Looking for ways to improve your vocabulary?
Check our advice on learning English vocabulary – read or listen:
Luckily for you, vocabulary is one component of any language that is perhaps, the easiest to improve. There are hundreds of tips, tricks and ways you can improve your vocabulary quickly and effectively. Here we are going to take a look at some of which I and our students have found most helpful.
1. Learning the meaning of new words is important
However, knowing the correct context to use it in is more important. The most effective technique I have found to help improve vocabulary is setting a goal to learn a couple of new words each week and then finding at least 2 places where you can use them: one whilst speaking and another whilst writing. This approach will help you avoid simply memorising the meaning of the word (which is of little use alone) and then knowing when and how to use it
2. Read a quality newspaper in English
The keyword here is “quality”. Whilst that may be subjective, different newspapers have a different writing style and targeting different sets of audiences which means that the sophistication of the speaking and writing style as well as how deeply they explore a topic will vary. For the purposes of this exercise, you want to read newspapers like The Independent and Daily Mail as opposed to The Sun (which is a “tabloid”).
3. Use a dictionary handy
Gone are the days where having a dictionary nearby meant having to carry the burden around of a large and heavy book. If you use a smartphone, there are many dictionary ‘apps’ that can give you the meaning of unfamiliar words in a few seconds. Online, you can simply Google the word you are looking for followed by adding “meaning” at the end of your search term. Whenever you come across an unfamiliar word, take the time to look it up. In fact, this is far more effective than the exercise 1 listed above since this will help you understand the concept and reference behind the word and not just it’s meaning
4. Read out aloud
Surprisingly, this can help your vocabulary too. The idea behind speaking out the words you newly learnt helps your brain process the word in newer ways which should help you remember those words for longer.
5. Be conscious of your reading habits
Most of us like to indulge in mind-numbing activities occasionally such as reading gossip magazines or watching sitcoms and that’s fine and in fact necessary sometimes. However, during the time you are attempting to improve your language skills, you may want to limit the use of such activities, especially reading to a minimum.
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More advice on English Improvement:
– Videos about Learning English Vocabulary
– 4 Tips to Improve Your English Grammar
– Present Perfect Tense – Essential Facts
– How to Improve Your English Speaking
– Our Intensive English Courses