My name is Emma, and in today's video we are going to talk about learning new words, and
some tips and tricks that can really help you with this.
So, English has one of the world's largest vocabularies, and every year there are more
and more words that come into the English language.
So, every year I learn new words, and every year I hope you learn new words, too.
So, in this video I'm going to talk about how we can really learn all these new words
well, and how we can get a really deep understanding of these words and really know what they mean.
So, to get started, I've drawn a beautiful picture of a guy who kind of looks like Charlie
Brown, and I have here HIS SKULL IS OPENED, and you can see at the top...
I don't know if you realize what that is, but that's his brain.
And the reason I've drawn this is because when we're learning new words, what we're
really doing is we're taking new words and we're putting them into our brains, and we're
storing them in different ways.
So, what we want to do is we want to find the best way that makes our brain really happy
when we're learning these words, because that will help us remember them better, and learn
So, I'm going to talk about maybe a word that I learned recently, and I want you to think
about maybe the last word you learned.
Because that'll help you in this video to think about a word that you have learned recently.
The word I learned recently was "binge-watch", and I'll be talking about this word to give
examples when we talk about how to help your brain learn new English words.
So, there are four areas we're going to be talking about today.
We're going to be talking about meaning and that's, like, you know, understanding a word.
Understanding it, and knowing how to use it and when to use it.
We're going to talk about spelling.
A lot of people don't know this, but spelling is very important when you're learning new
words, and I'll tell you why.
We're going to talk about pronunciation, which is another key and another very important
area of learning new words.
And then the grammar of the words-okay?-which is also very important.
Each of these areas-meaning, spelling, pronunciation, and grammar-each of these are ways your brain
stores a new word.
So that's why each of them is very important.
Your brain, when you learn a new word, it stores it based on the meaning, on the spelling,
on the pronunciation, and on the grammar, so that's why we're going to look at each
of these areas today and think about them when we're learning a new word.
So, let's get started with meaning.
Okay, so the first thing we're going to talk about is a word's meaning.
What does it mean?
So this is, of course, very important when you're learning a new word because, you know,
without knowing the meaning, how can you use the new word, right?
So, I have here some questions that I like to ask myself when I'm learning new words,
because it helps me to think about what's important about the word, and also it helps
me to make more connections with the word, and that will help me remember the word more.
So, first of all, I like to ask myself when I see a word maybe that I kind of know: "How
well do I know this word?
Do I know it really well?
Do I use it all the time already?
Have I never seen this word before?
Maybe I've seen this word before, but I don't know what it means.
Or maybe I kind of know what it means, but I'm not really comfortable with it."
So I usually ask myself, if I see a word: "Have I seen it before?
Can I guess what it means?"
Do I understand the word?
And this is different than: Can I use the word?
Because when we're talking about understanding, we're talking about, you know, reading.
When you look in a book and you see the word written, can you understand what it says?
And we're also talking about listening.
When you hear someone say it, do you know what they're saying?
Do you understand the word when they're...?
They're using it in a sentence?
So, we have understand, which is about reading and listening, and then we have using it:
Can I use the word?
And this is: Can I use the word in conversation or when I talk?
Can I use the word in writing?
So you might be able to use the word in some of these, but not all.
For example, maybe you can use the word in conversation, but you can't write it; or maybe
you can understand the word when somebody says it, but you don't know how to spell it
- you can't read it.
So, you want to look at all of these areas when you're learning a new word.
You want to be able to read it, to listen to it, to say it, as well as to write it.
And each of these will help make more connections to the word.
Another important thing to do when you're learning a new word is: Can you make a definition
in your own words?
So, a lot of students will, like, look in a dictionary, and they'll look at the new
word, and then they'll just write out the dictionary's definition; but a lot of the
times when you look at a dictionary's definition, it's very confusing and it's filled with a
whole bunch of other words that you might not know.
So, a better thing to do is write a simple definition in your own words.
So, for example, I learned the word: "binge-watch" or "binge-watching", so what does this word mean?
Well, I might write something like: It means to watch too many episodes of a show in one
And I might give an example: Game of Thrones.
If you have watched all of season one in one day, that's binge-watching.
Or maybe you like another show and you just sit in one sitting, and you stay on your couch
all day, and you just keep watching episodes - that's binge-watching.
And this is something I hate to admit, but I do a lot.
So, "binge-watching" is a word I probably will use a lot in my life.
So, can I read this word?
If I see it, I can understand it in reading.
If somebody says the word, I can understand it in listening.
I can use it in a conversation, and I can also use it in writing, so I feel pretty comfortable
using this word.
Another thing I might ask when I'm learning a new word is I might think about the synonyms.
