English students sometimes feel that they need a huge vocabulary range in order to express themselves clearly.
While students taking a Cambridge exam need to demonstrate an impressive vocabulary range, native English speakers in day-to-day conversations often communicate with between 1,000 and 2,000 words. English students have usually learnt about 2,000 words by Pre-intermediate / Intermediate Level. In other words, they have enough English in their heads to describe people and things, and to say what they want, and how they feel.
It takes time and perseverance to acquire an extensive vocabulary range. Meanwhile, focus on using the English that you know and check that you are using it correctly. Do this and you will find that people can understand you and you will feel encouraged. I tried my Intermediate level French when I was in France in 2017. I didn’t know what I sounded like to people I spoke to, but I was very relieved and pleased that they understood me.
Today, I’m featuring a song, It Had To Be You, made famous by Frank Sinatra. The lyrics are easy to understand and most of the grammar is simple. The song is a fine example of sophisticated, yet uncomplicated English:
IT HAD TO BE YOU
(It had to be you, it had to be you)
I wandered around and finally found somebody who
Could make me be true,
Could make me feel blue,
And even be glad just to be sad, thinking of you.
Some others I’ve seen
Might never be mean,
Might never be cross, or try to be boss
But they wouldn’t do.
For nobody else gave me a thrill.
With all your faults, I love you still.
It had to be you, wonderful you.
It had to be you.