For an English learner, s/he may have such difficulties when reads texts in a book:

"I don't understand some sentence because there are several words, say, X, Y, Z, I can't understand. Then I look them up in the dictionary. I find that there are several entries for each word: X1, X2, X3 for X, Y1,Y2,Y3,Y4 for Y, and Z1,Z2,Z3,Z4,Z5 for Z. However, the problem is that I don't know which combination should I take for understanding the text."

How should I overcome such vocabulary difficulties?


  • Should question of this kind be asked here?
  • If the answer is NO, how should one improve the question or ask it in an alternative way?

2 Answers 2


If the question is, "How should I overcome such vocabulary difficulties?" then the question is too broad. The general answer is learning more about English.

If the question would be about a specific case, then it would stop being too broad, and it would be more acceptable as per the FAQ.

You should only ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face. Chatty, open-ended questions diminish the usefulness of our site and push other questions off the front page.

Your questions should be reasonably scoped. If you can imagine an entire book that answers your question, you’re asking too much.

If the question is about the meaning of X, Y, Z where those words are used in the same sentence, then the question could be too localized, depending on X, Y, Z.


I think questions of this type are off-topic. Effectively, it's "How to improve my English?", which is specifically debarred by the FAQ.

Of course, the actual answer in this case is "deal with it the same way native speakers do". Which generally means if you find too many words in close proximity that you don't understand, the text you're reading is inappropriate to your current comprehension level.

If it's just the odd word here and there, either look it up in a dictionary, or (more likely) guess a suitable meaning and store that in the back of your mind to be tested against future guesses for the same word in different contexts.

  • 2
    +1 for "deal with it the same way native speakers do". Thanks for the simple advise. :-)
    – user8970
    Mar 20, 2012 at 18:09
  • 1
    @Jack: Your comment made me come back and think a little more about this issue. Others may not agree, but I've upvoted the question because I think the issue is "on-topic" here in meta, and it's good to have it raised in such a specific context. Mar 20, 2012 at 18:17

You must log in to answer this question.