Cast Iron Skillet

A blog about teaching, English, and teaching English

Cotton’s Law

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While English class is not the place you usually expect to study equations, here is the exception. I promise that if you memorize this simple equation, and apply it at the proper time, not only will you increase your vocabulary but you will enjoy doing so.

Cotton’s Law:

New Word = Good Thing

Learning vocabulary is all about attitude. Some people see an unfamiliar word and think to themselves: I don’t know this word. Why do they have to use words like these? I hate when I don’t know a word. I feel stupid! In most cases, these people will not look up the word, and if they do, they are unlikely to remember it.

The alternative is to see a new word and think: This is good. I get to learn a new word. While this doesn’t guarantee that you will remember the word, it improves your chances. And you’ll feel a lot better about yourself, and maybe even enjoy the reading. And you’re also more likely to be at peace with the simple fact that learning vocabulary is a lifelong task for everyone.


One thought on “Cotton’s Law

  1. Reblogged this on Whylieto and commented:
    I recall during my third semester of French, my fellow classmates would say things like, “It just keep getting harder and harder.” Learning vocabulary is all about attitude, indeed; the concept of Cotton’s Law also applies to the pursuit of foreign language–each day that goes by, grasping the language becomes more attainable so long as one consistently expands one’s well of vocabulary.

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