look up every word you don't understand?

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inquisitive5

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Hello everyone, I'm so glad I found this great site. Anyways, I'm trying to improve my English and I have started reading books but I noticed there's a lot of words I come across that are new to me. So my question is, if I can't figure the word out through context(which most of the time I can't) should I immediately look it up in a dictionary or skip the words and keep on reading? On each page there will be about 3-6 words I won't get.
 

billmcd

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Take the time to look it/them up.
 

francis 7

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HI!
It's a matter of time whether you look them up or not. From the bottom of my heart, I suggest you should take the time to look them up, understand them and read the passage again. Doing that, you will know more words and obviously their collocations in context(very important).:-D

regards
 

caronmi

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hi~ the same problem happens on me,too. i think it depends on your English level. in junior high school, I used to look up every word when reading, which enlarged my vocabulary a lot, and laid a good foundation for my further study.
but i found my time was not enough in high school and university, since there were so many extensive reading materials for me, and in each line there were about 3 words I competely didn't know. later, i began to look up only key words that really hinder my understanding of the whole passage, or words i was interested in. Or else, even though I looked them all up, they leave me no impression the next time I come across them. and the frequent pause in reading interruptes me and makes me even more confused about the passage.
As for your case, 3-6 words are no big deal. I suggest that you figure them out, but not as soon as you see them. Underline the new words, finish reading at least one paragraph, and then look the words up, read it again. That's my way of intensive reading.
let's work hard together~;-)
 
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If it's an online text, you can download a dictionary tool that defines words by placing your mouse over it. I use such software to read Chinese texts. It's very convenient for mastering a new language.
 

inquisitive5

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I will be looking up every word that I don't understand for now on. That dictionary tool sounds brilliant, what an awesome idea. Thanks to all, I really appreciate it.
 

euncu

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Here's my technique;

First off get an blank paper and while reading write down the words you don't know. Read a couple of pages (maybe a chapter long)

Secondly, get a notebook, a dictionary in print or an online one and two pencils(one is black or blue, the other is red.) Now look up the words starting from the first one, and write down their definitions (but not all of the definitions of the word, just the one or ones you think fit the context) on the notebook.
Do this until you have crossed every words off on your list. And read the same pages again but this time with the aid of your notebook. Reiterate the process for the remaining pages. Here is the layout of a page of that notebook.;

The name of the book or the magazine.
(If it is a magazine or newspaper, write here the issue number or the date.)
P. X

The word (The pronunciation in IPA) : (X) [X is taken from the dictionary, which represents the closest definition that fits in the context ] y.[y is also taken from the dictionary, which identifies the word whether it is a adj. or adv. or noun etc. ] The definition.

The second word......
......

I bet there are lots of different techniques, and each of them would be of use
even there may more useful ones but I just wanted to tell you about mine.
 

crazYgeeK

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Hi, I think it depends on your aims when reading English book. If you read for understanding what in the books, you should try to figure out the meaning of new words first, at last when you can't do it, so look up them quickly to know their meanings without need to grasp all the meanings of the word at that time, remember that you are reading comprehensively not learning more new words. So concentrate on the contents of the book not the new words.
However, when reading to learn more new words as many as possible, you should look up the new words well to know them deeply.
Thanks
 

TheParser

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Hello everyone, I'm so glad I found this great site. Anyways, I'm trying to improve my English and I have started reading books but I noticed there's a lot of words I come across that are new to me. So my question is, if I can't figure the word out through context(which most of the time I can't) should I immediately look it up in a dictionary or skip the words and keep on reading? On each page there will be about 3-6 words I won't get.

***** NOT A TEACHER *****

Hello, Inquisitive.

(1) When I read something in English (or in a foreign language), I

simply circle any word that I do not know and keep reading until

the end of the selection.

(2) I then look up a few of the circled words -- especially, of course,

those words that were repeatedly used in the selection.

(3) If I try to stop each time I come to an unknown word, it

destroys my enjoyment, and I also find that I will soon forget the

meaning of those words.

(4) I would rather concentrate on learning one word well than

stuffing my head with 10 new words, which I'll just forget.

(5) Also, I think that after you have chosen one or two words

for the day, you should give them a lot of attention:

(a) Of course, you want to know their meaning.

(b) Use a good dictionary to find out its etymology. Where does the

word come from? Depending on your native language, sometimes you

will discover that the English word is closely related to a word in a

language familiar to you.

(c) Write a sentence using that word.

(d) Read an English-language newspaper, and try looking for that word

in some article. If you are consciously looking for a particular word,

you will often find it.

(e) I guess what I am trying to say is: Quality is better than quantity.

***** Thank you *****
 

Ouisch

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When I was younger I used to enjoy reading mystery novels that were technically several years ahead of my "reading level." That is, a lot of the words used in the books were ones we hadn't learned in school yet, or were not words commonly used by children my age. I remember looking up from my book a few times and asking my Dad "What does xxxxx mean?" Instead of just telling me, he'd get up from his chair, go to the bookshelf, get the dictionary and then hand it to me. "Look it up," he'd always say, "You'll never learn if you don't look it up." His response was the same when I was doing homework and (looking for a shortcut) would ask something like "What is the capital of Uruguay?" He would fetch the Almanac and hand it to me with the usual instruction: "Look it up."

It was tedious and frustrating at the time, but Dad was right - I learned more and remembered what I'd learned when I actually looked it up and researched it myself. :)
 
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Perhaps purchasing a flashcard set that covers 5000 of the most common collegiate words would be helpful. A college dictionary is also a great idea.
 
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