who wants to increase, strengthen, enhance your vocabulary skills, for personal, professional, career, or college test-prep success.



Every time you learn a new, useful word or phrase — be it while speaking with someone, watching a movie, or reading a book — make sure that you store the information on your phone or a notebook you keep in your pocket. This way you can review your recorded information whenever you have a free moment.


Thank you, babbel – Babbel is the new way to learn a foreign language. The comprehensive learning system combines effective education methods with state-of-the-art technology.

 Learn the word in context


It’s no use learning a list of new words. Instead, when you find a new word, you should learn the whole sentence it appears in. Don’t learn the word in isolation, learn the word in context. You’ll find it easier to remember the word and how to use it by remembering an example sentence. Write the phrase down in a notebook. Make your own mini-dictionary of new words and refer to it whenever possible. Try to use the new word in conversation or when speaking.


Thank you, EC English – EC English offers tailored language course shaped to deliver the solutions you’re looking for. Learn to work, to pass exams or just for the sake of it.

 Use relate words


If you just learned the word “care”, don’t stop there! Use a dictionary or the internet to find derivatives of that word, and expressions that use it.

For example: careful, carefree, careless, take care! See? You started with one word but quickly learned four more, and because their meaning is related, it is easier to understand and remember what each one means.


Thank you, Magoosh – Affordable, effective, and enjoyable online test prep for the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, SAT, ACT, LSAT, MCAT, IELTS, and Praxis. Get a better score, guaranteed!


If you think about it, our lives are an endless pursuit of answers and new questions. So how can YOU take action to ensure that your learning never comes to an end?


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