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Improving Your Vocabulary

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“The most important thing is to read as much as you can, like I did. It will give you an understanding of what makes good writing and it will enlarge your vocabulary.”

~J. K. Rowling

Improving your vocabulary does not merely mean that you can recognize new words. It means the ability to understand these words when you encounter them in your reading an the ability to use them in writing an in conversation.

You do not have to look up in the dictionary every word you do not understand. Very often, you can get the meaning from the context of the sentence where the word is found.

Context clues indicate which of the possible meanings of a word is intended by the writer or speaker.

Context clue 1. Definition

You must try to fulfill your oath because it is a solemn promise.

Notice that solemn promise defines oath.

Context clue 2. Restatement

The result of the investigation is unpredictable. No one knows what the result will be.

When no knows what the result will be, the result is unpredictable.

Context clue 3. Example

She went into seclusion. No one came to see her, and she refused to see anyone.

The two details that follow are examples of what seclusion means.

Context clue 4. Multiple meanings, depending on neighboring words

a. This figure is a square. (geometrical figure)

b. Let us give him a square meal. (satisfying meal)

c. Try to square yourself. (adjust or set yourself right)

d. They will perform a square dance. ( a kind of dance)

Square here is used with different meaning in each sentence.


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Mary Jane

Mary Jane Go has been teaching English for over 13 years. She believes that it is very important to learn English and learn it by heart. For her, it's always the right time for a dance party and that hanging out with friends is indispensable.

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