Watch as many movies and read as many books as you can, they say, and a good vocabulary won’t be long in coming.
However, most non-native English speakers (often adults) might feel like they’ve already done quite a lot for improving their vocabulary skills, and maybe they are already perfect at solving vocabulary quizzes in their English classes, but they still don’t feel confident enough when speaking, or, for example, get overwhelmed with new, unknown words that are showing up when it comes to reading a new book.
We at Shortcut assume that all common ways of building a better vocabulary that most English learners usually expect to be the best ones, such as watching TV shows, speaking with natives or reading books of all sorts aren’t really helpful if we talk about improving your vocabulary really fast, like in less than 3 months.
Good old flashcards, reinvented
Our key point: Why waiting for ages until you find a good new word in a book if you can come straight to it in just a few clicks/taps?
And: why learning all random new words without understanding how useful each one actually is? Maybe some of them (or even most of them) are used so rarely that it’s just not worth investing your time and effort into memorising them?
So we’ve invented Shortcut, an iOS and app, which is meant to address these issues and to be the most effective vocabulary development tool ever made.
Here’s how you can quickly build a better vocabulary in 2 easy steps:
1) Get a list of the most used English words that is long enough and where the words are sorted by how often they are used in the language. Download the app first to get access to the list.
2) Mark the words that you don’t know yet (but be honest with yourself! If you are not sure whether you really know the meaning of the word, do not mark it as ‘Know’):
- Go through 2 000 of the most common English words to cover 80% of all the words that you can ever come across first. This primarily targets English beginners, but even some more advanced English learners might miss a couple of important ones there.
- For a more advanced level, you should go through 5 000 of the most common words, or 90% of all possible words.
- For a safe proficiency, you need to go through 8 500 of the most common words, or 95% of all possible words. Most people should stop there.
- For a native-like vocabulary size level, you’ll need to go through about 12 000 words or 99% of all possible words. You can normally skip this step and resort to learning these words incidentally when you come across them somewhere else, though the real perfectionists can learn them too 🙂
- Learning more than 12 000 words makes no sense at all because there is almost a zero chance that you’ll need each of them in a real-life situation and learning them seems like a never-ending story. They are also mostly used only in very sophisticated fiction books and academic writings.
2) Study the words you’ve marked as ‘Don’t know’ one by one, whereas the words are again sorted by your chances to need them in a real-world situation:
3) Review the translation up to 10 times or mark it as ‘Remembered’ if you feel like you’ve memorised it well enough:
We assure you that if you study at least about 300 most common new words that you didn’t know before, you’ll immediately feel a huge improvement in your active and writing vocabulary, as well as in your reading comprehension and spoken English fluency.
Download Shortcut today on your iOS device and try it out for free!