Dear Students,

This week I've been thinking about the difference between good students and great students. One of the factors is that great students have a notebook in which they write down new words and phrases that they like and want to bring into their active vocabulary.

When I say something my best students have never heard before, they get a little smile on their face and they add it to their collection. It's the same when they're watching movies or reading articles on the BBC. A student in Greece (who had an extraordinary vocabulary) told me that he collected words like other people collect stamps.

Over time, such students build a vocabulary that sounds fresher, more 'native-like' than the average student.

The good news is, this technique is simple and you can start today!

Earlier, I was listening to a man talking about courage and bravery. He said, 'Ask tough questions - don't be meek'. Meek! It's a long time since I heard that word and I thought to myself, 'I'd love one of my students to use words like that.'

meek definition

You could use it when talking about how you've changed:

"When I was a child I used to be quite meek; now I'm more assertive."

Or about someone's character:

"He seems to be quite meek, but in fact he's as tough as nails."

What words or phrases have you heard today that you want to add to your active vocabulary?