- The idea is not to write your own dictionary. So please don’t just pick out the words and write down their definitions. What is needed is for you to show the words in context. This is so that when you look through the book later, you will not only take in the meanings of the words, you will also have a sense of how to use them. So let’s say you see the word “interminable”. Instead of just having an entry that looks like this: Interminable- unending; going on forever, you should have an entry that looks like this: “At first the lessons were painful to an extreme: interminable wrestling with fractions…”- unending; going on forever. Note that the word you want to define should be marked out in some way. In this way you do not have to keep going back to the source if you want to know how the word is used. The reason you should do this is because…
- This is just the beginning. For the holidays, I only asked you to use words from MF&OA. But now the onus is on you to keep looking for more words and phrases from more sources. Read, pick out the ones you want, show them in context and define them. It will not always be possible for you to return to the source- what if it is a newspaper or a library book? How many sources are you going to hold onto?
- Make sure you keep referring to the phrase book frequently. How useful it is depends on how much use you make of it. It is only going to work if you read through it every now and then, and make it a point to use the words and phrases in your own writing. If you keep this up, your active vocabulary by the time you sit for your ‘O’ levels will be truly formidable, and this vocabulary will stand you in good stead even when you leave school.
- Sometimes it happens that you cannot find a definition (this does not happen so much for words, but it can happen for phrases). Feel free to write into this blog or e-mail me directly to check with me. But do so only after you have done your utmost to find the answer.
- It may also happen that the definition you find is not satisfying, because it does not seem to match the word as it is used in the context you have identified. In this case, search till you find the right definition. Vary your sources.
Last but not least, please make sure you bring the phrase book to school whenever I ask you too, because I would like to check it once in a while to ensure that you are on the right track.