Learn how to increase your vocabulary


Today’s lesson is meant to show you ways of increasing your vocabulary. It’s important to increase your vocabulary since it helps giving you confidence.

I have few ideas for you, we’re going to start with these & look at a few other more practical ones as well.

The most important thing that you can do to increase your vocabulary is by reading, read a lot.

What should you read ? anything and everything.

But the most important thing is read what you are most interested in.

If you like sports. Read sports magazines? if you like movies, read a movie magazine.

Even better read the script of the movie. If the movie is based on a novel read the novel.

My favorite movie “Shawshank redemption” is based on a novel by Stephen King, read it.


Best way to increase your vocabulary

Also, don’t just learn new words and try to remember them. Write them , write a lot of them.

Use the words you’re currently learning. Every time you learn a new word, you should have a notebook with you all the time anyway, write the word in a sentence, but not just any sentence, make sure that the sentence clearly shows that you know the meaning of the word.

For example, the word “beautiful”. Everybody knows this word but lets say it’s a new word for you.

Don’t write the sky is beautiful, it doesn’t tell anything about the word “beautiful” , the sky is also blue , does beautiful mean blue?

Make sure you’re using something.

I love to see a beautiful sky that has pretty clouds and a sunshine and a nice color , a nice shade of blue because it makes me feel happy.

Not the best example. Very long sentence but you get my idea.

Notebook & a pen

Now, coming back to that notebook, always have a notebook and a pen with you and don’t limit yourself to one new word, when you learn a new word make sure you learn different forms of the same word.

So for an example, the word beautiful, let’s say this is a new word for you , you learned the word beautiful, put it in your adjective column, it’s an adjective that’s what you want but why not learn the other forms.

Now you have two new words.

What is the noun form of beautiful? It’s beauty, you now have three new words in your vocabulary.

Take a basic class in Latin, esp Latin vocabulary. Isn’t there a verb form of beautiful? Yes. As a matter of fact. Beautify. Means to make beautiful. You now have four new words. Think of other words, beautician. A beautician is a person who works in making people more beautiful. Facial and manicure and pedicure, wax and whatever else these beauticians do.

Anyway, try to find other forms, learn many words instead of just one word, okay.

Using roots to increase your vocabulary

Roots; Read & write

Now, some people like to study roots, suffixes and prefixes.

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this recommendation.

But first let me explain what a root is. For example, you have the root “Ject” So you learn : inject, eject, object, subject.

All the different words that come from the root. Many people only study the word or the root “ject”.

And say that will help them understand all the words with this root.

It’s a good idea if you have the patience, I think most people who are studying English don’t like to study roots because it’s like studying another language, if it works for you do it , if it doesn’t don’t.

Okay and now another thing you can do.

You can also listen more

Listen to any spoken English that you can. I think some of you may have heard of Ted.com, it’s a good website, people give talks and lectures about different topics.

Listen. Listen carefully. Anytime you hear a word that you don’t recognize, write it down, if you don’t know the spelling, no problem. Write it phonetically, write the word just like it sounds, then if you have access to a transcript, means all the words that were spoken written down, check the transcript and find your word.

If you can’t, if you don’t have a transcript, go to a dictionary. Now some of you have asked me to recommend a dictionary.

Very simple, they’re online or you can get the paper one or the online one “Merriam-Webster”, American English Oxford dictionaries or British English.

Using dictionaries to increase your vocabularies

No online translation, just dictionaries

Now, I’ve seen a lot of students using electronic dictionaries they go from like English to Korean, English to Japanese, English to Spanish. Don’t do that anymore okay? English to English.

This way you’re learning more words as you’re learning one word. I don’t know this word, I look at the definition, in the definition i might be learning other words. You will maximize how many words you learn by using an English to English dictionary.

Sometimes, especially when people are trying to write, they will write a sentence in their native language and then press “translate” and get a sentence in English.

