How important is learning new words? According to recent studies, very! The number of words a person knows is correlated with their reading ability, their listening ability and even their general language proficiency. This means that the more words you know, the better your overall level of English will be!
How many words do you need to know? There is some debate in the research about how many words a student needs to know to study at university. Nation (2006) argues that knowing 8,000 word-families is enough. However, Carver (1994) suggests that to understand what you are reading, you need to know 99% of the words in the text, so if you are reading an academic text, you need to know 14,000 word-families!
How many word-families do you know? You can take this simple online test to find out! Click here to access the test or click on the image below.
Study Skills Success is an online resource which can help you to develop the academic study skills you will need to be successful at university. This resource is designed for non-native English speakers and can help you not only with a range of study skills, but also with the academic English that underpins them. To improve your vocabulary, try the Vocabulary section in Study Skills Success.
In these activities you will practise identifying which words might be useful to learn to use productively and consider learning vocabulary by topic group.
In these activities you will explore some different ways of extending your vocabulary using the base forms of words. You will practise identifying the base form of words, finding other words related to the base form, and selecting the right form of a word for a particular context.
In these activities you will review the most common ways of forming new words from base words in English. You will also use some examples relating to the use of affixes to explore some common patterns in word formation.
In these activities you will explore the differences between some words with similar meanings that you may come across in contexts relating to specific subject areas. You will also consider which is the right word to use in some more general academic writing contexts.
In these activities you will explore some of the complexities involved in the form and use of phrasal verbs. You will practise recognising a range of phrasal verbs, which will help you to understand phrasal verb use and become familiar with some of them.
In these activities you will identify some examples of idioms and explore their meanings. You will consider some idioms that could be used in an academic context and consider their stylistic significance.
Spotlight workshops are short interactive sessions on a range of topics which run repeatedly throughout the year. Workshops are free, fun and can help you develop your academic language and skills, enabling you to succeed on your course. The following Spotlight workshops can help you with your vocabulary:
Improving your English
Developing your Vocabulary
A number of our Spotlight workshops are available as Spotlight Video Workshops. This means you can access the workshop at a time convenient to you, and work through it at your own pace.
If you need to improve your vocabulary, the following resources are available in the library for self-study:
You can click on the images above to access the books through Locate the Library catalogue, or use the reference list below.
Godfrey, J. (2013) The Student Phrase Book, Palgrave Study Skills, London: MacMillan
McCArthy, M. O'Dell, F. (2008) Academic Vocabulary in Use with Answers, Cambridge: CUP
Mascull, B. (2010) Business Vocabulary in Use Advanced, Cambridge: CUP
McCarthy, M., O'Dell, F.(2005) English Collocations in Use, Cambridge: CUP
McCarthy, M., (2007) English Phrasal Verbs in Use Intermediate, Cambridge: CUP
Emmerson, P. (2009) Business Vocabulary Builder, London: Macmillan Publishers Limited