Check out the ideas below, try a few, combine them, vary them,... Some of the
suggestions may sound a bit crazy - but do give them a try, they really work.
Most important of all, have fun.
PS: If you have any other tips or tricks which you would like to share with us,
I would be very happy to hear from you.
- USE THE WORD TODAY
Find an opportunity to use the new word TODAY - Try to smuggle the new word
into a telephone conversation, discussion or e.mail message during the course of today.
- THE 24-HOUR RULE
Your memory for new words will be dramatically improved if you repeat
your learning AFTER 24 hours. Besides learning your daily word, I strongly
advise you to REVIEW YESTERDAY’S WORD . This will double your learning
effectiveness. You can do this easily on the OWAD site by clicking the
link at the end of each day’s word explanation.
- OFFICE ENGLISH LOTTO
Create an English competition with colleagues in your office. Before you
click the One-Word-A-Day answer make bets about which definition is correct.
10 points if first choice correct, 5 points if second choice correct. Nominate
winner of the week, winner of the month, winner of the year...
- COFFEE BREAK
Involve a colleague in your office in your English wordpower development -
take a few minutes in the coffee or lunch break to test each other with the
words you would especially like to remember.
- STORY TELLING
Children learn very effectively through stories, so can you. Create a
mini-story for those words you have the most trouble remembering. As a review,
make a point of reading the OWAD min-stories we send you.
Close your eyes and imagine a jet plane writing your word with a huge vapour
trail across the sky
- RECALL SOME SYNONYMS
When you learn the new word, recall other English words with similar meanings
- having alternative ways of saying something gives you more precision and
flexibility in speaking.
Leonardo wrote his notes in mirror-writing, from right to left. Be like
Da Vinci and write your new word as it would appear in reflection. The extra
effort may help you learn it (another variation is to write the text upside down).
- GERMAN-ENGLISH FLASHCARDS
The well-known technique of writing each word on a single card is a
useful, transportable learning help. Write the German translation on the
- GRAFFITI YOUR COMPUTER SCREEN
Write the new word in red ink (water-soluble) in an area your computer
screen which you often click. Whenever you click, say the word,... at day's
end when you clean the screen, BINGO! you'll know the word!
- LEARN OPPOSITES
Many words have natural opposites (antonyms) - rich/poor, heaven/hell,
boom/bust,... by also checking opposites you are completing your understanding
of the concept and filling-in gaps in your personal wordpool.
- USE FEELINGS
How do professional actors learn their lines? They practice their
material in complete sentences and they speak them out loud with feeling.
We often remember things when feelings are involved - place the new word an
emotional sentence, and say it several times with PASSION.
- CONTEXT IS THE CLUE
Write out the context sentence on a small card, but leave a BLANK for
the new word. Check yourself in spare moments by reading the sentence and
remembering the missing word (TIP: if the word is particularly difficult,
write the first four or five letters in the blank space lightly in pencil
- MAKE AN ICON
Draw a personal symbol or icon to represent each new word. For instance
draw a cloud to represent the word "rainmaker". Put this symbol on a Post-It
note and say the word whenever you see the symbol.
- USE A NATIVE SPEAKER
Engage English native speakers in conversation about the new word. Ask
them to pronounce it and to give you a definition or synonym. Ask them to
create a sentence with the word in it.
- TEACH TO LEARN
A great way to learn is to teach! Explain your word-of-the-day to a
colleague or friend, provide an example and if necessary a memory aid.
Test your friend after 60 minutes, and the next day. Teach it, and you'll
- MAKE A “DONKEY BRIDGE”
The phrase “donkey bridge” does not exist in English. We use the Greek
word “mnemonic” or “memory aid”. By creating a visual bridge with something
you know in German you can often remember the word - example: the phrase
“donkey bridge” is a mnemonic to help ME remember your German Eselsbrücke!
Write your new word on a Post-It Note and stick it on your telephone -
whenever the phone rings, or before you make a call, say the word to yourself,
or out loud.
- RECORD THE WORDS ON CASSETTE
Make a cassette recording of the words you want to learn and listen to
these in your car. Here is a suggested format:
- speak the German translation (or English definition),
- PAUSE for 5 seconds (to give you time to answer).
- speak the word.
- WRITE WITH YOUR LEFT-HAND
Try using your non-dominant hand (for most people the left hand) to
note down any new words you want to learn. Many people find the
effort of doing this helps them remember the word!
- FINAL THOUGHT: USE SEVERAL STRATEGIES
To learn a specific word, don’t rely on just one of the strategies
given above. Use several techniques. Try them all out and see which ones
work best for you. Learning really is more effective if it is fun, use
the techniques you enjoy!