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How to quickly learn English words: techniques, tips for choosing vocabulary. An easy way to learn English tenses


How many words do you need to know

Before we learn how to memorize English words correctly, let’s decide how many of them are required for fluent speech.

Let’s make a reservation right away that it is difficult to give an exact figure. Various sources most often mention the interval of 2,500 – 4,000 words, but there are a number of questions about this figure. At the very least, it is not clear what exactly these words are, and for communication in what area they are designed. Therefore, we propose in search of an answer to the question “how many words in English you need to know”, starting from the general level of knowledge and potential topics of communication. For this we introduce the term “meaningful words”.

Significant words are those words, expressions and phrases that you can actively use in conversations.

Speaking in more detail, this is not all the material that you have learned and almost safely forgotten, but the part that is successfully used in speech. As a rule, this is an active vocabulary that is found in the speech of the British from day to day. And it is very important that you not only understand what the conversation is about in English, but also use these phrases in it yourself. So, here are some approximate statistics.

Level Approximate number of significant words Topics
Beginner 500-700 Acquaintance, family, profession, hobbies.

Food, drinks, items, colors, numbers up to 20.

Elementary 1000-1500 Travel, leisure, entertainment.

Phrases for communication in a store, restaurant or hotel.

Airport and train station visits.

A story about events at different times.

Intermediate 2000-2500 Phrasal verbs. Minimal business vocabulary.

Ability to maintain a detailed conversation on everyday topics.

Upper Intermediate 3000-3500 General + special professional vocabulary.

Aphorisms, slang, quotes from books.

Advanced 3500-4000 Ability to elaborate on complex, abstract and philosophical topics.

Full knowledge of business and partly scientific vocabulary.

Proficiency from 4500 Perfect knowledge of the language and all speech patterns.

Approximately this number of words and expressions in English must be memorized in order to achieve a certain level of knowledge.

Where and how to search for words and expressions in English

And another important aspect is the correct selection of topics for study. Problems often arise with this educational moment, especially for novice students. So, first, let’s tell you how NOT to work with the vocabulary of a foreign language.

  1. Do not memorize random words – for example, you opened a dictionary on any page and started learning everything. Yes, you will memorize a certain number of words, but it is unlikely that you will ever really use them in speech.
  2. Do not strive to get acquainted with specific vocabulary – at the initial level of knowledge, you still cannot use slang or professional jargon in speech. And without active use, knowledge is gradually forgotten.
  3. Don’t burden yourself with large volumes – all those 50 or 100 new English words every day sound very attractive, but are of little benefit. First, when there are many words, they all settle in short-term memory, and the next morning more than half of the list is forgotten. Secondly, it is impossible to work through such a number of words in a speech context every day, therefore, they will soon be forgotten again.

These are three global mistakes that prevent you from quickly memorizing words in English and using them in your speech.

Now let’s move on to the other side of the coin and tell you how to learn English words correctly. Here, in fact, everything is simple and just one piece of advice is enough – study should be useful and fun. In order not to get bored, select topics that interest you, and derive the benefits for the language from the construction of phrases and dialogues. Even if you have no one to communicate with yet, play the dialogues by role alone. This will help you speak and automatically think in English faster.

For the lessons, try to choose words that are either related in terms of a certain topic, or are very popular and are used everywhere. In this case, having memorized a few words, you can already link them into a meaningful dialogue, that is, turn the memorized material into a full-fledged conversation in English. Where to get such vocabulary? There are many sources, for example:

  • thematic collections;
  • lists and tops of popular English words;
  • vocabulary from books, songs, films and radio broadcasts;
  • study guides and phrasebooks.

So, if you take to study English words on the topic “Food”, then having memorized a few verbs and nouns, you can already build the phrase: I eat an apple (I eat an apple She eats rice with vegetables), etc. This is the essence of effective learning: not just memorize translation and spelling, but be able to use the word.

Now, having mastered the main principles of working with vocabulary, we go to select the most effective method of memorizing English words.

