I realized that having a good command of words is a sign that you a learned person. Whether you are trying to pass an exam or build speaking skills, learning how to improve your vocabulary requires your time and commitment.
While surfing the net, I discovered that the English language is one of the most spoken languages in the world. Hence, it is to my advantage if I consistently put in the work to learn new words weekly and apply them when I speak.
Furthermore, improving my vocabulary helps me communicate clearly. It also gives people the perception that I’m an intelligent person. Of course, when i can use words precisely, people will understand me more easily and this can lead to building a good relationship with my peers.
However, increasing my vocabulary does not mean I have the infinity stones to “big English”. No. It really means having the right words to describe things and knowing how to use them. If you are as interested as I am, here are 7 methods i used to improve my vocabulary.
Ways I Used to Increase My Vocabulary
1. I Cultivated the Habit of Reading to Improve My Vocabulary
Books have this way of building mental images in our heads. The more one read books, the more they get exposed to new words and how to use them.
The beauty of the world today is that what i can read is not just subjected to books alone. I have unlimited access to e-books, blogs, newspapers, magazines, newsletters… the list is endless!
For example, I’m subscribed to a host of newsletters whose topics range from sports, politics, self-development, technology, and economics. Every Monday, my email gets filled with varieties of news and I’m kept up to date. I also get to learn new words related to these industries.
Do you know the word stagflation means an economy that is experiencing inflation accompanied by stagnant growth, unemployment, and/or recession? That’s a new word I learned this week.
I’m cultivated the habit of reading anything and everything. I got to learn words and see how to apply them in my speech. And if you’re looking for newsletters to subscribe to, I highly recommend you visit northpad.ng and Muhammed’s (Not a) Newsletter.
2. I Became Friends with My Dictionary and Thesaurus
When I was in primary school, all kids needed to have a handy mini-dictionary in their bags. Our proprietress was fond of throwing strange words at us and anyone without a dictionary to check out the meaning was disciplined.
The word “nincompoop” still sticks to my head to date because on the day she read that word out of “Chike and the River”, I had no dictionary on me to check the meaning.
Today, you do not need to carry a handy mini-dictionary to have a dictionary with you. Thesauruses and dictionaries can be downloaded on your devices for easy access. If you want to go further, I recommend having at least two dictionaries on your device.
A good dictionary tells you the meaning of a word, how it’s pronounced, its synonyms, and examples of how you can use it in a sentence. A thesaurus, on the other hand, gives you similar words related to what you’re searching for, its opposites.
This gives you a vast amount of words that helps you improve your vocabulary. My favorite dictionaries are the Oxford Advanced learners and Merriam Webster dictionaries.
3. Playing Word Games Boosted My Vocabulary
Games are fun activities we all love to engage in. When you play word games, it only makes learning new words fun. I can bet we all have at least one game we play daily. For me, I do not end a day without playing Fifa21. When you mix learning with fun, you tend to have a fun experience with the knowledge that sticks.
Word games like scrabble, word puzzle, challenge me to learn new words and even gives me the meaning of those words. It also helped me get familiar with the spelling and improved my vocabulary.
Lately, I discovered a brain train game called Elevate. It has a variety of word spelling tests, their meaning, and even how to use them. You can download it on Playstore here. And if you’re building your child’s vocabulary, I recommend you try Encarta Kids 200 – download it here.
4. I Trained Myself to Write Everyday
When you write, you make use of words. Writing helps you to stay conversant with word spellings and how to use them.
The best way I use writing to improve my vocabulary is by keeping a journal to document a list of new words you learn each day. This way, I can always refer back to the list and gradually use them in my everyday speech.
Journaling new words helps me stay familiar with these new words and their similarities. Also, I get motivated when I see the number of words I have learned so far.
5. Learning “A Word Per Day” Helps Me Build My Vocabulary Skill
Learning new words can be very easy when one takes the process gradually. I play to learn a new word each day and focus on its meaning, synonyms, and uses. Various apps give me “word of the day” recommendations like The Oxford Online dictionary.
These help me get familiar with words and increased my frequency in using them. If you learn a word per day, that’s 7 words per week, 30 words per month, and 365 words in a year. However, do not feel pressured to learning a new word each day. You can decide to learn 2 words per week as your pace decides. The essence is your learning new words weekly.
6. Engaging in Conversations Help Increase My Vocabulary
Engaging in conversations allows me to learn new words and put new words I’ve learned into practice.
When I talk to people, I tap into the knowledge that they have. I get to hear new words and how to use them in a sentence. I first heard the word “obsequious” from my secondary school senior who was trying to let me know that the average student is never obedient to authority.
Also, when I engage in conversations, I get the chance to use new words I’ve learned during the week. Though, I’m being careful not to have people needing a dictionary every time I speak.
I realized that the key to improving my vocabulary lies in my hands. To have a good command of words, I needed to know their meanings and how they are used.
I do not restrict my reading to books alone. There are varieties of articles online to help me keep to date with new words and even parlances related to a particular sector. I made the dictionary my friend by constantly referring back to it when I hear a new word for the first time. I never forget to jot down its meaning too.
Following these 6 tips on how to improve your vocabulary can build your library of words. If you’ve learned any new words today, kindly let me know in the comment section!