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  1. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 2
    #1

    How to improve my vocabulary?

    When I do language tests I usually have the same problem - wrong word choosing. I tried to read books in English, magazines and newspapers. But every time I see the part like "read the text below and think of the word which best fits each space" I get upset, because 90% of my answers are incorrect. For example, "Choose the right word: She has such a great singing voice. I know she’ll be a _____________ success. Answers: A.big. B.high. C.large. D.popular". I am confused what to choose. I doubt between A and C, but maybe B? Basically, I haven't met such a word combination before, so I don't know what to choose. And the problem of most of such questions is that I haven't met such word combinations and phrases. So, please, would you recommend me the book that can teach me how to choose the right word combination? What can you recommend me to do? Learning grammar books is not an option, because grammar tests I usually pass successfully, but word choosing part confuses me much.

    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • Laos

    • Join Date: Nov 2002
    • Posts: 57,903
    #2

    Re: How to improve my vocabulary?

    Getting to know collocations - words that commonly go together - is something that takes time. However, there are sites that you can use that will search language databases for you and will show you the more common usages:

    http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
    http://corpus.byu.edu/bnc/
    https://books.google.com/ngrams

  2. Newbie
    Student or Learner
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • Polish
      • Home Country:
      • Poland
      • Current Location:
      • Poland

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 2
    #3

    Re: How to improve my vocabulary?

    Maybe there are a textbook about such collocations? On internet I found only "The Oxford Collocations Dictionary". Could you please recommend more books, textbooks or tutorials about word collocation and combination?

  3. Just Joined
    English Teacher
    • Member Info
      • Native Language:
      • English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
      • Current Location:
      • India

    • Join Date: Dec 2015
    • Posts: 1
    #4

    Re: How to improve my vocabulary?

    Whenever you're reading, make a habit of looking up words you're not familiar with.. even if you have seen it before, it doesn't hurt. I hear doing this while reading academic work is really beneficial, but that's your call.

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