How to quickly learn English words – techniques and tips

All learners want to memorize English words quickly and easily. But, of course, there is no such universal way that allows you to learn 100 English words in 5 minutes and not forget any of them. However, it is quite possible to learn to quickly memorize vocabulary and be able to retain it in memory for a long time. To do this, you just need to be able to choose the right technique. In this section, we will introduce you to the best of them.


The question of how to quickly learn many English words has been considered by many linguists and scientists. Thanks to their searches and efforts, a unique method of memorizing foreign words was invented, based on the peculiarities of memory.

The standard approach to the study of vocabulary is carried out according to the following scheme: English spelling – transcription – translation. With this method, the memorized word is recognized primarily by its spelling, i.e. clearly. Therefore, we read and translate texts well, and in conversation we often get lost and cannot remember a suitable expression.

The mnemonic method offers the opposite scheme: meaning – sound – spelling. At the same time, work with translation and pronunciation is carried out with the help of associations of the native language.

For example, let’s take the word monkey – a monkey. The student’s task is to present a vivid image of a monkey and associate it with a phrase that is consonant with an English word. For example, the MONKEY ate a plate of MANKY, or simply the MONKEY ate a MONKEY. And we imagine how a monkey eats semolina. A bright and consonant image 100% will settle in the memory for a long time, and when you need to talk about monkeys in English, the word “decoys” will automatically be remembered.

Mnemonics is the most popular method of memorizing new information. If you urgently need to learn English words for a dictation or an exam, this technique will not be equal in efficiency. But, if associative thinking is not at all your strong point, then it is better to find another easy and quick way to memorize English words.

Audio, video, writing, logic circuits and maps

This is not really a technique, but rather a tip: if you want to learn words in English as quickly as possible, include your individual qualities in the work.

  • Do you understand better by ear? Listen to special audio recordings or record your own audio lessons.
  • Prefer visual design? Watch videos with popular vocabulary, study words with pictures, independently compose images for the studied expressions.
  • Accustomed to trusting feelings more? Learn vocabulary in writing or on the move. Manually rewrite thematic collections of words, animate words with gestures and movements, tap out the rhythm of syllables.
  • Is it all your logic and strict ordering of the studied material? Make thematic diagrams or mind maps (smart maps). For example, words are studied on the topic “apartment”. Logical nodes of the scheme: room-kitchen-bathroom-corridor. From these bases there are ramifications into objects typical for the interior: bathroom – shower, washbasin, tiles; corridor – hanger, mirror, bedside table, etc.


A classic way of learning vocabulary that millions of people have successfully tried. Flashcards help beginners learn English and quickly memorize large volumes of vocabulary.

The point is simple. A thematic selection of maps is taken. Each card on the one hand contains a translation and transcription, and on the other the English spelling of the word and sometimes a picture. The task of the student is to work alternately from one of the sides, reproducing information from the turnover in memory.

For example, first we learn words according to the traditional scheme: we look at an English word and remember the Russian translation. This is the first stage of the lesson. Then we take a break for 10 minutes, and carry out the reverse process: we look at the Russian translation, remember the English spelling and pronunciation.

After two circles, we again take a break, and we consolidate the studied material by building sentences. In the first lessons, these are, of course, Russian sentences with the insertion of an English word: I (I) am reading a book. And a little later, we are already switching to completely English phrases: I read a book (book).

It is recommended to learn no more than 30 new words in total per lesson. This is the optimal amount of information that you can assimilate and work out with high quality in speech phrases.

Own dictionary

Almost all people who have learned English remember their notebook with the words written out. You may ask why in the modern world there is such a relic of the past when you can take any list of words from the Internet. Well, we will answer: just to make it easier and better to memorize English words.

For effective memorization of information, one must be able not only to perceive correctly, but also to process it “for oneself”. This is the law of any activity. Our own thoughts, ideas and actions are processed by our brain much better than copying, let alone memorizing, other people’s ideas.

