How to Learn Vocabulary

Vocabulary for Beginners

It’s not always easy to remember vocabulary when you are a beginner. Learning long lists of words isn’t fun, and can be difficult to keep in your memory. When you first start to expand your vocabulary, try and make it interesting. This way, you will learn more quickly and be more likely to remember the nouns, verbs and adjectives.


Look at the picture

I like to encourage my students to learn sets of words, and today we are going to look at a different way of learning vocabulary. We’re going to watch a video and describe what we see. This lesson is based on an idea by the marvellous Jamie Keddie.

Circus Tent Squid

Nautilus Live

This wonderful octopus was filmed by Nautilus Live. A group of scientists live on board a ship and they explore the oceans and film the sea creatures that live there.

First of all, look at the picture. I’d like you to think of some vocabulary to describe our octopus.

If you can, divide your list of words into categories. An example might look like mine, below.

  • appearance (what the octopus looks like e.g. beautiful, ugly)
  • feeling (how the octopus feels e.g. scared, hungry)
  • what the octopus makes you think of (e.g. a ballerina)





watch the video

Now watch the video (it’s about 5 minutes long) and see if you can add to your list.

Describe the octopus

Now you’ve seen the video, let’s write some sentences.

When we describe someone or something we usually use a formula of words, in this case we are going to use the verb ‘look’.

Look + adjective

The octopus looks weird (look + adjective)

Now make some sentences like this using your ‘appearance’ and ‘feeling’ words.

Look + noun

The octopus looks like a ballerina ( look like + noun)

Try making some more sentences like this using the last category, what the squid reminds you of.


Send your sentences to me

Now you can send your sentences to me and I’ll post the most interesting ones on my Facebook page.


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