So, what's a "synonym"?
A "synonym" is a word, a different word that has the same meaning as the word you're interested in.
So, for example, maybe you learned the word "smart".
What's a synonym of "smart"?
What means the same thing?
So, these are synonyms; they have the same meaning.
Another example would be "small" and "little" - those two words have the same meaning, so
So, it's good to find out synonyms for your word, because the more connections you have
to a word, the more you will remember it.
And you can use synonyms when you make your own definition; that can be very helpful.
Now, the opposite of a synonym is an "antonym".
So, "antonym" means the opposite.
It's good to also know if there is an opposite of your word: What's the opposite?
So, for example, the opposite of "big" is "small".
For "binge-watch", there's not exactly an opposite, but I might say: "doing something
"Moderation" is the opposite of "binging" - when you're doing a lot; whereas "moderation"
it's more balanced.
It might not be an exact opposite, but it's good to try to think about antonyms or the
opposite of the word you're looking at.
Another important thing is: Are there other meanings for this word?
English is a tricky language because each word you look at often has many meanings.
Just look at the word "get".
"Get up", "get down", "get over" - there are so many meanings to the word "get", and that's
one of the most used words in English.
So it's good to know some other meanings of the word you're interested in, especially
if it has any embarrassing meanings.
Because a lot of words in English have...
You know, maybe they have their normal meaning; but they might also have, like, an embarrassing
meaning, or a sexual meaning, or something else.
So it's good to also know that.
You might not want to use that word in that way, but just so you're...
You understand it better so that you're not in any embarrassing situations.
Like, I'll give you an example.
"Make out" has multiple meanings.
You can ask somebody: "How did you make out?" and that can mean two things.
"How did you make out?" can mean, like: How did something go?
So, imagine you did a presentation: -"Oh, how did you make out?
Was your presentation good?"
-"Oh, yes, you know, it was...
It went well."
But "make out" can also mean, like, to kiss passionately.
"You know, in the movie these two people were making out", so it's good to know if the word
you're interested in has another, like...
You know, different meaning that might be embarrassing in some situations.
If you do say something embarrassing, it happens all the time; it's okay.
You should have seen when I was first learning French and Spanish, the number of embarrassing
mistakes I made - it just felt like every time I said anything in either of those languages,
it was always either accidentally sexual or accidentally embarrassing.
So, it happens and it...
All you can do is laugh; laugh it off.
All right, so we've talked a lot about meaning, and again, this is very important for learning
Now let's talk about spelling.
Okay, so the next part about really understanding a word has to do with learning its spelling.
Now, I'm going to be honest with you: Early on in my teaching career, I always kind of
didn't put a lot of emphasis on spelling because I always thought: "Okay, well, you know, we
have auto-correct or we have these things on the computer that can help us with our
spelling, so it's not that big of a deal if, you know, students don't spell as well."
But that's not true.
Spelling really, really helps you remember a word, and it actually is very important.
So, I am totally different now as a teacher than I was originally.
I think spelling is something students should really practice and learn, because it really
does help you remember a word and make connections to other words.
So let's talk a little bit about spelling.
So, one of the key things with spelling is: Each time you're learning a new word, different
activities help you store the word in different parts of your brain, and that means you remember
the word better and you have a deeper understanding of the word.
So spelling is important because it's helping you store the word in your brain better.
Another reason why it's important to learn proper spelling of a word is when you can
spell it, it means you see it more; whether you're reading or, you know, you're reading
the newspaper or a book - it gives you more opportunities to actually see the word in
So, if you can spell it, it will really help you come across the word or see the word more
often, and that's what you want because you want to see the word in as many different
places as possible because that's how you find out other meanings of the word or, you
know, how to use it and how not to use it.
Another reason why spelling's important is the more you practice your spelling, the more
you will start to notice English spelling patterns.
When people first learn English, I think they often look at our spelling system and they
think: "I don't understand this.
There's all these silent letters.
You know, they put an 'e' here, but we don't pronounce it.
It's just so hard."
Well, over time, the more you practice spelling, the more you will see there actually are a
lot of patterns; and when you notice the patterns, these will help you remember the word better
and make connections to other words that have the same spelling pattern.
It's good to learn these patterns, and the way you learn them is by spelling words and
Spelling is also very important when we have miscommunications.
So, when we're trying to talk to somebody and they don't understand us - maybe we're
having trouble with our pronunciation, maybe the other person, you know, can't hear us
So, it's important to be able to spell because being able to spell can help you during a
Because what you can do is you can say the word to the person, and you can spell it at
the same time, so then that way they really understand what you're saying, and it becomes
clearer and you have less of a communication problem.
So this is a good idea.
Spelling can help.