Therefore, get in the habit of keeping your own vocabulary of words in English. Write down the most difficult expressions to remember and repeat them when you have a free minute. For even greater efficiency, after each page covered with writing, conduct a test dictation in English.

After a few sessions, you will feel your progress and see for yourself that a seemingly simple “notebook” is a necessary and irreplaceable thing when learning a foreign language.

Observe Rational Repetition Regime

So, the very first, even zero advice: to remember a new word forever, stick to the following repetition schedule:


Repetition intervals


Immediately after meeting a new word


20-30 minutes after the previous


One day after the previous one


2-3 weeks after the previous


2-3 months after the previous


2-3 years after the previous

Remember interesting

The traditional approach to learning new words, tested by generations of schoolchildren, is as follows: foreign words are given in lists according to topics, for example, “Acquaintance”, “Letter to a friend”, “My day”. The set of topics is standard and universal, which is not always effective: if the topic does not arouse interest, it is much more difficult to learn new vocabulary. The experience of our school shows: if the choice of the studied words is approached in strict accordance with the specific goals and interests of each student, at the intersection of useful and pleasant, the result is optimal!

For example, if you like the TV series “Game of Thrones”, it will be much more interesting for you to learn words, generate images and concepts that are related to the plot of the film, for example: queen – queen, northern – northern, wall – wall, castle – castle.

Think deeply

The Law of Comprehension: According to Ebbinghaus, meaningful material is remembered 9 times faster. It is not so much the words and sentences that make up the text that are imprinted in the memory, but the thoughts contained in them. They are the first to come to mind when you need to remember the content of the text.

However, learning how to properly organize information at the moment of memorization is not an easy task. You can use keywords, diagrams, charts and tables. The forecasting technique is also effective: after starting to read a paragraph, try, after the author has put forward several arguments, to draw a conclusion on your own, to explain to yourself what you read, even if it seems obvious to you. Having formulated the information in your own words, you will remember it for a long time.

Strengthen your first impression

To better remember a new word, connect 5 senses plus imagination: feel the situation, imagine a picture, try to smell and taste, say the word – or sing.

Visualize, imagine: in the distant northern (northern) country behind a high fortress wall (wall) rises a majestic castle (castle), in which a powerful queen (queen) lives …! Create a picture in your imagination, live the situation and the new vocabulary will be remembered easily and for a long time.

How to quickly learn English words: techniques, tips for choosing vocabulary. An easy way to learn English tenses

Learn in different contexts

Law of context: information is easier to remember and reproduce when correlated with other simultaneous impressions. The context in which an event takes place sometimes turns out to be more important for memorization than the event itself.

Our memory is associative. Therefore, try to change the place of preparation, for example, to teach different topics in different rooms (kitchen, bedroom), on the road (subway, car) and even at work (office, meeting room). Information is associated with the environment, recalling which will help to remember the content of the topic.

Combine words by topic

How easy is it to memorize English words? Groups of words related to the same topic are usually well remembered. Therefore, try to break words into groups of 5-10 words and learn them.

There is the so-called Restorff effect, according to which the human brain from a group of objects best remembers the most prominent. Use this effect to your advantage: in a group of words of one subject “introduce a stranger” – write a word from a completely different subject. For example, when studying words on the topic “Fruit”, add one word from the topic “Transport” to them, this way your activities will become even more effective.

Use associations and personalization

This method is loved by many students: in order to learn a word, you need to come up with an association in Russian. For example, you need to remember the word obstinacy. Break it down into three syllables: ob-stin-acy, you get “stubborn, like a wall-ass.” The word shoot can be remembered as “the jester shoots.” You can make up convenient associations yourself, the main thing is that they are understandable to you and easy to remember. This will make it easier for you to increase your English vocabulary.

Learning will be effective if you not only form a verbal association, but also visualize it: while pronouncing the word shoot, imagine this shooting jester, let the image turn out to be as funny and memorable as possible. Even better – a dynamic picture with your personal presence: you imagine how a jester next to you shoots at someone (with a water pistol, so that the spectacle turns out to be comical, not tragic). The more vivid the picture is, the easier it will be to remember the word.

