How to Expand Your Vocabulary


How many times have you heard certain people speak and get completely bowled by their excellent vocabulary and the way they manage to choose the perfect words to articulate and set forth their opinions?

Knowing a language is often taken for granted. We tend to get ‘comfortable’ with the idea of knowing how to read, speak and write without taking the effort to build on our knowledge and get better at the language.

Expanding your vocabulary is a life-long process. Apart from becoming a better writer and sounding ‘smart’, vocabulary building helps you communicate and interpret better which in turn enhances other aspects of your life. Here are 7 simple ways to build your vocabulary –

Read Regularly

It’s no surprise that you need to read regularly to expand your vocabulary. However, merely reading is not enough to grasp new words. What’s important is being fully attentive and mindful of what you read.

Secondly, you may call yourself an avid reader but how diverse is your reading list? It’s common to get comfortable reading books of a particular genre or the same kind of writing but if you want to work on your vocabulary, you need to read a variety of books ranging from thrillers and politics to romance, science fiction and more.

Set a Target

Just the way you get goals to achieve everything else, why not set a target for expanding your vocabulary too?

The idea is to not memorize the thesaurus but to keep an attainable goal such as aiming to learn a new word every day. At the same time, you need to make this an enjoyable process and learn new words in context to truly understand their meaning and remember them for a lifetime.

Don’t indulge in rote learning because that never works, especially when it comes to learning a language.

Make a Note of New Words

Came across a new word? Make a note of it. Keep a small diary with you at all times to note down all the new words you hear or come across. If not, even making a quick note of it in your phone helps.

When you make a note of the word and its meaning, you are likely to remember it better. It’s also a good idea to understand where the word is derived from and understand its root.

Having an ever-expanding list of new words is the first step to building a rich vocabulary. Go over this list from time to time and you will find yourself getting acquainted to a host of new words that are sure to give you an edge while writing your college paper or during an interview.

Find Synonyms

Notice the words you use often – there are ought to be certain favorites that you tend to overuse. How about replacing them their synonyms instead?

By using synonyms, you are able to develop a richer vocabulary and use more relevant words to articulate. This helps in improving the quality of your speech or writing material and keeps you away from repetition.

Form Associations

Word associations are a clever trick to turn to when trying to expand your vocabulary. When you associate a newly learnt word to its synonym, a person or experience, you are able to relate to it better and are more likely to remember it for future use. In short, by associating words with people or events in your life, your brain is able to recollect the new word with ease.

Another kind of word association is visualizing the new word with the help of maps, charts or tables which helps you get a deeper understanding of the word and its origin.

Actively Use New Words

Why use ‘good’ to describe a movie when you can use words such as entertaining, grasping or enthralling instead, isn’t it?

So, if you are drafting an essay, giving a speech or even having a normal conversation, make a conscious effort to actively use the new words you learnt. The more you incorporate new vocabulary in the writing and speaking you do, the more you get the hang of them till they become a part of your dictionary and come naturally to you.

It’s exciting to explore new words and use them to express yourself better instead of resorting to using vague, dull and unimaginative words.

Play Word Games

Another way to make vocabulary building fun is by playing word games and puzzles that challenge you to think of new words.

From crossword puzzles to a game of scrabble, these games are a great way to boost your memory and broaden your thinking while exposing you to new words. Want to make it more exciting? You can also challenge a friend for a game and enjoy some friendly competition!

Apart from puzzles and board games, today you have access to multiple vocabulary games and mobile apps with a click of a button. So, the next time you are waiting to board a flight or are getting bored, you know what to do!

Adela Belin is the Head of Digital Marketing and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and all things in between. She hopes to make a difference in people’s lives by sharing relevant stories inspired by her personal journey. Feel free to contact Adela on LinkedIn.
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