I made this mistake. It’s very common. There’s a chance you are making it too.

When I first started learning Spanish, I decided I would start with vocabulary.

In principle, there’s nothing wrong with that idea, but it can lead you off track.

I had a vocabulary book. I opened it up. The first page was all about the kitchen. Another page focused on the tool shed.

I was already good at using mnemonics so I learned a lot of the words in a short time.

If you missed my article on mnemonics, it’s on this page:


Even though I was learning a lot of words, they did almost nothing to help me communicate in Spanish or understand Spanish.

Here’s where I got lost.

In the tool shed I learned the word for rasp.

Como decía mi esposa, (as my wife used to say): “You’re not Handy Manny.” I have never once used the Spanish word for rasp.

Even if I were Handy Manny, how often would I use the word “rasp”?

Lo mismo me pasó (the same thing happened to me) with the kitchen words.

I learned the Spanish for dish drainer and plughole. In a decade of living in Mexico, I never used those words once.

En fin (in short), it was a waste of effort.

Deciding what to learn is just as important as how you learn.

It’s more important to speak with the most frequently used words in Spanish than build a vocabulary around a theme.

In Synergy Spanish, a lot of the heavy lifting of choosing what to speak is already done for you. The path is so refined, you only learn the most impactful Spanish. Nothing wastes your time. All your efforts bring you maximum rewards.

It’s so distilled, you can turn 138 words into as many as 88, 000 Spanish phrases.

Whether you decide to take the easy path or beat your own path, don’t forget to give as much attention to what you learn as how you learn it.