Use learned vocabulary in speech

How to learn English words correctly and not forget them? Are you familiar with the use it or lose it principle? For knowledge to remain in memory, you need to actively “use” it. It is good practice to compose short stories using new words. Best remembered vocabulary, set out in a short funny text, which is written about yourself beloved or dear things.

If you take a course or study with an English teacher, try to insert new words into the conversation as often as possible: the more times you say a word, the better you remember it. Don’t forget about spelling: try to use new words in writing.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Tell me and I will forget. Teach me and I will remember. Make me do it and I will learn.

Test your knowledge regularly

It is helpful to take a variety of vocabulary tests from time to time. For example, great picture tests (a joy for visuals and kids) are on the Vocabulary for learners of English page. After passing such a test, you will immediately see what is stored in your memory and which topics or words need to be repeated.

Follow your daily plan

We’ve already told you how many words you need to learn a day. Recall that for the average person, it is best to learn 5-10 words a day. Follow your new vocabulary plan closely to see your progress.

Use entertaining teaching methods

On, native speakers explain complex information in a lightweight, entertaining way that makes the new material easy to remember. On, each news item is adapted for different levels of English proficiency, and explanations are provided for all difficult words.

You can expand your English vocabulary through fun activities such as crossword puzzles, gallows, and more. Have Fun Learning English and Vocabulary exercises provide a lot of fun.

Whales of Time: Learning the Basics

Before starting to study the times, it is necessary to identify with the scale of the task. There are many times in the English language. This does not mean that they are all used in our speech every day. Not. When you learn to speak English fluently, you will understand that 3-4 types of time are enough for high-quality communication. But! It is also necessary to know the peculiarities of education and the use of others. An educated person does not speak with formulaic phrases, but pleases with a full, correct and beautiful speech.

The first thing to remember is that in English, the fundamental factor for determining time is its species-temporal form. If in Russian we have only perfect and imperfect verbs, then English pleases with four such aspects:

To do Simple / Indefinite (simple)
To be doing Continuous / Progressive (continued)
To have done Perfect
To have been doing Perfect Continuous

These forms are the basis for the formation of a specific time.

But! English would be boring to learn if it was simple. It is imperative to remember that these aspects apply in all three tenses – Present, Past and Future. Not in each and not always, but in separate temporary forms. How easy is it to understand the subtleties of the formation of these schemes? We recommend that you memorize the table below (the say verb can be replaced with any other).

Indefinite Continuous Perfect Perfect Continuous
Present I say I am saying I have said I have been saying
Past I said I was saying I had said I had been saying
Future I will say I will be saying I will have said I will have been saying

The third important rule to remember is => English is also rich in impersonal forms of the verb – the infinitive and ing-forms.

The fourth gem in learning English times is the passive form, which is sometimes difficult for even experienced learners to understand. But! The passive form must be learned like two and two! This will make it easier to understand the next steps of the study, since the passive form is used in all temporary forms – from Simple to Perfect Continuous.

Help for clarification:

  • To be done
  • To be being done
  • To have been done
  • To have been being done.

But! And that is not all! Remember the extra use of modal verbs! Can, could, would, will do, should, might, have done, have been doing, may, will do … – the variety surprises with the choice, which allows you to make the speech colorful, and the thought – exhaustive.

Important! But in any case, a simple form is the basis of all foundations. Start with it.

For some students, this topic may seem like an endless end to end, but it is not. Eat the elephant bit by bit. This means that do not tackle the whole problem at once, in this case – to study the issue globally. First, we study one aspect, then the second. The study of the following should be started only when the previous ones are well studied.

Other English topics: Past Simple-Past Continuous Test – for beginners and advanced learners


This is the easiest time. The easiest.

Value is a statement of fact. Indicates a regular, normal, regular action. Facts, truths. The exact moment in time is NOT defined at this time.

