A good grasp of vocabulary is a handy tool for communicating and expressing your thoughts and ideas. Improving your vocabulary from home is just one phase of language learning you have to work on, other phases include proper use of grammar and punctuation. Improving your vocabulary helps you learn how to spell better.
Vocabulary refers to all the words that form a language. It is almost impossible to know all the words in the English language. There is no need to go through the laborious and unproductive exercise of cramming all the words in the dictionary. What you need is to familiarize yourself with popularly used words.
It is a powerful tool to communicate effectively. Every word has a unique meaning. For example, ‘love’ and ‘like’ are synonyms but they also have different meanings.
Like – Affection for an individual.
Love – Strong affection for an individual.
It is not correct to say ‘I like my daddy’ when what you feel is a strong affection for your dad.
This article helps you know when best to apply a word in writing and speech. It prevents you from using vague words and out of context words. Using wrong words conveys a different meaning to your reader or listener that is different from your original idea.
Vocabulary learning is essential if you want to become a better writer, reader, and speaker. It is an easy way to enrich your English. Learning a lot of vocabulary helps you communicate effectively to your audience. The key is to learn more than you need at a certain point in time and for every situation. At a future date when the need arises, you will draw from your rich bank of vocabulary stored in your head.
How to improve vocabulary skills in English? There are many ways to improve vocabulary, the most common is through reading and listening. This article will focus on 10 awesome ways to improve your vocabulary from the comfort of your home.
Put new words to use immediately
This is how to improve vocabulary through listening. Every day we encounter new words, especially by listening to people, the television, or the internet, or all speak. The best way to commit these new words to memory is to put it to use immediately.
You can make a game from it, form sentences with the new words. You can even vocalize it by using it in conversations. Repeating the new words often helps you remember. Without taking these steps, we are likely to lose the new words we got from listening.
Apart from vocalizing the new words, you can put in writing. You can practice writing beautiful sentences with new words. The combination of writing and vocalizing the new words is enough to help you remember the new words when needed.
Improve your vocabulary by reading every day
This is how to improve vocabulary through reading. Informal learning is arguably as effective as the formal type. The fact you are no longer in school doing word practices and, word drills, and reading comprehension passages does not mean you can’t do them at home.
Word drills help enhance your vocabulary. Your reading exercises should continue at home. Pick up a good book, magazine, newspapers, or read content off the internet every day can improve your vocabulary. It does not matter if the material you read is non-fiction or fiction, both offer new words for your learning.
Reading teaches you unfamiliar words. A good written sentence or paragraph will give you the wrong idea of what the words mean. You will still need to consult the dictionary to know it meaning and when to use it in a sentence.
Reading every day means you will very likely encounter new words daily. Building your vocabulary daily is the right and stress-free educational exercise you can do from the comfort of your home.
Keep a thesaurus within reach
New words come to us in different situations, it is our duty to pick them up wherever they meet us. Keeping a thesaurus within hand reach is a fantastic way to ensure we do not miss out on anything.
Thanks to the internet and app development, there is a lot of thesauri to download to our mobile phones or laptops for free. You may decide to get a very good and comprehensive one for a fee. You can find suitable options from Google Store, Apple Store, or Microsoft store.
So, when next you hear or find a new word, use a dictionary to find its meaning and a thesaurus to find similar words.
A thesaurus is also a handy writing and editing tool to polish your vocabulary. It is useful if your vocabulary is not as strong and diverse as you want it. Search the words you repeat frequently in speech or writing in the thesaurus and learn suitable alternatives.
It is quicker and smarter than waiting for someone to encounter it from someone’s lips or writings.
When using a thesaurus, double-check if the new word you want to use as a replacement for a familiar word fits the context you want to use it for.
For example, if you use a thesaurus to look for alternatives for the word ‘smile’, you will see words like beam and grin. Grin means to smile widely or broadly, may not fit the type of smile you want to express if it is a short and quick smile. You are better off sticking to the word ‘smile’.
Learn Practical Words
This means you learn words that are practical to your needs. Most people have bad approaches to vocabulary learning. They learn words that have no relation to what they say and do. These words are often technical and without regular usage, it’s easy to forget.
Words are meant to express the ideas you want in your mind to the reader or listener. You have not done a good job at communication if the other person cannot deduce from what you said or write what you mean.
