Podcast – Nuance


Today’s podcast is about nuance, which is the slight difference in meaning between words. It can be a bit tricky sometimes. I’ve explained some that are to do with clothes.

Nuance- 8th October 2014

The podcast is also available in the iTunes Store by searching for Get Great English or clicking here.

Also, you can stream it on Stitcher here or in the sidebar.

Talk About the Paranormal

I don’t believe in ghosts or anything like that but sometimes you get caught up in talk about the paranormal (things that appear real but don’t have a real explanation). Here is some vocabulary to talk about it. It might come in handy for Halloween next month.

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Become a ‘Specialist’ to Improve Your Vocabulary


Previously I’ve written about studying what you find interesting. This has built-in motivation and will help you talk about the things you do every day.

However, sometimes you want to learn new things. To do this, become a ‘specialist’. Focus on a topic and learn vocabulary about it by listening and reading about it. This may be a long project, definitely more than one week. Don’t worry about spending too much time on this project; worry about whether it is interesting enough.

Brainstorm vocabulary ideas first

What words do you think you are going to read/hear? Perhaps it would be a good first step to use a dictionary to translate from your first language to English if you don’t have any ideas at all.

Take notes while you read and listen

Try to write what you read or heard in your own words. Do you agree with it? Will you try out the idea that you read about or heard?

Make word cards for new vocabulary

New vocabulary from any reading or listening should go onto word cards. You might also want to add these new words to a glossary, a list of specialist words and what they mean.

Carry on until you are a ‘specialist’

You might want to start a new specialist topic while you are in the middle of another. It’s possible but it is a lot of work. Why not write it down and start it when you feel you know enough about your current topic. You know when you have finished if you feel you have improved your vocabulary enough to tell your friends about your specialist topic in English.

From my own experiences I have found this to work, while studying photography, running and fitness training in Japanese. All are really fun, as is my new specialism, psychology.

Learn Word Families to Boost Vocabulary


It is important to know word families for standardized tests like TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS and Eiken. However, word families are not only important for those tests; they give you the ability to choose a different form of a word you know that is similar to a word you are trying to remember but cannot.

In yesterday’s post I said that you should learn vocabulary you are interested in. I think everybody reading this is interested in studying English so let’s use some language about English as an example:

verbal (adjective) – “Don’t just write English, be verbal. You need to speak, too.”
verbally (adverb) – “He is good at communicating verbally but his writing is unclear.”
verbalise/verbalize (verb) – “Babies try to verbalise different things, often unsuccessfully.”
verbalisation/verbalization (noun) – “Verbalisation has been a problem for me while trying to use my second language.”

Why not add these to your word cards?

What vocabulary is important?


Some students worry about the vocabulary that they should make notes of and really try to learn. What vocabulary is important?

There is no easy answer because it depends on the person. If you use English mainly at work, learn vocabulary by listening to podcasts or reading about your industry in English. If you use English with friends, try doing the same thing about your hobbies and your friends’ hobbies too.

If you already know the vocabulary related to your main interests, try reading about things you suddenly become interested in with a quick internet search. Add to that with a podcast search and you should have plenty to work with.

Remember to use word cards and read tomorrow for an easy way to build word power.