10 Smart Ways To Improve Your Vocabulary
If you missed out reading word power made easy in your teens, it’s still never too late to get started with vocabulary building. A pocket book can do wonders; buy who carries a pocket book in this smart world anyway?
Look here are some smart ways to improve your vocabulary without behaving like a nerd:
1. Read and read and read
As clichéd as it may sound, yet there’s no substitute for reading if building your vocabulary is what you have on your mind. Read newspaper, magazines, or books; read on paper or screen, but reading is the core mantra to discover new words, learn their usage, observe sentence formation, and get accustomed to these new set of words by reading regularly.
2. Keep a thesaurus handy
Whether you use an actual thesaurus or a thesaurus app, it is important to instantly look up for the meaning of any new word you come across. Once you check for its meaning, chances are- you will retain the word in your mind.
3. Be a good listener
Listen to your friends, instructors, your boss, a group and even the news anchor very carefully. You not only come across new words and learn about their usage, but you can also notice the mistakes they make and correct yourself before you repeat them.
4. Work on degree and depth of knowledge
There might be words you have never encountered, words you have heard but don’t understand, words you know but you don’t use and those you are fluent with. Building your vocabulary doesn’t only mean adding more words to your brain’s word bank, but improving the degree of knowledge by bringing a word from ‘never encountered’ category to ‘often used’.
Similarly, the depth of knowledge lets you deeply understand the terms and know the meaning, concept and reference, appropriacy of use, lexical neighbors, word associations, syntax and the parts of the word as well. This is deep knowledge can be built over a period of time.
5. Work on your focal vocabulary
Depending on the certain group you dwell in, it is important to have a vast vocabulary pertaining to your group, profession, subject, lifestyle or community. For example, the term ‘fag’ has different meanings in different regions. Some use the word for cigarette; some would call a loser, or gay a fag, although its literal meaning is tiring work. So know the place and use the right terms and slangs so you don’t turn the heads towards you in annoyance.
6. Use synonyms instead
There must be a few terms you use pretty often in a day. Learn about their synonyms and start replacing your common words with their synonyms. This will not just make your conversation more impressive, but will take away the monotony from your sentences. Also try one word substitutes in your drawn out, mind-numbing sentences.
7. Get curious
If you don’t find reading new words everyday fascinating enough, you will soon bring this new habit to a standstill, if you try to cultivate fascination and curiosity towards new words, its usage, pronunciation, its origin and derivation, you will not only retain the term better but would also feel proud every time you use it and hence use new words more often and more confidently.
8. Try tangible techniques
One notification; and off you go from the vocabulary app to social networking! If this is what is happening at your end of the world, try tangible techniques like post-its and flash cards. Keep these flash cards handy by your bedside, coffee table and next to your TV remote.
You can try stick-ons and post-its with a word and its meaning near your coffee maker, on the mirror, on indoor plants and door backs so you read them more often and memorize slowly.
9. Start writing
Whether or not you are a blogger, you can still cultivate a habit of writing daily. Write on your blog, your view or opinion on Facebook, a secret journal or some cute love notes- but make sure you write something every day. Try to use the new words you are learning about. You can also pick up a group of words and try to write something using all those words. This can be one of the best self-improvement exercises for vocabulary.
Using all these tips, you will soon expand your vocabulary and wouldn’t have to use ‘I mean’, ‘You know’ in almost every sentence when you put forward your viewpoint. Confidence in language boosts your poise and personality radically. So get started and get going!
10. Get the app
Whether you are android addict or iOS buff, there are some amazing apps out there that guarantee an improvement in vocabulary. Some of the best known are: word of the day app, intellivocab, SAT, uVocab, Voxy, Merriam-Webster, Basuu, PowerVocab and Vocabulary.com app. Some of these are iOS apps, some android and some work on both. But remember, downloading and installing the app isn’t enough. It’s important to check updates and feeds regularly.