How To Improve Your Vocabulary

Various ways one can improve his or her vocabulary

Building your vocabulary is a life and career enhancement project. Improving your vocabulary exposes you to benefits socially, at work or in school by increasing your ability to convey information by writing and delivering speeches or conversation.

Improving your vocabulary is not something you can achieve overnight but in this article, we are going to make it simply achievable with minimal or no stress. 

These highly reliable tips are not applicable to improving your vocabulary in the English language alone but in other languages like French, Spanish, German, Russia, Latin, Patois, Afrikaans, Dutch, Arabic, Asante Twi and what have you.

You should know that this article is not going to teach you a new language but to guide you to improve your vocabulary in a language that you already know or a language you are learning.

Here are some tips to guide you on your journey of improving your vocabulary.

1. Read, read and read.

Develop the habit of reading regularly and from a variety of sources. It is observed that people with very low vocabularies don't enjoy reading. The more you read the more you’ll come across new words. 

You should try and go outside of your comfort zone. If you fancy reading about sports news, blend it with some tech news or entertainment news. Read novels, literary works, newspapers, magazines and articles, whether it’s about finance, politics, science or economics. 

Do not skip a word or sentence you don’t understand. Try to derive meaning from the context of the sentence as well as looking up for the meaning of the word you don't understand from a dictionary. Reliable studies have emphatically confirmed that regular readers are able to express themselves very well if given the chance to speak.

You should pay close attention to words you’re not familiar with their meaning while you enjoy your reading. You don’t need to look up for the unfamiliar word you’ve noticed right away. Instead, highlight the words and then do your best to figure out the meaning of the words as used in the context before you lookup for the meaning in the dictionary. 

You should not forget that a word may have different meaning and the meaning you’re looking for might not be the first one in the dictionary so try and read everything the dictionary gives you under the word you are looking for.

2. Let your dictionary and thesaurus be always close to you.

If you really want to improve your vocabulary, your dictionary and thesaurus should always be close to you. 

It may seem bulky and burdensome to carry a dictionary along with you everywhere you find yourself but you can alternatively get a digital one on Google Play Store, Microsoft Store, Apple Store or any other application provider platform. Better still, you can look up the meaning of some words in your browser on google, yahoo, bing or other search engines. 

After finding the meaning of a word with a dictionary, consult your thesaurus and find the synonyms and antonym of the words or the phrases. Don’t forget to get the pronunciation of the new word too.

Also, Read;

👉 The Importance Of Building Your Vocabulary

3. Use a journal.

It's never a bad idea to list down the new words you’ve discovered after finding their meaning. Jotting those words down will help you go back to the list any time you want to refer and slowly build them into your everyday vocabulary.

Keeping a journal of all your new words will also help you keep track of the number of new words you've already learned so as to know whether you’re progressing or retrogressing.

Your list of vocabulary should not be only those you’ve encountered whilst you were reading a book but also those you’ve encountered through listening to music, watching movies, listening to radio, during a conversation with friends who are fluent in the language or paying attention to people’s conversation.

Do not list down just the new vocabulary but put down those words together with their meaning and keep your journal handy.

4. Learn a word a day.

This method may sound rigid to some people. You don’t have memorised the whole dictionary in a day. Try to learn a word a day but if you have the capacity to do more, you should increase the number of words per day to your limit. 

There are many websites and applications that offer 'learn a word a day' service to visitors. You can also do that yourself by preparing your own list of words to learn with the help of your dictionary.

Don’t think you have failed when you keep forgetting those new words you’ve discovered and their meaning. You are likely to forget some of those words so it’s better you put them down for easy referral and frequently use them in your day to day conversations. This is one of the best methods I will personally recommend to fast learners.

5. Regularly review and study.

Once you have begun your vocabulary improvement journey there is the need to review the words you’ve discovered regularly until you fix them in your memory. It is very essential to set aside a specific time for that or include that in your daily schedule. 

During that time you can revisit those words you’ve already jotted down. Five to fifteen minutes a day will gradually take you to where you want to be. Make sure all your newly discovered words are gathered in a single book so as to aid easy access for effective review. 

You can group the words according to their initials. Words beginning with an ‘A’ should be grouped under ‘A’ and ‘B’ under ‘B’. This will help you easily keep track of where you reached on your previous review or where a particular word 
can be found.

6. Play some word games.

Word games will give you the opportunity to have fun with words as you learn them.

Some of the popular word games are Anagrams, Word Jumble, Boggle, Crossword Puzzles, Scrabble, Quiddler etc. You will see many of these games online by searching for 'word games and puzzles' online or on google play store for a word game application.

As you play these games you’ll unconsciously discover and learn new words and their meanings.

7. Engage in conversations.

As we normally say ‘practice makes a man perfect’, learning new words and their meaning isn’t the only thing to do in your vocabulary improvement journey but make sure you play with the words in your daily discourse. 

Use them as you engage in various conversations with others. Using the new words you’ve discovered will help you imbibe the words and their meaning and also become conversant with most of the words. It will also help you to know when and where to use the words. 

Remember it’s never a crime to steal new words from others to add up to your list of vocabularies as you engage in a conversation with them.

If you are scared of misusing the words in front of people while trying, I'll recommend you start using it in front of people you are friendly with especially close relatives and friends.

8. Watch movies and listen to radio programmes.

Aside from playing some word games, watching movies, especially those with subtitle is another fun way to improve your vocabulary. 

Pleasure is not the only thing one can gain from watching a movie but it can also serve as a vocabulary booster. Watching movies like adventure, drama, romance, horror or even a movie version of your favourite books and staged play or drama can help boost your vocabulary.

This will help you remember better because it will give you a clear picture of how and when to use the word you’ve discovered.

Listening to radio programmes like entertainment shows, news broadcasting, political shows and various personality interviews can help you track down some new vocabularies.

In order to retain the new words you’ve discovered in your mind, remember in use them in your conversations and writings. You can learn all the words in the dictionary but if you don’t use them it's just like doing nothing at all.

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