A lot of the times when we're talking about spelling, one way...
You know, a lot of students really want a quick way to learn how to spell, and one thing
that can really help improve your spelling is learning prefixes and suffixes.
So, "prefixes" and "suffixes" are parts of words...
You know, just like I was talking about English spelling patterns, they can help you with
So I'll give you some examples.
It's probably easier to understand what a prefix or a suffix is by seeing examples of
We'll start with suffixes.
"Suffixes" are parts of a word that are at the end of the word that have meaning.
So, for example, we have: "racism", "sexism", "Buddhism", "Catholicism".
"ism", "ism", "ism", "ism", and there's many more ism's in English.
"ism" is a suffix that has meaning; it means a belief in something.
So, here you have you believe in...
Or it can also be like an ideology.
So it's like a system of thought.
So, the key here is that we have a lot of ism's in English, and if you realize that
and you see that pattern, then it helps you understand more words that also have that
We also have, like, other than a suffix, we also have these things called "prefixes",
and this is where we have a part of the word at the beginning that also has meaning.
So, for example: "unhappy", "unfriendly" - "un" means not.
So, as soon as we see "un", a lot of the times we kind of know what the word might mean.
"'un', okay it means something not; not happy, not friendly".
So learning these can really help your spelling, because we have tons of them in English, and
they can also help you understand words' meanings better, and to have deeper connections to
these words, which will help you remember them more.
My next piece of advice: Spelling is something that takes time, so practice, practice, practice.
And practice can be fun.
Like, what I like to do is I like to listen to music while I practice, you know, writing
a word, and I might just keep writing the same word over and over again.
But if I'm doing it to music or something, it doesn't seem so boring or tedious to me,
so that's, you know, one suggestion I have for you.
All right, now let's look at some other important areas we need to look at when we're learning
Okay, so we've talked now about meaning and about spelling.
Another important area we need to focus on when we're learning a new word is pronunciation.
How we say the word.
This is really important because, just like spelling, when we learn the correct pronunciation
of a word, it helps us store the word in a certain part of our brain; and so we have,
again, you know, deeper levels in our brain where the word is stored, and we have more
connections to other words.
So, pronunciation is very important.
Also, another reason why pronunciation or how we say the word is important is because
if we know how the word sounds and if we can pronounce it, and hear it - it makes it easier
to find in movies, or in TV, or in conversation, and so that gives us more opportunities to
hear the word.
And that's what we want, because we want to know: "How is this word used in different
contexts, in different ways?
Are there more than one meaning of this word?
How can I use this word?"
So if you can pronounce the word correctly and if you know how it should be pronounced,
that can really help you understand...
Or find the word more frequently or more often, and that's what you want.
So, hear it more often in movies and conversation equals better understanding of the word and
more memory; you can remember when you heard the word, and that can also help you remember it.
When we're talking about pronunciation, we're talking about many things.
We're talking about how each sound in the word sounds, and we're also talking about
So, for example, if I say the word: "cat" - that has one syllable; if I say: "zebra"
- that has two syllables; if I say: "intelligent" - that has four syllables.
So, you know, we can also clap out syllables; that sometimes helps.
So: "ze-bra", "ant", "cat", "in-tell-i-gent".
Or counting them can help us be more aware of how many syllables are in a word, and that's
important for the pronunciation.
In English, we sometimes have silent syllables.
So, for example, I have here the word: "chocolate".
Many students don't know that this part is silent; we don't say it.
So, many students will say: "choc-o-late", but it's actually: "choc-late", "choc-late".
It's two parts to that word: "chocolate".
So that's how knowing how many syllables can help you with your pronunciation, and that
can also help you with remembering the words.
We also have sometimes silent letters in English.
It's important when you're learning a new word to know if it has any silent letters,
and which sounds you should not pronounce.
So, for example, I've met many students who have trouble with this word: "island".
There's one silent letter in it.
Do you know which one it is?
The "s" is silent.
We don't say: "island"; we say: "i-land".
So, knowing what is a silent letter is very important because that will help you, you
First off, people will understand you better, and also it will help you remember the word.
Knowing the stress of the word.
When I talk about stress, I'm not talking about, you know, the stress you feel during
I'm talking about: In language, when we talk about stress, we're talking about the way
we pronounce the word, and we're talking about when we say a word or a part of a word louder
So, this is really important in English because the stress on a word can change the meaning.
So, for example, I have here the word "present".
If I put stress or if I say louder and longer the first part: "pre-sent", "I have many presents",
then this means, like a gift.
Versus: "pre-sent", that's an action; that's a verb.
"I presented today.
I present", it means giving, like, a formal talk.
So, in this case we have a noun, and in this case we have a verb.
