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164 Vocabulary British English Lessons

Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be.

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10 of our 164 Vocabulary British English Lessons

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Butterfly - An Experiment in AI

GPT-3 is a neural network created by OpenAI which uses an autoregressive language model and deep learning to produce text that is indistinguishable from that produced by a human being. I decided to pose a question to the GPT-3 AI to test its capabilities. The question I posed to the AI was: What does it feel like to be a butterfly? The answer I got back was interesting, to say the least. I used Amazon Polly, another neural net AI, to read aloud the GPT-3 AI’s answer. I then fed the audio file into an AI animation software package which created a recognisable character that could present the AI generated answer to you on the screen. The following video is the result. Bear in mind that everything you see and hear was created by artificial intelligence. All I did was add some eye-candy in the form of the caterpillar and butterfly videos in the background.


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Affluenza

I have designed this lesson to look at the vocabulary of wealth. Whether you are poor, wealthy, or stinking rich, you will learn much about the words we use to describe people who do have money. You will also learn about some common portmanteau words. If you don’t know what a portmanteau word is, you really do need to do this lesson. The vocabulary of wealth we’ll look at includes: acquisition, affluence, billionaire, capitalist, consumer, flush, impoverished, loaded, made of money, man of means, millionaire, minted, prosperous, rolling in it, stinking rich, trillionaire, wealthy, well-healed, well-off, and well-to-do.


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Parsimonious

Whether you have money or not, there is a lot of vocabulary in English to do with it. This lesson will help you talk about being careful with your money to being miserly with it. Whether you are generous with your money, or a total Scrooge, you will find the vocabulary in this lesson useful.


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My Biggest Fear

We all seem to be worried these days. We're worried about the coronavirus. We are worried about the effects of the virus on the economy. We are worried about our futures. Worries are a natural human response to circumstances which arise because, unlike most other animals, we are capable not only of agonising over the past, but also of looking into the future and thinking about how things might be. This human curse has a rich vocabulary enabling us to talk about our fears, worries, and concerns with others for, after all, a worry shared is a worry two people have got, and troubles are easier to bear if you know you are not alone in facing them. This lesson aims to help you with some of the vocabulary concerning worries and fears.


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Unpredictability

Many English multisyllable words are made up of many parts including prefixes and suffixes, and if you learn the most common prefixes and suffixes, you can expand your vocabulary dramatically. The word unpredictability has two secondary stresses as well as the main stress that is found in all English words. It’s unusual for a word to have more than one secondary stress, but this is the result of unpredictability being composed of so many parts. There are several negative prefixes in English. The most common are: de, dis, il, im, in, ir, mis, and un. This lesson will introduce you to some of them as well as helping you to pronounce them. I also look at prominence for effect. 


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Plum Plumb Plume

Words that begin with plum* have some radically different pronunciations which confuses a lot of students. This lesson came from a request by Spyridon, a student of mine in Australia, who was perplexed by the pronunciation. I created this lesson to make sure that nobody need ever be confused by these words again. The lesson contains the most common plum* words including, plum, plumage, plumb, plumber, plumbery, plumbic, plumbing, plume, plumed, plummet, plummy, plumose, plump, plumper, plumule, and plumy. Listen to me pronouncing each word and do the exercises to make sure you learn, remember, and use them correctly from now on.


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Million or Millions

Words like hundred, thousand, million, billion, and trillion cause confusion for students who are not sure if they should use hundreds, thousands, millions, billions, and trillions instead. This lesson will help you to avoid this mistake. It gives you the simple rules to follow and some exercises to help you practice using them. If you have asked a hundred times how to use these words, this microlearning lesson is for you. You should not have to do it hundreds of times before you stop making this common mistake.


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Nouns ending in -age

There is a set of words in English which end in the letters age and which cause pronunciation problems for students. Students see the letter combination age and try to pronounced the ends of these words as the word age. Few of these words do end with age and most end in / ɪdʒ /. This lesson will help you to make sure you always pronounce the words correctly.


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Frozen Food

Vocabulary that we use when talking about frozen food. This lesson was inspired by a student of mine, Monica from Italy, who asked why, if we freeze things, don't we unfreeze them? I decided to make a microlearning lesson that would provide the answer and give students the necessary vocabulary for talking about defrosting, thawing, freezing, and melting food items. This lesson uses short videos to make the message clear and gives you the chance to test your understanding of the vocabulary with a self-test feature.


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Irregular F Plurals

What I call irregular F plurals are nouns that end in the /f/ sound and are irregular plurals. Words like leaf, wife, and wolf. Not all nouns that end in /f/ are irregular plurals, however. Words like gulf, turf, and clef are regular plurals. Regular plurals in English simply add an S to the noun. Boy become boys, girl becomes girls, and lesson becomes lessons. Irregular plurals don’t do this. Some words that end in the /f/ sound, form the plural using ves. Of the irregular F plurals, leaf becomes leaves, knife becomes knives, and wolf becomes wolves. Notice that knife ends in FE but has the /f/ sound.


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10 of our 164 Vocabulary British English Lessons


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