Now I’ve seen sentences that I knew came from the electronic dictionary because they made no sense, they were just terrible sentences. Don’t do that People who made these dictionaries might not know English very well.

Keep that in mind.

So these are some ideas, now I’m going to tell you what I think are the best ideas to increase your vocabulary.

The best way to increase your vocabulary

So now we’re going to look on a couple of other ways to increase your vocabulary. These are very effective but it takes a lot of patience, a lot of perseverance.You have to try hard. You have to keep doing it because it’s vocabulary. Not so easy.

So first we’re going to start with cards, get yourself a stack of cards. Not so big because you want to carry them in your pocket and take them with you everywhere you go. On one side of the cards you’re going to write words. Four or five words that are new words for you. You’re going to write sentences on the back.

On the other side of the card, you’re going to use these words in sentences so you have the clearer meaning. Or you can write the meaning of the word. The dictionary meaning. Both okay.

Now, you’re going to split your cards into three piles, you’re going to have the pile of cards of the words you know. Words you’re very comfortable with eventually, you will have a pile like this, words that you’re very comfortable with, you know them very well, you don’t need to look at these cards very often now.

Find more useful vocabularies

Before I continue, where do you get these words? You get them from a TOEFL site or an SAT site or an IELTS site or an SAT book for an example, you’ll have a list of words that you’ll need to learn.

Put all these words on cards & split them up, on the first pile you know these words very well, you don’t need to look at these words you are almost sure about or at least you recognize these words, you have seen them before you have heard them before, you can guess what they mean may be in context.

And then in the last pile you put words that you really don’t know, this is the pile you will look at the most you will study these words as they become more familiar, you move them to this pile, this pile you study also very regularly this pile is the one you put in your pocket and you take it with you when you go outside, on the bus you can look at your words long line at the bank, you pull out your cards and look at the words okay?

When this word becomes very comfortable for you, when you know what this word means you move it over to first pile and leave it at home.

Once in a while look at them just make sure you remember because if you never look at these again, you will forget them.

Practice your vocabulary

Practice makes perfect

You have to practice, practice & practice, vocabulary is a lot of memorization.

This is the last one I’ll show you today. This can surely help to increase your vocabulary.

What you do is make yourself groups of words you can do it in many ways, you can make yourself a little brain storm.

For example if we’re looking at roots you write the root in here “ject” and then you write reject, inject, subject, etc.

Or in a list however way works for you so three ways that i will recommend to group words, again if you like the roots, group them like that eject,reject,object,subject,inject.

Now the reason you’re going to make groups is because maybe you don’t remember object or noun, noun or verb but you remember “ject” you remember this group.

So if you don’t remember the word, hopefully you will remember the idea of the group and that will remind you what the word means another group you can use is similar meanings, synonyms, words that have similar meanings or similar function.

Increase your vocabulary by grouping the words

For example, I’m going to look at this function, increase, extend, expand, accelerate, intensify, reinforce.

All of these, in their meaning, have some sort of connection to increase & extend : make longer increase the length or time duration, expand: increase the size, accelerate: increase the speed, intensify : increase intensity, reinforce: increase strength, so may be you’ll see the word reinforce while reading something.

Let’s say for today the theme is technology, so you write words that have to do with technology : obsolete, state-of-the-art, update, downgrade & cutting-edge.

We can talk about computer software or computers, obsolete: old, not useful anymore, nobody uses it anymore windows XP maybe not completely obsolete but almost obsolete, hardly anybody uses it anymore.

State-of-the-art means the newest, cutting-edge the most modern, the most advanced you can get update: to make newer, downgrade: to make less.

For example, I have windows 8, I don’t like it, I want to downgrade to windows 7 but I can’t do it because windows 8 won’t let me, but anyway you have a theme you have a function and you have the root.

Learn in chunks, if you don’t remember one word you will remember the group, it will help you understand the word you’re looking at.

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