The following is one of a series of guest posts by Mike Shelby. Mike is a former ESL teacher who has been quietly (i.e., without his own blog) disseminating his thoughts on language learning around the internet for quite some time.
I’ve always supported learning and practicing set phrases in context. In my opinion vocabulary should be learned and practiced first through input (listening and reading), and then used through output (speaking and writing) on each real life topic. But vocabulary is a broad concept; it includes not only phrases, but also separate words, idioms, proverbs, sayings, etc.
My idea below may be important to you to improve your English materials.
As you know word combinations (collocations) in speaking are unpredictable. There are different word collocations and phrases and synonyms to convey a thought in English.
It's possible to encompass in ready-made materials a wide variety of English phrases for each conversation topic. It is a good idea to prepare a potential list of phrases with sentences on each conversation topic, for example fixed conversational phrases that do not require English grammar knowledge (greetings, forms of addressing a person, thanks, well-wishing, apology, agreeing, disagreeing, emotions, etc.).
Practicing English with such materials can help a learner more easily choose the most appropriate word combinations to convey a thought.
Multiple frequent reading of such sentences in English will gradually ensure firm memorization of English vocabulary and contribute to developing good speaking skills.
By combining the most inclusive English phrase books, conversation books, general English thematic dictionaries, software, audio and video aids, and websites, you can create the most practical and thorough content for mastering each conversation topic in English for all levels, including a wide selection of ready-to-use phrases, vocabulary, and sentences for daily use.