Synonyms

A synonym is a word that has the same, or almost the same, meaning as another word.
Synonyms for “cold“:  chilly, icy, frigid, and frosty.
They are good to learn because:

  • They improve your vocabulary
  • They make your speaking and writing more interesting (not always using the same words)
  • They make your speaking and writing more clear (closer to what you really want to say)

One good place to find synonyms is Thesaurus.com   A ‘thesaurus’ is a synonym dictionary.  Type in a word such as delicious, or enjoy, and they will show you several synonyms – with the most common synonyms listed first.  You can also check the pronunciation and definition for each of these words. (It’s important to check the definition for words that you don’t know.)

There’s a popular thesaurus that’s part of the Dictionary.com App – available for free for IOS and Android.  After you install the app, you can switch to the thesaurus to find synonyms.  There’s also a special tab for English learners, with more explanation.

Here’s a basic list of synonyms for almost 100 very common English words.

Google Images as Your Dictionary

    There are some good, regular dictionaries for English language learners – including the Learner’s Dictionary, which explains 100,000 words and phrases in simple language, with sentence examples, and pronunciation.

However, there are many times when some pictures will help you understand a word better, and more quickly.  Perhaps the easiest way to see a word in pictures is with Google Images.  Here are some examples of words that are easier to understand with a picture, or a set of pictures…

Using Dictation to Improve Your SPEAKING

Many people like to practice dictation (listening to someone speak and writing what you hear).  It helps improve your English listening and writing.  You can also use dictation to improve your speaking.

The website englishharmony.com has some suggestions for how to do this:

  1. Listen to a recording of someone speaking.  It’s best if …
    1. you can understand most of what they are saying
    2. they’re talking about something you find interesting
  2. Write down what you hear (pause the recording as needed) and – SPEAK the words out loud as you write them down.
  3. After you finish writing, read your sentence(s) out loud a few times
  4. Then play the recording again and try to read along – out loud – comparing your pronunciation to theirs
  5. Finally, try to tell (out loud) about what you just heard/wrote, looking at your writing as little as possible.  Do this a few times

You can start with some short dictation exercises that we have recommended.

Note: The Englishharmony website offers online training to buy.  Learning English in MetroWest does not make endorsements for any online training programs.

The Little Prince – In Levels

 The Little Prince is a very famous and popular book written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.  You can read – and listen to – the book for free in one of three English levels.   How many English words do you know?  

  • Choose Level 1 if you know about 300 to 1000 English words
  • Choose Level 2 if you know 1000 to 2000 words
  • Choose Level 3 if you know more than 2000 words