inEnglish Blog:    Sometimes You Need to Use Your Imagination to Understand English

Vocabulary word - squirrelled

July 3, 2019

Sometimes You Need to Use Your Imagination to Understand English

Encountering New Words

“I squirrelled some money into a safe place.”

That sentence may be difficult to understand, especially the word, squirrelled. Furthermore, if you do not know what the word squirrel means it will be impossible to understand. So, let us first understand what the word squirrel means..

According to the dictionary.com app they define squirrel this way: A squirrel is a small animal with a long fury tail.

Gray Squirrel

Alright! Now that we know what the word squirrel means it is time to have some fun and let our imagination take over. Picture a squirrel, like the one in the photo. Now ask yourself, what do squirrels do with most of their time? If you answered, stash or hide nuts, you would be correct. Squirrels are notorious for stashing, or hiding the nuts that they find and it is from thier actions that English adopted the word squirreled as a way to say that we stashed or hid something away.

The Takeaway

When encountering new words, do not be so literal and quick to translate it into Chinese, instead, slow down and visualize what the text or speaker is saying. Use any knowledge of the word that you may have previously learned and allow your imagination to paint a picture of the word or sentence. You may find yourself in one of those “Ah Ha Moments” and realize that English really can be fun and flexible with its usage of words.

Have you ever tried this way of understanding words or realized what a word meant from picturing it in your mind? Tell us your experience below in the comment section.

Article Vocabulary

imagination [ih-maj-uh-ney-shuh n]
noun
Your imagination is the ability that you have to form pictures or ideas in your mind of things that are new and exciting, or things that you have not experienced.

stash [stash]
verb
If you stash something valuable in a secret place, you store it there to keep it safe.

notorious [nuh-tor-ee-uh s]
noun
If something or someone is notorious, they are publicly or generally know, as for a particular trait.

encounter [en-koun-ter]
verb
If you encounter problems or difficulties, you experience them.

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2 thoughts on “Sometimes You Need to Use Your Imagination to Understand English

  1. This way that new words study is very good, i will try to use it when i encounter new words. i can district the new words are verb、noun、adjective or adverb and so on. but sometime the mean of new words can’t be understand by me, however the new words is very important for understand the article, how will i do? i will chose to use dictionary, or i will not use anything to understand the new words, but i find you use the dictionary to understand for new words once, you will don’t like to conside and use knowledge to understand it, because i have dependent on the dictionary. so i decide i will don’t use angthing help when i meet the new words. i will use article to understand the new word.

    1. Hi Leah,
      To use a dictionary or not is not really the question. Of course a dictionary should be used. Rather, the art of learning new vocabulary (words) is the order that you follow to learn the word. First, try to understand the word by understanding the context, or how it is being used in the article. Then using a dictionary try to understand it’s (the words) English definition.