How did we know the difference?
Based on pronunciation and based on knowing the correct stress.
So, I know I've just talked a lot about a lot of different things here; I've talked
about silent syllables, I've talked about sentence stress, I've talked about silent
We have resources on all of these things at www.engvid.com.
So, if you're interested in finding out more words that have these things, you can come
visit our website there and find some resources, because that will really help you understand
these words better.
The last thing I wanted to say about pronunciation and why it's important is: There are a lot
of words in English where, if we don't say them correctly or if we mispronounce them,
we might say an embarrassing word instead.
So I know a lot of students have trouble with the word "sheet", and they...
They say: "shit", which is, you know, a bad word in English.
Or same with "beach", they say, you know, a different word in English which is also
a bad word.
So, it's very important that you know correct pronunciation to help you so you don't make
any embarrassing mistakes.
And, again, all of these things will help you remember the words better.
So now let's look at the final part of the word...
When we learn new words, we really need to understand the grammar.
Okay, so we have covered meaning, we've covered spelling, and we've covered pronunciation.
So, what's left?
Well, that would be grammar.
So, like I said before, you know, spelling is important because it helps you store the
word a certain way in your brain, pronunciation does the same thing - it's same with grammar.
If you understand how to use the word in a sentence, you will have more connections or
more links in your brain, and that will help you remember the word better and connect it
to other words, which is also very important.
So, when we're talking about grammar, one of the things you need to ask yourself is:
"Can I use this word in a sentence?
Do I feel comfortable using this word in a sentence?"
So, for example, the word I was learning, if you remember, was "binge-watching": "I
am binge-watching Game of Thrones."
So, yes, I used it in a sentence.
I can use it in the past tense: "I watched Game of Thrones last night."
Or, sorry: "I binge-watched Game of Thrones last night."
So, I really recommend putting your new word into a sentence and seeing how it fits.
You know, does it go in the subject area?
Does it go...?
Is it a verb?
So, the way to figure this out is to...
To ask yourself: "Are you looking at a noun - a person, place, or thing?
Are you looking at a verb - an action; an adjective - something that's describing something
else; or an adverb - something that's, you know, describing the manner of something?"
So, knowing this can help you.
And sometimes words might have a form in each of these.
So, for example, maybe there's a part of the word that's a noun, and then if you change
the word a bit, it becomes a verb; maybe you can make it into an adjective or into an adverb.
So that's also very good to know as well.
Like, I'll give you an example: "intelligent" is an adjective, but I can also turn that
into a noun by saying: "intelligence".
So, knowing, you know, how to make it into a noun or a verb; if it can be made into a
verb, or a noun, or an adjective can help you understand the word better and know how
to use it in sentences.
Another thing is if you're talking about a noun, knowing the plural of a word can also
be really important to using it correctly.
So, for example: "milk" is, you know...
The plural of "milk", we never say: "I have lots of milks."
This would be wrong.
We can't add an "s" to "milk" in English, but for other words we do.
"I have two dogs."
In that case, yeah, that would be okay.
So, you know, learning this for each word will help you and save you a lot of time because,
you know, if you ever have a test or something like that, it's good to know this when you
actually learn the word the first time.
The other thing you might want to ask yourself is: Is this...?
If you're talking about a noun: "Is it something you can count?
Is it countable or uncountable?"
So, for example, an apple - that's something we can count; I have one apple, two apples,
three apples, four apples.
But "love" is uncountable; we can't say: "I have five loves.
I have 10 loves."
No, that would be considered uncountable.
And so, knowing these types of grammar rules can help us use these words correctly in a
sentence, and can really help our English become more understandable to other people.
So, I hope you've enjoyed this video.
We've covered a lot, and I know what you might be thinking: "Oh, Emma, this is so much work
just for one word.
This is going to take so much time."
I'm telling you right now: Doing even part of these things at the beginning will help
you remember the word sooner, and then you're not going to keep forgetting the word, and
the whole process will actually take less time if you spend more time working to know
So, you know, the more time you spend on a word, the more you will remember it, and the
easier it will be for you to use, so I really recommend doing this.
I invite you to come check out our website at www.engvid.com.
There we have a quiz, and you can, you know, practice some of what we've talked about in
You know, you can practice, like, the word "binge-watching", for example or, you know,
And there you can also find a lot of other resources.
I also recommend you come and subscribe to my channel; there, again, we have a lot of
resources on pronunciation, spelling, grammar, you know, new words.
We have so many different resources, and you know, I'm okay if you binge-watch my videos.
So if you want, feel free to binge-watch and learn as much English as you can.
There are a lot of videos.
So, thank you for watching; and until next time, take care.