A kind of situation happens a lot to me where I've seen and heard a word lots of times, such as "identify", but I don't remember to use it when I talk; instead, the word comes to my mind is "find".

I'm aware it's because I haven't mastered the word. Is there a term/phrase to refer to this kind of situations, like the level of mastery of a word?

For example, for the word "find", I've achieved listening, talking, reading and writing but for "identify" I just achieved listening and writing.


1 Answer 1


You will find lots of relevant information if you google active and passive vocabulary.

But the problem of finding words on the tip of one's tongue is common to most people. We often remember the first letter or the number of syllables without being able to bring the word up from our memory when we want it. Then it pops into our consciousness later.

Many people try to find mnemonics to help them remember words and phrases that they often can't recall. (For example I use B9 to remember benign, a word that often evades me.)

You could try to remember ID as a clue to identity or identify, or make up a phrase such as I dent it.

Don't concern yourself too much. Your problem is common to most of us.


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