English Learning Notes


The noun vocabulary (or vocab  for short) refers to the words used in a language.

The word vocabulary  can have at least three different meanings:

1.  all of the words in a language

  • New words are constantly being added to the¬†vocabulary of English.

2.  the words used in a particular context

  • If you want to do an MBA you need to improve your¬†business vocabulary.
  • My neighbour is a doctor so he has an extensive¬†medical vocabulary.
  • I've just bought a book on the¬†vocabulary of slang.

3.  the words an individual person knows

  • The teacher says that¬†my vocabulary¬†is good.
When learning a foreign language, our individual vocabulary in that language is one of the most important micro-skills to develop. Of course, all micro-skills like grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation are important. But it is far more difficult to communicate with no vocabulary than with no grammar. :-)

Active and passive vocabulary

In our own individual vocabulary, there is a difference between:

  • words that we¬†understand¬†and¬†use¬†(our¬† active vocabulary)
  • words that we¬†understand ¬†but do not or cannot use (our¬†passive vocabulary)

This is true for native speakers as well as for learners. In your own language, there are many words that you use regularly when speaking or writing. These words are part of your active vocabulary. And then there are many words that you understand when you hear them, on television for example, but do not use in everyday speech. These words are part of your passive vocabulary.

Word Classes
On these pages we look at vocabulary categorised by word class (verbs, nouns, adjectives etc) and by word form (contractions, prefixes, suffixes etc). These pages deal mainly with vocabulary, for example word lists, meanings and sample sentences with the words in context. But see also the grammar of word classes.

Typical vocabulary used when discussing specific topics or subjects (such as sports, time, weather or computers)

English words and phrases for ESL learners and teachers, many with example sentences, explanations and quizzes

OPD(Oxford Picture Dictionary)
Oxford Picture Dictionary is a fully integrated vocabulary development program, progressing from essential words to the more complex, delivered in short thematic units. Realistic scenarios and modern artwork are easy to relate to and these, together with story pages and practice exercises, have been applauded for their success in promoting language skills.

basic english vocabulary for beginners
basic english vocabulary for beginners

7 Tips for Learning English Vocabulary
Follow these ideas and learn new English words more easily.

Birthday Vocabulary
Your birthday is the anniversary of your birth. It is the same day every year.On your birthday, your friends and family may send you birthday cards and birthday presents (gifts).

Synonyms and Antonyms
A synonym is a word that means exactly the same as, or very nearly the same as, another word in the same language. For example, "close" is a synonym of "shut".