500 Words, Phrases and Idioms
Improve your English by learning word sets. English has lots of vocabulary items that represent one idea but use more than own word. The most common types of multi-word vocabulary are idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs, and collocations. Take a look at what you get in the 500 Words, Phrases and Idioms study pack.
Idioms are groups of words that together have a meaning that is different from their original meaning. For example, the phrase “get out of here” in literal terms means a person should leave an area. In spoken English it usually means some is shocked or surprised to hear something. Thus, the meaning of the words together are different then their original meaning. In spoken English, native speakers use an idiom about once every two minutes of speech! Below are some idioms.
- Drive me crazy - be annoying
- Made up my mind - made a decision
- In my blood - natural ability or liking
- Make small talk - short conversation
- Snowball - get bigger and bigger
- Bad apples - a bad thing in a group
100 Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal verbs are verbs followed by a particle. A particle is the same thing as a preposition. Some common phrasal verbs are get up, put down, look up, go over etc. There are thousands of phrasal verbs in English and many phrasal verbs have multiple meanings ( i.e. turn around, pick up,, etc.). Phrasal verbs are very common in spoken English. Speakers usually use at least one phrasal verb for every one minute of speech. Below are some phrasal verbs.
- Stand up
- Come along
- Put up with
- Carry on
- Die out
English speakers often use short phrases that convey one meaning. These phrases often come at the beginning or end of a sentence or clause. Most phrases have three or more words, but are spoken quickly and together as one sound. Because phrases are common, students of English should learn them to help them with both speaking and listening fluency. Learning phrases is a great way to increase listening fluency. Below are some examples of common phrases in English.
- All over the place
- At one point
- I see what you mean
- To be completely honest
- As you can imagine
- Just out of curiosity
Collocations are words that often go together, and as a pair or group have one meaning. Some examples of collocations are listed below. Collocations make an idea unit. That means that the words together convey one idea. In spoken English the words are spoken as one sound, not individual words. By learning collocations, students increase their ability to listen for meaning rather than words. Also, using collocations in conversations helps an English student sound fluent.
- Stay in shape
- Two for the price of one
- Grossly overpaid
- Spare time
- Urban legend
100 Academic Words
Academic words are words that are common in written English or an academic or business setting. These words are also used in spoken English of course, but they become more common in a professional setting. Academic words are usually at least three syllables long, which is a problem for most English students because one of the syllables is stressed. For students to sound fluent and have good pronunciation, they need to stress the correct syllable. The best way to learn syllable stress is to hear the words in spoken English. Below are some academic words and their syllable stress pattern.
- Consistent - con -SIS-tent
- Spontaneous - spon-TA-ni-ous
- Arrogant - AR-ro-gant
- Reluctant - re-LUC-tant
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Meet the Teacher
My name is Todd Beuckens and I am an ESL teacher in Japan. I created this course to help students improve their English in a fun course that does not take long to complete. Students can work through all the videos and audio in about two weeks (one week for highly motivated students).