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How to Improve Your Vocabulary in 10 Easy Steps

Updated on February 27, 2018
sparkleyfinger profile image

Lynsey is an avid reader and loves biographies and historical books, as well as thriller and horror fiction.

Your presence on this website indicates a thirst for knowledge and information. The attraction to this hub suggests that you wish to appear more eloquent and better educated. A large portion of that is how we present ourselves, and how we speak.

The way we speak can influence others' judgements of us. Our vocabulary can be a deciding factor in whether we get a job, or get a place at university. It can even be a deciding factor in the type of social circles you are part of.

In order to be perceived well, I suggest the confident use of an extensive vocabulary. And while you may think that there's no hope, and that your schooling days are over, you are wrong. There are plenty of ways that you can increase your vocabulary over the course of a regular day. These tips will work with any language and I will share my top 10, in no particular order.

1- Stop swearing!

In making a conscious an effort to do this, you will automatically begin using alternatives to the profanities, and will instantly appear to be better educated.

2- Read a Page of the Dictionary

Read a page of the dictionary every single day, and ensure that you understand the meanings- this will prevent embarrassment later on from misusing words or phrases.

If there is anything you are unsure of in terms if using certain words, you can search this online or even ask a friend or colleague if they can help. Remember that in English, words can have more than one meaning, so may be used in a variety of contexts.


3- Read ... anything

Just read... In general. Books, online articles, newspapers- whatever you can grab on your daily commute or when you have some spare time. Even reading magazines will allow you to expand your vocabulary and also learn common phrases. I do recommend a good book as the best option as you can gain a wealth of language from a well written book.


4- Do a Daily Crossword Puzzle

Not only will you discover new words, but you will also rediscover old ones, that you can use with a different meaning. You can buy a crossword book and increase the difficulty as you get better at them, or just keep a lookout in newspapers for them. Crosswords are another handy hobby for improving your vocabulary.

5- Have a "Word of the Day."

I like to choose a big word and challenge myself but anything that you have learned recently is a good place to start. Ensure that you choose a new word each day, and try to fit it into at least one conversation during the course of your day. There are "word of the day" apps, screen savers, calendars and toilet paper out there that make this challenge fun and easy to do. You will soon use your new found words in regular conversations without realising.

6- Watch the News

While some of the news can be repetitive, the reporters often have to use different terms to ensure that the story remains interesting and fresh, as well as informative. There is also the added bonus that you are able to hear the correct pronunciation of the words used, so there is no risk of sounding silly when you repeat them later.

7- Play Word Games

Scrabble or Boggle is a great resource for extending your vocabulary, as other players can teach you along the way. Also, a game such as "words in words," where you try to get as many different words out of a given word or phrase, is a useful way of breaking down large words. You could perhaps combine these games with your word of the day!?

8- Write articles or stories

In order to create a balanced, interesting piece of writing, you must use a varied vocabulary. You can write privately, or choose to publish your work on a site like this. If you need help with finding alternative words for your writing, a thesaurus is your friend!

9- Listen to Others

Everyone has different words or phrases that they use in day to day life. Older generations certainly use older styles of language, but that's not to say that we can't learn from that. Similarly, people from other cities may use words or phrases to mean different things than we do. If you discover a new word or phrase during a conversation, try to remember it, or make a note and look it up later.

10- Practice

Repetition is the key. Ensure that you know the relevant definitions and contexts in which to use your new words, and use them as much as possible.


© 2012 Lynsey Harte

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    • sparkleyfinger profile imageAUTHOR

      Lynsey Harte 

      5 years ago from Glasgow

      Listening is a hard one for me to relate to. I used to be deaf in one ear (have had surgery since), and found it increasingly difficult to make out the words people were saying, let alone how they were pronounced.

      I have also came across many people who have learned language from listening to TV and Radio, so have developed very strange accents, like a mixture of everything?

      Thanks for your comment :)

    • Pearldiver profile image

      Rob Welsh 

      5 years ago from Tomorrow - In Words & NZ Time.

      I believe the #1 in your list should be Listening and gaining the understanding of the context in which interesting words are used in... In that way, it helps to create an imagery in which those words exist... I find that it is also important to listen to the pronounciation of new words...

      Poetry is an art that highlights one's ability to develop good word skills... and reading good poetry is a great way to appreciate the power of language... thanks for sharing this interesting hub... take care.. PD

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