Vocabulary is much tougher and time-consuming to master.
Let’s explore why.
This post comes from my experience of adding more than 8,000 words and phrases to my vocabulary in a way that I can actually use them on the fly in my speech and writing. Some words, especially those that I haven’t used for long time, may elude me, but overall the recall & use works quite well.
That’s why you build vocabulary, right? To use in speech and writing. There are no prizes for building list of words you can’t use. (The ultimate goal of vocabulary-building is to use words in verbal communication where you’ve to come up with an appropriate word in split second. It’s not to say that it’s easy to come up with words while writing, but in writing you can at least afford to think.)
Many watch English movies, listen to radio and songs, and read books and newspapers to improve their English. But they make little progress even after several months of watching, listening, and reading.
An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a meaning that in most cases cannot be deduced directly from the individual words in that phrase or expression.
For example, the idiom ‘bite off more than you can chew’ doesn’t mean you bite more than a mouthful of a cake or something else and then struggle to chew. It means you try to do something that is too difficult for you.
How are they different from proverbs? Proverbs are well-known sayings, stating a general truth or advice. For example, the proverb ‘a picture is worth thousand words’ is a general truth. The idiom ‘bite off more than you can chew’, however, is neither a general truth nor an advice.