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Learn English Through Opposites

We remember words by making connections. One way to make connections is by learning words in pairs, in other words, by learning opposites. Some opposites are easy - black/white, up/down, left/right, yes/no, in/out or come/go. Other pairs are not so easy, for example borrow/lend, extend/withdraw, attack/defend, accept/refuse. By learning lots of opposites and then testing yourself on your knowledge, you will have a better chance of remembering new vocabulary.

To help yourself learn new words, then, you can keep a list of words and look up the opposite a dictionary. For example, if you look up a word like "affirm" in your dictionary, then you will know the meaning in your native language. Think of the opposite in your native language and look that word up in the dictionary, giving you the English meaning. Now keep those words together in your list.

Once you have a long list of opposites, you are ready to "test" yourself. Simply ask yourself, or a friend, "what's the opposite of affirm?" and, hopefully, you will be able to come up with the word "negate". If you do not remember an opposite, make a note to come back to that word later. As you try over and over again, you will start to remember more easily. You will not only remember that word, you will also remember the opposite word that goes with it. In effect, you will be studying with 50% more efficiency!

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