In general, if you just say – shows a normal action, someone did something, someone knows something, etc. well, or just a fact. Likewise, an action that, for example, a person does every morning, or every day, or what a person did yesterday.
If the sentence contains words – everyday, usually, never, at first, then, after, in the morning, in the evening, tomorrow, next week, next month, often, soon- then most likely this is just a simple time. You can distinguish it by the presence of auxiliary verbs in negative and interrogative sentences in the sentence: do, does, did, didn’t, don’t, will, shall, will not, shall not. Remember – regularity, fact, routine.

Present – a person does it now, or he does it every day (speaks every day, or reads a book, writes a letter, etc.).
The past is an action that was or took place in the past. Well, or a fact from the past (I wrote a letter yesterday, worked every day, worked from 90 to 95, went shopping in the evening).
Future – an action or a series of actions that will happen in the future, predictions, predictions (I will work tomorrow, write a letter, I will learn foreign languages ​​every day, I will make an abstract soon).


Process is the main meaning of time. Indicates that an action is being done, has been done or will be done for a certain time. I did, but I didn’t. If the sentence contains words – now, at the moment, at, when, while, at 20 o’clock, tomorrow – then most likely this is a long time. You can distinguish it by the ing-ovoy ending of the verbs. Auxiliary verbs – was, were, was not, were not, am, will be, shall be. Remember – shows that time was spent on the action.

The present is an action that a person is doing right now, he really does it and spends his time, and this is what is shown in the sentence (Working now, writing a letter at the moment, going home now).
The past is an action that took place at a certain moment in the past, or that was done at the moment when another action took place. (I wrote the letter at 7pm; he wrote the letter when I entered the room, he slept for 4 hours).
The future is an action that will take place at a certain point in the future (I will be writing a letter at 7 pm, I will be digging the ground tomorrow from 7 am to 9 am).


The result is the main meaning of time. Shows that the action has taken place, there is a result! If the sentence contains words – twice, lately, recently, several times, yet, already, never, just, ever – then this is most likely just the completed tense. You can distinguish by the auxiliary verbs – had, has, have, shall have, will have.

Remember – there is a result, the action has ended or will end here, and this is anyway.

The present is an action that took place in the past, but has the most direct connection with the present. Example: he has already written a letter. Let me explain: he did it in the past, but the result refers specifically to the present. Example: I just lost my key. Let me explain: what he lost was in the past, but he talks about it now.
Past – an action that ended up to a certain point in time in the past (I wrote a letter by 7 o’clock).
The future is an action that will be completed by a certain moment in the future (I will write a letter by 7 o’clock).

Completed – long-term

Here I would suggest self-study. This time is not used in colloquial speech, and it is better to come to the study of this time after studying the above written tenses. Don’t worry, work out the previous times!

So, to summarize:

Simple time is a statement of fact.
A long time is a process.
Completed is the result.
Practice leads to excellence. Do simple tasks, guided by this article, and soon you will calmly distinguish one time from another. Improve yourself!

How to Learn English Tenses: The Rescue Cheat Sheet

Students often ask themselves: how easy is it to learn tenses in English? Undoubtedly, for this you need to learn the meaning of each time. To understand what time will help to convey your thought, formulate it in Russian and determine when the action takes place: every day, specifically now, etc. Signs related to the duration of the action and its completeness will help to choose the temporal form.

Simple tenses are used when it comes to a regular action that occurs every day, every week, etc. Words that indicate the frequency of the action will help to define this form in the English text: usually, once a year, on Mondays, often, sometimes, never, in winter, etc.

You should also learn the words that indicate the times of the Continuous group: now, at the moment, from… to…, the whole life and others. The meaning that this time conveys is the incompleteness of the process in question. It is used when an action continues for a period of time in the past, present or future.

If the action has already ended, choose the times of the Perfect group. They are easy to spot in the text if you learn clue words such as already, yet, just, recently, lately. They say that by a certain point in time the process has completed or will be completed.

