Sim­ple ways to im­prove your English

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Higher Education -

WHEN speak­ing to a small group of peo­ple, we tend to stick to the same sub­jects, us­ing the same vo­cab­u­lary. Here are some tips to help you get out of the rut.

To ex­pand your vo­cab­u­lary, learn syn­onyms.

One of the joys of English is that there are lots of syn­onyms, words that ap­pear to mean the same but that are slightly dif­fer­ent in mean­ing.

“Big” for ex­am­ple is a good gen­eral word but there’s also “enor­mous” which is “ex­tra big” and “gi­gan­tic” which is “re­ally, re­ally big”.

When you have a good grasp of the dif­fer­ences, you can con­vey sub­tleties bet­ter. To broaden your vo­cab­u­lary, make a list of three syn­onyms and un­der­stand how they’re dif­fer­ent. Then use them at least once a day.

To im­prove flu­ency, use com­mon ex­pres­sions.

For ex­am­ple, in English you might say, “He’s so tight, he squeaks when he walks” mean­ing some­one is a cheap­skate. For this, it helps to get hold of an id­iom’s dic­tio­nary. Th­ese do ex­ist on­line but do be care­ful be­cause many in­clude street slang that re­ally isn’t ac­cept­able in any nor­mal kind of so­cial sit­u­a­tion.

Make a list of three things that go to­gether, like three ex­pres­sions that com­ment on some­one’s char­ac­ter.

For ex­am­ple, a per­son can be “a go-getter” mean­ing some­one who is goal driven, and has “the gift of the gab” mean­ing they are per­sua­sive speak­ers. Then look around and ap­ply th­ese phrases in as many con­ver­sa­tions are you can, un­til it feels nat­u­ral.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.