English Vocabulary

This section includes free advice and tutorials to help you build your English vocabulary. These materials are designed both for TOEFL prep and for general English study.

Learning English with Games

Free Rice You’ve probably heard of freerice.com. It gained popularity a few years ago, and while it’s no longer the crazy fad it was, it’s not any less useful for vocabulary building. Here’s how it works: you answer a multiple-choice vocabulary question, and for each correct answer, ten grains of rice are donated to the […]

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TOEFL Vocabulary- Phrasal Verbs with Keep

We haven’t done vocabulary in a while. Today, we’ll talk about the topic that everybody loves to hate: phrasal verbs. To be specific, we’ll be dealing with phrasal verbs involving the word “keep.” The trick with phrasal verbs is knowing the context in which they can be used, since many of them are only appropriate […]

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TOEFL Vocabulary: Ped Paed

Pedometer. Pediatrician. Pedal. Pedagogy. Pedestrian. What do all these words have in common? Unfortunately, the obvious answer isn’t quite correct. Although all these words contain “ped-,” they actually come from two different roots that, by an unhappy accident, are identical in most circumstances. The Latin “ped-” means “foot;” the Greek “ped-” means “child.” Depending on […]

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How Many Words Do You Need to Know for the TOEFL

This seems like a very simple question, but in fact it’s incredibly hard to answer. We don’t need to analyze the question too much to see the problem. Let’s just look at a small example to show why counting words isn’t very practical.   Counting Words Is Extremely Hard Take the word “place, ” for […]

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Commonly Confused TOEFL Word Pairs: Effect vs. Affect

After too/to and your/you’re, effect and affect are probably one of the most frequently misunderstood word pairs in common English, especially for all those out there studying for the TOEFL. In spite of this, the  difference between them is actually pretty simple: generally speaking, effect is a noun, and affect is a verb. If you […]

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Making Your TOEFL Vocabulary Stick

As you prepare for the TOEFL, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by a seemingly infinite pile of flashcards. Not only is this no fun, but it’s not the most effective way to learn. It’s way easier to learn something new if you can relate it to things you already know, so let’s apply this rule […]

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