Tips on Lexical Notebooks

  •  A wonderful manual by BBC Learning English. 

Significance of vocabulary
Grammar is part of the language. It helps us to speak and write correctly. But there is much more to language than grammar. English has thousands of words – vocabulary, collocations, idioms and expressions. We express what we mean most by our choice of vocabulary

  • If you spend most of your time studying grammar, your English will not improve very much. You will see most improvement if you learn more words and expressions.
  • You can say very little with grammar, but you can say almost anything with words!

How do we record information?
What you must NOT do is see words as individuals. You must try and see combinations of words
For example the verb “take”
  • take a nap
  • take on a new employee
  • to take turns playing the game
 You will see richer language this way

For example adverbs + adjectives
  • “Roberto Carlos is an immensely popular singer in Brazil
  • “The class was extremely boring today”
All of the above are called collocations. These are words that are often combined together.

How does this improve your English?
Let’s look at an example of the verb “lost”
  • I forgot my passport and lost the plane
The correct answer is missed the plane not lost.
Here is another example:
  • “I’m sorry I’m late teacher. I hope I didn’t lose anything
The correct answer is miss anything. You may lose your pen or book but not information of a classroom.

That is the way a native speaker of English would speak. So, by looking at language this way you will be able to reach a high level of language proficiency.

Organising the book
In order to help you remember vocabulary better, this book should be organised in Themes. These themes will be similar to those you are studying in class. The Themes may be films, transport, clothes, the place where you live, giving suggestions etc.
So here is how you can organise each theme
  • Find out the theme you are learning (ask the teacher of look at the unit of your course book)
  • Write this theme on the first page of each section
  • Each theme/section must have spaces to write the collocations you find

The theme can be organised into 10 pages like this.
    • Verb + Noun collocations 2 pages
    • Verbs with Do, Have, Go, Make ,Take, Get 2 pages
    • Adjective + Noun collocations 2 pages
    • Adverb + Adjective collocations 1 page
    • Phrasal Verbs 1 page
    • Collocations containing prepositions 1 page
    • Phrases/ Expressions 1 page
  • Write down the collocations that come in the above patterns in your book.
This is a good way for you to see the language you need to use and produce better quality language.

Try not to note down single words. Try and find out what other verbs, adjectives, prepositions etc go together with each word.

A good way to record vocabulary items is using a vocabulary profile.

3. In addition to this, please check out these videos for more information and tips.

Video 1

Video 2

Video 3

Video 4

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