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Match each word in the left column with its synonym on the right. When finished, click Answer to see the results. Good luck!



Vocabulary Materials


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Phrase comparison - compare example sentences for two phrases


Needs Analysis

There are four stages in needs analysis: what you need to know about a language, your present problems, your future needs, your needs for your course.

Click here for a Needs Analysis / Planning / Studying / Assessment Form that you can print out and fill in.



Make a list of the problems that you have about vocabulary, and the situations where you have these problems. For example:

Example Problem 1: I don't know enough vocabulary about my course subject.

Example Problem 2: I can't remember all the different things about a word, like how to pronounce it, is it a verb or a noun, what preposition goes with it, is it formal or informal etc.


Future Needs

Think about what English you will need in future, for example for your job. Here are some examples:

Example Future Need 1: I will need to know vocabulary about my field.

Example Future Need 2: I want to work for an international company, so my English, including my vocabulary, must be very good.


Needs for Your Course

If you are a student you probably need to study English to help you with your course work; eg. for listening to lectures. Some example needs are:

Example Course Need 1: I need to listen to lectures and know the vocabulary.

Example Course Need 2: I need to listen and speak in seminars, so I need to be able to speak the vocabulary.

(Click here to see the English courses that most full-time HKPU students do.)


Planning what to learn

You need to decide:

  • what materials and resources you want to use
  • whether you want to work alone or with other people
  • when you want or need to finish studying; e.g. in time for an assignment deadline
  • how much improvement is necessary

Materials and Resources
Materials can be books, newspapers, magazines, videos and audio tapes, or the Internet sites above.
Resources can be teachers, classmates, computers, learner pathways, etc.

Working Alone or With Other People
Reasons for learning vocabulary with other people are:
- You get more ideas from the other people
- They can tell you if you make a mistake
- They can encourage you to do better
- Sharing the work helps you do it quicker
- You can share your thoughts and feelings

Reasons for learning vocabulary alone are:
- If you share a task then you might learn only your part of the task, not how to do all of it. Your aim is to learn, not to finish quickly.
- Other people may want to learn different vocabulary from you.

How to Practise Vocabulary

Use your CILL portfolio as a vocabulary book. Write down everything you know about new words that will be useful for you. Decide if you will need to know how to write and speak a word, or if you just have to know the meaning when you hear of read it. If you will need to write or speak the word, you need to know more about it, such as the pronunciation, and the grammar. You can find this in one of the dictionaries.

If you are a member of CILL, you can use our tapes, CDs and vocabulary exercise books.


Vocabulary Strategies

- Contextualisation: This means putting new vocabulary words into sentences to help you remember them and to test if you are using them correctly. You can use these sentences when talking to an English-speaker to see if they understand, you can write these sentences in your learner portfolio for the tutors to see, or you can e-mail the tutors and ask them to check these words in your sentences. The most independent ways are talking to an English speaker, and searching the Internet to find examples of the word being used in sentences.

- Elaboration: this means relating new information to information you already know. For example, if you know the meaning of 'information', it is easy to remember that the verb is 'to inform', and that 'informative' is an adjective, and that 'an informant' is someone who gives information.

- Inferencing: This means using available information to predict or guess the meanings of; e.g. new vocabulary items. For example, if you know that you are reading about football, and you know that a field is often a large area covered in grass, then you can guess that a football field is a large, grassy area for playing football.

- Translation: You can read a story in a newspaper in your own language first, then read the same story in an English newspaper. Most of the story will probably be the same, so the story in your own language will help you to prepare for reading in English. For example, it will give you vocabulary, and when you read the English story and there is some vocabulary that you don't know, then you can use your knowledge of the story to guess what the new vocabulary is.

- Personalisation: you can write down why the vocabulary item (i.e. the word or phrase) is important to you, where you first saw it, and when you used it, for example, you may have heard the item in a movie you liked (click here for list of movies and famous phrases in them), and used the item when you talked about the movie with your friends.

- Keeping your own dictionary / vocabulary book: Writing entries for the dictionary will help you to learn words, and using your own dictionary can be faster than a normal dictionary. Click here for more details and examples.

- Grouping: you can group words into different areas, such as words in the different courses you study. For example, business students could group vocabulary items into marketing vocabulary, accounting vocabulary, and human resources vocabulary.



You can test your vocabulary by reading or listening to something, and learning the vocabulary you think will be useful. You can also write questions for yourself on the meaning of the vocabulary. Keep the reading or listening text, and a few days later go over it again, seeing if you can remember the vocabulary and answer the questions.

If you are a member of CILL, you can use our tapes, CDs and vocabulary exercise books.


Further Planning

When you have finished your plan you need to test or assess yourself to see if you have fulfilled your need. Can you do what your Needs Analysis and your plan aimed for?
- If you can, then you can plan to learn another point from your Needs Analysis, or you can change it because of some new thing that you want to learn. Don't forget to come back and revise later.
- If you can't, you need to study more, so change your plan. You could, for example, do some of the Alternative Materials or Extra Materials if you are following a learner pathway. If you are bored you can do something else and come back later.

For more details on how you can test yourself, click here. The learner pathways also have details on how you can test yourself. Click here for an example.


Last updated on: Wednesday, November 28, 2018