How to improve your Vocabulary and Reading

To extend your vocabulary and be able to guess the meaning of unknown words, you have to understand the structure of English words.

The longer a word the more difficult it is! The difficult words usually derive from Latin (the ancient language of the Roman empire) but many are combinations of Greek and Anglo-Saxon as well as other European languages such as French and German.

English words are constructed with a main stem which holds the main meaning of the word. In addition, affixes - prefixes and suffixes - may be attached at the front and end of the word respectively, which change or add to the meaning of the word.

So, for example, if "Chron" (this time derived from the Greek _Chronos_) means time then what does "Chronometer" mean? Well its simply a time-meter or in common terms a watch!

The affixes help you to understand the meaning of the word as well. If the word stem is "lingual" (meaning tongue) then what do you think "bilingual" means? A person with two tongues? Well, you were close! It actually means someone who can speak two languages!

When you are reading look at the structure of the unknown words you come across and then ask yourself if it resembles a word that you already know. Nine times out of ten you will be able to make a very accurate analysis and get the meaning, especially in context.

Reading is an important skill and one of the components tested in the IELTS Exam (International English Language Testing System). To prepare yourself for this universally accepted English language test you should consider joining an IELTS preparation course.

*HKEnglish.com runs regular IELTS preparation courses specifically designed around your exact needs in Hong Kong. For more information have a look here*
"IELTS Preparation Course"