How to Learn All the Vocabulary You Need

One question I get frequently on email is: “Do you talk about phrasal verbs in your lessons?”

A phrasal verb is sometimes called a two-word verb, such as “to put down” or “to get out” or “to kick (someone) out.”

English has lots of these phrasal or two-word verbs, and they can be very confusing to people trying to acquire (learn) the language.

Let me respond to this question in two ways.

First, many people want a “systematic” or structured review of all of the most important phrasal verbs in English.

I understand this desire to be thorough and organized in your learning.

But that’s not the best way to pick up new vocabulary.

Yes, you could try to memorize verbs the way many English courses try to teach you, one word at a time.

But that one-by-one approach has been found by several research studies to be the least efficient use of your time, the worst use of your time.

Why is this so?

To understand why trying to memorize vocabulary is not a good idea, you have to understand a little about how we improve our language proficiency.

I don’t have time to cover everything on a blog post, but I created a five-page, Special Report that explains it. You can get that for FREE here.

If you haven’t read this, get it now and read it.

Here’s the short answer: You pick up English most effectively when you are focused on understanding what you are listening to or reading, not when you “study” or try to memorize individual parts of English (vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and so forth).

Listening and reading. Those are your keys to success in English.

For listening, there’s nothing better than our own Unlimited English membership, of course! We have more than 500 hours of interesting audio to listen to.

For reading, select anything you’d like, as long as (a) you can understand most of it (over 90%), and (b) you enjoy reading it.

If you don’t enjoy it, you won’t keep reading it!

Reading has been shown in studies to be up to 10 times more effective than traditional vocabulary teaching, such as memorizing words.

Let me repeat that: Reading is up to 10 times faster than any other typical approach to expanding (growing; increasing) your vocabulary, including flash cards, computer programs, and websites with lots of “vocabulary” exercises.

You don’t have to try to remember new words when you read. In fact, stopping to write down a new word or forcing yourself to “memorize” it will only slow you down.

Just keep reading.

Over time, with enough listening and reading, you’ll pick up all the vocabulary you need.

Second, we DO talk about phrasal verbs, in almost every one of our Daily and Cultural English lessons!

For example, in Daily English 322 – Picking Up a Rental Car, we talk about all of these phrasal verbs: to pick up, to take advantage, and to stick to (something).

In our Cultural English 112 lesson, we talk about the phrasal verbs to cover up and to carry out.

Even more phrasal verbs are typically found in our Learning Guide under the sections What Else Does it Mean? and Cultural Note.

We talk about two to three phrasal verbs on nearly every one of our 1800+ lessons.

So if you want to know all of the phrasal verbs in English, now you know what to do: read a lot, and listen to the lessons that come with our Unlimited English membership.


P.S. Get a FREE sample lesson (no money needed) from our Unlimited English membership – SIGN UP BELOW!

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What Will I Learn in My Free Lesson?

Here is just a small part of what you’re going to learn in this free lesson:

  • What “take a rain check” means and how to use it in a conversation . . .
  • The difference between a “recluse” and a “busybody” . . .
  • Why “to fend OFF” means something from “to fend FOR” . . .
  • What it means to “take a rain check,” “keep to yourself,” and “to appoint (someone)” . . .
  • What a social secretary is . . .
  • The best way to use “to sort out” and “to turn down” . . .
  • How to use phrasal verbs like “to settle in” and “to settle down” (they’re not the same!) . . .
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