Perfect Continuous is a rarely used form of tense: its knowledge is more likely to be needed on an English exam than in real life. However, it is still worth learning what a completed long time is and how it is formed. The meaning of this time is that the described action lasted for a certain period. In Russian it can be expressed as follows: “In May I’ll have been writing book for a year”.

Try to learn formulas that reflect the construction of difficult English times. For example, Present Continous is indicated by the formula “to be doing”, Past Perfect – “had done”, Future Perfect Continous – “shall have been doing”.

If you are looking for a way to learn English tenses, you can use summary tables. Such tables should contain the names of times, schemes of their construction, signal words and examples of use. The visual presentation of information always helps to remember it better.

When learning English, it is worth using several teaching aids, in which the same rules will be explained in different ways. Do not forget to consolidate knowledge in practice. To do this, take exercises with answers: you will need them to test yourself and work on mistakes.

Well-studied theory is the foundation for practical training

In this situation, consistency is the key to success. English boasts 26 types of temporal forms, so you won’t be able to learn everything in one evening. The first brick in the base foundation should be laid with Simple times. Simple forms are the basis for the education of everyone else. First, we learn the table of the times of the English language, and then everything else. The tenses table clearly shows how verbs are formed and what are their exceptions. Yes, yes, from the table you can see the features of the formation of the basic form of the verb, you just need to fill your hand and know the formation of English verbs as twice two.

On a note! You need to know not only the formation of the verb, but also its meaning. Say, tell, speak – see the difference? It’s the same with look / see. To use a verb correctly in a sentence, you need to know its specific meaning. Moreover, there can be several values. This can be confusing too. Therefore, we recommend that you study the rules for the formation of verbs along with examples. This will help you better understand what’s what.

Theory dies if it is not supported by practical exercises

Have you studied the theory well and feel confident for further achievements? Have you understood the theoretical part well enough to put it into practice? Statistics show that a human factor acts in colloquial speech, which is the main reason for the misuse of the verb or its form. What does this mean?

Even if you have learned the theory perfectly, during a conversation you can get confused and forget about everything. How can you avoid this? To practice! Stand in front of a mirror and look yourself in the eye. Watch for one to two minutes. Do not be afraid. If you are afraid to look yourself in the eye, how will you look other person in the eye? Now start talking to a fictional interlocutor. Speak confidently and correctly. Imagine that this is a colleague you want to impress, a person you like, or your teacher. This may sound ridiculous to some, but it is.

The most famous speakers, before going on stage, develop their speaking skills in front of a mirror (this technique is taught by many specialists). They try to communicate with people as much and often as possible so as not to worry and avoid the human factor (confusion, fear, insecurity, etc.).

Other tips on how to sow the seed of confidence and consolidate your theoretical knowledge:

  • Read aloud texts, articles, notes in English
  • Translate texts from Russian into English in different temporal forms. Feel like an author!
  • Watch films in English with English subtitles (just with English). Think about why this particular time was chosen, and not another? There is a lot to learn from native speakers of the correct form of the verb.
  • Everything that you do every day around the house, mentally translate into English. Making tea? Translate. Has dinner already been prepared? You need to use a different temporary form. Planning your laundry for tomorrow? Time will already be different. Translate every day! As they say, drop by drop. You yourself will not notice how you learn to use the basic forms of the verb easily and easily.

Other English Topics: Perfect Time in English or Perception of Completed Actions

Try to communicate with native speakers

Communication in English will be useful at the stage when you have already learned the basic rules of the formation of the times and are well versed in them. Written or oral communication with a native will help you to practice this knowledge in practice, bring it to automatism, so that you can instantly select the desired form of time. Talking with people who know the language well is also worth it because, if necessary, they will correct your mistakes.

Step outside your “comfort zone”

Attending an English course or chatting in a hobby club is a good way to improve your skills. There is only one drawback: in this environment you are not afraid of mistakes, because the teacher will correct you, and the classes will go on as usual. If you start to apply what you have learned in an official environment, when communicating with business partners, the cost of a mistake will instantly increase. Stressful situations activate the brain: trying to speak as correctly as possible, you focus and remember everything you know.

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