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How to Increase Vocabulary

Updated on August 31, 2011
Increase Your Vocabulary
Increase Your Vocabulary | Source

The size of a person's vocabulary is an important predictor of success in school and in many occupations where communication is highly important. It's never too late to work on increasing your vocabulary and thereby your abilities to read, speak and write better. No matter what else, it will keep your brain active and could help make you a better communicator.

Buy a Good Dictionary to Increase Your Vocabulary

Buy a decent dictionary if you don't have one. Every household with children should have a really good dictionary. And you will certainly benefit from owning one if you are serious about increasing your vocabulary or your children's.

Join a Library to Increase Your Vocabulary

If you don't have one already, sign up for a library card. Then, make it a regular appointment on your calendar to go to the library once or twice a month. When you go to the library take a notebook and pen with you. While at the library visit its magazine section and pick up a few magazines that interest you and read a couple of articles. Write down any unfamiliar words that you come across in your notebook for looking up later. Take other family members or friends with you to the library so that it becomes an enjoyable outing.

Take Out Books on Vocabulary Building

Also while at the library look up and check out several books on building vocabulary and books that are study guides for taking vocabulary related tests such as the SAT, ACT, and so on. Each day write down in your vocabulary notebook five to ten new words with definitions that you'd like to learn. These words can come from library books or other daily reading. Each month you will have learned another 150 to 300 words. Try to use some of these in speech and in writing every day so that you learn them well. If you can stick with this program for one year, your vocabulary will be well above average.

Use Your Dictionary Regularly to Look Up Words

At least once a week pick up your dictionary and look up a number of the words in your vocabulary notebook. Mark each word looked up in the dictionary with a highlighter so it will be easy to find again. Also look at the words surrounding your looked-up word to get an appreciation for words with the same or similar root.

Go Online to Increase Your Vocabulary

At least once a week go online and look up the new words in your vocabulary notebook on Learn the proper pronunciation of these words using online resources. Also visit vocabulary building websites such as and for free games and other helpful resources.

Play Word Games to Increase Your Vocabulary

Find one or two friends or relatives who will help, mentor, or play word games regularly with you. Great word games include Scrabble, Boggle, and UpWords. Also, do one crossword puzzle a day, either from a newspaper or an online resource.

Increasing your vocabulary is a step toward increasing your reading comprehension, speaking ability and writing ability. But it does take work. You may need to keep yourself motivated by rewarding yourself in some way each month that you follow this program.

Do not try hard to impress people with your larger vocabulary. Just let it happen naturally over time. Don't force it!


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