When learning vocabulary, it’s important to be aware that, as well as individual words, there are units of vocabulary consisting of more than one word. Learning combinations of words or ‘chucks’ of vocabulary makes it easier to expand your range of vocabulary and helps improve both your fluency and accuracy when speaking and writing English.
Multi-word vocabulary quizzes
Here are two quick quizzes that introduce four forms of multi-word vocabulary and then provide some commonly used examples that you can learn and use.
Quiz 1: Four types of multi-word vocabulary
Complete the sentences to learn about 4 types of multi-word vocabulary.
- A phrasal verb is a verb plus a particle, (a preposition or an adverb or sometimes both). For example, ‘look on’ (verb + preposition), ‘look up’ (verb + adverb) or ‘look forward to’ (verb + adverb + preposition). You can learn more and practise using them here: Phrasal verbs.
- An idiom is a group of words which have a different meaning when used together from the one they have if the meaning of each word separately is taken.
- Collocations are pairs of words that frequently occur together. You can learn more and practise using them here: Collocations.
- Dependent prepositions are called dependent because their choice depends on the particular verbs, nouns and adjectives which they follow. However, unlike the particle in phrasal verbs, dependent prepositions do not change the meaning of the verb. For example, in the following short sentences, the meaning of the verb is the same with or without the preposition: ‘It depends on Ming Zhou, not me.’ / ‘That depends.’
Quiz 2: Six examples of multi-word vocabulary
The first step in expanding your vocabulary is to notice new vocabulary and make a note of it. Next, you need to learn the new words, collocations, phrasal verbs and idiomatic expressions using your preferred method.
For some, this involves using an app like Quizlet. Some may prefer using a vocabulary notebook and/or cards. The important thing is to learn and then use the new vocabulary so that it becomes part of your active vocabulary, that is, vocabulary that you can use freely to express yourself.