How to turn passive vocabulary into active vocabulary?

As a non-native English speaker, we tend to memorize lots of English vocabulary, but as a matter of fact, most people remember their meanings corresponding to our native language, so I can recongnize the words in the process of reading, but we cannot use these words in our speaking and writing, and these kind of vocabulary we memorized is called passive vocabulary. I believe that situation goes for anyone who studys another language. Do you have any idea to turn those passive vocabulary into active vocabulary, so that those words can be used in expressing ourselves and conveying meaning.

Jul 4, 2014 5:57 AM
Comments · 8

I've thought about this a lot and have written a couple of articles about it for my students, including an exercise based on an authentic text.  In brief, you need a systematic approach which:

a) analyses the meaning and form of words/phrases in context

b) makes good use of free online resources 

c) leads you to explain to yourself in your own way how the word/phrase should be used, and

d) then leads you to create your own original sentences and obtain feedback on them.

If anyone is interested, please message me. 

March 19, 2016

Use it!

March 5, 2016

Now I know it looks like I'm being lazy, but there is no need for me to 'reinvent the wheel' when there are so many good sources to answer your question on the internet.


Use the following search terms in your browser:

"how to convert passive vocabulary into active vocabulary"


March 5, 2016
i ask myself the same question, i think just conversation will do the work, it might take a long time
March 19, 2016
Just use the words you know without fear.

By practing and keeping on your purpouse language, you'll be able to get this goal.
In beginning it could be hard, but just don't give up!

Anyway I want to leave you a small tip: you could start by reading small english texts or books without think in your own native language. So, after a little of time, you should be able to think and write whitout much problems.

I wish you the best. Bye! :-)
March 5, 2016
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language