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Vocabulary and Grammar

Vocabulary is a fundamental building block; when learning a language you are constantly extending your understanding and use of words. This involves not only looking up new words in a dictionary, but also making a conscious effort to remember them (e.g. while reading), as well as revising vocabulary on a regular basis. You can do this either by recording new words in a vocabulary notebook, on vocabulary flashcards, or in a special app; what is important is that you revise regularly until you know a word well.

Knowing a word well means you

  • recognise it when reading
  • recognise it when listening
  • know how to pronounce it
  • know how to spell it
  • know how to explain the meaning
  • know how to use it correctly
  • remember it by yourself, spontaneously, when needed

Identify the words that are most important for you to know how to use, and those it is sufficient to recognise. The Academic Word List is a compilation of vocabulary specifically useful for academic writers and students.

The Longman Dictionary is installed on the computers in the Global Study Lounge; you can use this to look up new words, learn pronunciation, and to see words in context.

There are Spelling & Pronunciation Folders available in the Global Study Lounge. These are resources written by ISLI staff members that will help you practise spelling and word recognition while listening. Ask a staff member for more information on how to use these.

There are also books in the Global Study Lounge to help you develop your vocabulary.

One of these, 'Vocabulary', by Colin Campbell, was written with Pre-sessional students in mind.

This book will give you systematic practice in using words that commonly occur in academic texts.

Search our catalogue using the search box on the right side
of the screen to find more vocabulary and grammar resources.

Useful links for vocabulary

  • SKELL is an extremely useful tool if you want to find out HOW to use a word in a sentence. Simply type it into SKELL and study the different examples, lists of words which occur frequently together with the searched word or words used in similar contexts.
  • Oxford Collotation Dictionary will help if you are not sure which words go together in English.
  • Visit the Word Classes link for useful work on word classes.
  • This next link is related to Multiple Meaning Words, to help you extend your range of general vocabulary rather than academic vocabulary.
  • The English We Speak introduces common English words, phrases and idioms used by native speakers. In under 3 minutes, it gives learners 'must have' phrases that can be heard in everyday conversation.

Useful links for grammar

See Also

Visit the International Study and Language Institute (ISLI) website for information on EAP courses.

Things to do now

Choose another subject specific lecture by following the link at the bottom of the page.