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Do you find it difficult to remember new words?

In this post we will look at what are the three best ways to learn new words and avoid “tip of the tongue syndrome”.

Tip of the tongue syndrome is a feeling that almost all language learners get from time to time. It is when you know a words, you recognize it when you’re reading, but when you want to say it in a conversation, your mind goes blank and you are left with a stupid look on your face. This is due to one simple reason; you have memorized the word and not learnt it properly. This post will resolve this problem once and for all.

Tip of the tongue syndrome is when you cannot recall words when you want to use them in a conversation. It occurs because you have memorized a word and not learnt it in context.

How can you learn words easily?

You might find learning new words hard, or even boring. This is probably because you are doing it in an ineffective way. It is important to follow our START METHOD and make sure that you learn in an efficient and fun way.


Use word formation

I have a question for you, “Why learn one word when you can learn many at the same time?”. Word formation is a great way to improve your vocabulary because instead of learning just one random word, you will learn the whole word family. in this way you will learn 4-10+ words instead of just one. The best way of doing this is by studying our root words list and then learning the words in context. Try our word formation exercises here or writing words into sentences.


A word family is all of the words that come from the root (basic) form of a word. You need to know the verb, noun, adjective and adverb.


For example:





It is essential to learn these words in context, meaning, in a phrase. You should always try to learn a word in a sentence that you will probably use in a conversation as it is proven that learning a full phrases is much easier than individual words. Try learning words with our 5+ RULE FOR VOCABULARY.

Another key point for word formation is understanding prefixes and suffixes. Learn this list and use it to adapt words.


Learn similar words

When you are learning a language, especially a language like English, you need to understand its history and know which languages it is related to. English is a mixture of languages as throughout the history of the UK, many different people have had a big influence on it. English is, in fact, a mixture of French, German, Latin and Nord (an old Scandinavian language). For this reason, many words will be similar to Spanish, French and German. If your native language is one of these, you should always start with a list of similar words to the ones you already know, just be careful with false friends. Check out this list of false friends as an example for Spanish speakers learning English or DOWNLOAD THE FULL FALSE FRIENDS LIST here.


Learn fixed phrases

As we have said earlier, it is more effective to learn a phrase than an individual word; this is why you should learn fixed expressions and put them into contexts. In linguistics, we call this fixed expressions language islands because you can use them without thinking and adapt them in many different situations. Download our full list of fixed expressions here and use them to make your own sentences. This is useful for speaking and writing, give it a go and let us know what you think.


It is much easier to learn a phrase than random words.


Why do we need to learn and not memorize?

What we all mean when we say learn a word and don’t memorize it is simple. We mean that you need to be able to use a word when you are speaking or writing. There are many words that you will understand when you are reading or listening, but you could never say this word in a conversation. This is because you have not learnt it well, you have not internalized it. What you need to do is use it regularly, on purpose, to make sure that you can say it whenever you want.

So, if you want to carry on learning, you should try one of our free language courses. Just click the button below and start learning

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