Unlocking English Vocabulary: Mistakes To Avoid And Must-Know Tips 2023

All in all, studying vocabulary could be challenging for many English learners but it is by all accounts a crucial aspect of mastering the language. A robust vocabulary helps a lot once it comes to improving reading comprehension, writing approaches, speaking expressions, etc. As novice learners attempt to expand their English vocabulary, it’s not uncommon for them to make mistakes here and there which hamper their overall progress. Today, we will talk about such mistakes, ways to overcome them and some learning tips.

Mistakes During Vocabulary Study: Compilation

Memorizing Vocabulary Without Context

As they study English vocabulary, a number of learners get impatient and attempt to memorize as many words as possible while disregarding context. That could lead to rapid vocabulary expansion in the short term but eventually proves useless as learners often forget the words soon after memorizing them.

Suggestion: Instead of memorizing the meaning of individual words, learners should concentrate on studying vocabulary in context. Examples include reading English books, watching English movies/TV shows, listening to English podcasts and so on. That not only helps in remembering the words but also assists in grasping their usage.

Relying Solely On Translations

Quite a few English learners find translations useful while studying vocabulary but it’s ill-advised to rely on them alone. Excessive reliance on translations would prevent learners from understanding the complete meaning and usage of words. If learners only have incomplete pictures of words in mind, they could cause misunderstandings as they communicate in English.

Suggestion: If possible, learners should learn vocabulary in English instead of translating them into their native languages. That guarantees a comprehensive understanding of the words and minimizes communication errors.

Neglecting Collocations

To put it plainly, collocations consist of groups of words commonly used together. Neglecting collocations is a not-so-obvious mistake made by English learners at the beginning of vocabulary study but its consequence is grave. If learners don’t have a clue about collocations, they would struggle to use English words properly in  varied contexts.

Suggestion: Learners should not underestimate collocations and learn them by heart. That ensures the use of the right words in the right contexts.

Tips For Studying English Vocabulary

Read, Read And Read

While it sounds simple, reading is one of the most effective and efficient ways to learn English vocabulary. The more English texts learners read from books, newspapers, magazines and so on, the more opportunities they get to learn new words in addition to their meaning, usage, context, etc.

Make Use Of Flashcards

Among the tools that facilitate vocabulary study, flashcards have few competitors in terms of productivity. Flashcards take little work to make: learners can write a word on one side of the card and its meaning and usage on the other side. In times of need, English learners could keep flashcards on them around the clock for quick revision. Digital flashcards exist as well and a lot of language-learning apps offer them nowadays.

Focus On Word Families

Word families contain groups of words that have the same root word. Here is an example, the word ‘happy’ is a part of the word family that includes ‘happiness’ and ‘unhappy’. Learning word families allow learners to  expand their vocabulary and reduce the odds of them forgetting words over time.

Take Advantage Of Apps And Online Resources

At the moment, there is no shortage of vocabulary-oriented apps and online resources. Well-known names include Duolingo, Babbel, Memrise, Quizlet, WordHippo, Vocabulary.com, … Some of the apps and online resources integrate interactive activities so learners don’t get bored during long study sessions.


It’s undeniable that studying vocabulary could consume a lot of time and effort but the result justifies the investments. By avoiding mistakes and remembering some tips, English learners could optimize their vocabulary study with relative ease.

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