The better approach is to learn new words that have practical usage for you. Learn new words that you can actively use in conversations. Words that clearly express what you want to say or write.
A good example is learning practical new words for your conversations and hobbies. If you are love swimming and frequent the pool regularly, expand your vocabulary on swimming. If you love to cook and enjoy watching cooking shows, improve your vocabulary on cooking. This way you will not only learn new vocabulary but make them a part of you with regular usage.
Record New Words
We encounter new vocabularies in our daily engagement, the sad news is that we lose more than half of it because we do not document it. How many new words have we heard and how many do we remember? I am certain there’s no way you can put an exact figure to it.
We lose a lot of new words from your carefree attitude to documenting them. We put too much confidence in our capacity to remember. Guess what? We are humans and one thing we do so well, almost effortlessly, is to forget.
Everyone has faced a situation where they want to use a particular word, they know is appropriate for the context, but they cannot remember the word even with hard, vein-pulling thinking.
Instead of committing to memory and forgetting, buy a journal or a writing pad to jot down new vocabularies you learned from listening or reading.
If you do not fancy keeping a hardcopy journal, you can download a journal app and use it.
Your journal is more than a place to list all the new words you learned. Try and use these new words to form interesting sentences. This is a fantastic way to improve your vocabulary.
Play Word Puzzle Games
Word puzzles are a fun and engaging way to build your vocabulary. It is a game where you attempt to solve the word puzzles by putting the right words in the appropriate spaces. There are clues to help you find the word.
There are available in different formats, you can get the online word puzzle or the offline word puzzles. The offline word puzzles are those in magazines and newspapers. The online word puzzles are those found on the internet. There is a multitude of apps and word puzzle resources for you to pick from on the internet.
They offer fun and practical vocabulary learning. The crossword puzzle is a more complex type of word puzzle and great for improving your vocabulary.
I recommend you sacrifice the joy of a high score and play difficult word puzzle games that contain unfamiliar words to put your brain to test.
Play Word Board and Non-Board Games
Another fun and exciting way to improve your vocabulary is to play word board games. These games put your word mastery to test. If you are looking for a practical, effective, and fun way to improve your vocabulary, try out any word board game you can lay your hands on.
The game market is saturated with a lot of word board games. These games are not unfamiliar to you, as a child you played word board games. It won’t hurt to act like a child and play them (the more advanced versions).
The word board game I recommend and enjoy playing is the Scramble. Whoever invented that game has a special place in my heart. It has helped me and many others improve our vocabulary. You can play it with up to three players. Challenge your friends to a game night and collectively build your vocabularies.
If you do not enjoy the board word games or find it too childish, there are a lot of non-board word games you can try out. These games are fun and interesting to play with. You can download as many as possible on your phones or laptops.
Most non-board word games allow you to compete with players from other parts of the world. There are a lot of interesting challenges you can play that improves your vocabulary.
Build synonym and antonym word lists
You will need a good thesaurus for this task. If you use the same words over and over again in speech and writing, it very well means your vocabulary needs improving. Grab a book with blank pages (I did not say a piece of paper) or open a writing app on your phone or system.
Write the word you use frequently on top of the page. Use a thesaurus to search for all possible synonyms and antonyms. Use a dictionary to crosscheck that the words found to match the use for that purpose. Jot down the words that fit under different headings – Synonyms and Antonyms.
Keep this little list safe and practice it often. When next you find yourself using that word over and over again, replace it with the new words you learned.
Use Online Writing Courses
There are a lot of institutions that offer online writing courses – free or paid. You can use Udemy, Khan Academy, Coursera, or other online courses platform to find these courses. Your vocabulary will improve tremendously if you pay attention to the teachings and do the quizzes and assignments given.
Diversify What You Read
If you read the same materials or topics every day, you will not encounter new vocabulary often. It is wonderful to read about your interests, but you also have to read widely to enrich your vocabulary.
Read on different topics such as literature, science, music, history, global news, politics, and any other combinations you find interesting. If you love reading fiction, diversify your book lists to contain different genres that talk about different topics.
Improving your vocabulary is essential to building good communication and writing skills. There is no substitute for it. Consistency is the key, start by learning a new word per day and expand as you deem fit. Practice! Practice! And more practice!