Saturday, August 27, 2011

Build Vocabulary from Advertisements and Headlines

Because headlines and advertisements are meant to be eye-catching and extremely condensed summaries of the news or products, they pose a unique problem for most non-native speakers. However, if you see headlines as a way of learning idioms, expanding your knowledge of expressions that often have double meanings, and practicing English in a fun way, you may be surprised by the results.

Here is a copy of some expressions that I cut out of various magazines and discussed with my intermediate level students in a vocabulary class. What is a pet peeve? a trendsetter? the rat race? They are all common expressions in American English. How about watch your words? How many meanings of "watch" do you know? How many ways can you use "watch", meaning "be careful"? What does opt out of something mean? Again, just learning a few phrases can take you quite far if you learn to use them appropriately. You can grow your vocabulary every day. Once you understand the phrase or word, listen and look for it on the radio, on TV, on the Internet, in the newspaper, and in magazines. See how many ways the expression is used. Let the English in!

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