Do you find yourself tongue-tied when you have to speak or write on a given topic? Do you tend to repeat basic sets of words in everyday conversation and fumble for the right words at the right time? If yes, then it’s time to enrich your vocabulary as a rich treasure of vocabulary enables you to communicate effectively.

Here are 5 simple yet effective strategies to expand your vocabulary:

Learn In Context

Do you ever wonder why you’re unable to recall and use the newly-learned words in an actual conversation? The common mistake that language learners make is that they learn isolated lists of words. The next question is- How to retain, recall and use new vocabulary? The answer lies in how you apply the new words in a context.

To illustrate, the new word is ‘detrimental’ which is a formal way of saying ‘harmful’. Knowing the meaning is not enough. You need to go the extra mile by looking up example sentences to understand the way it’s used in different contexts with grammatical accuracy. For instance, smoking is detrimental to your health. Next, you should imagine the various situations or things that can be harmful and try using the word ‘detrimental’. You should try it right now. Is it difficult to imagine? Imagination is the key to vocabulary building as you don’t have to wait for an actual situation to apply these words. Moreover, whenever you come across an unfamiliar word, make sure that you try guessing the meaning of the words from the context whether it’s a novel or a movie clip or a radio program.

Toolbox For Fun Learning

Do you still trudge through your exhaustive list of words and try to memorize them? You might enthusiastically add these to your ‘words treasure box’ but this thrill will fizzle out over time. Instead, add some fun and variety to the way you acquire new words. Add these tools to your ‘language toolbox’- flashcards, pictures, music, movies, apps, etc! If you’re a visual learner, you should check out visual dictionaries for better retention of words. Flashcards can add a fun element to the way you learn words. For music lovers, lyrics can be a nice resource for vocabulary acquisition. Hum your favorite songs while becoming a pro at vocabulary! With our smartphones buzzing with notifications in this tech-savvy era, ensure that you add vocabulary apps and learn something daily while doing your routine work. How can we forget movies? You could be a F.R.I.E.N.D.S or K-drama fan. Grab your popcorn, turn on the subtitles and boost your vocabulary at the same time!

Mindful Reading 

Reading voraciously is a time-tested method to enhance your vocabulary. If you’re new to books, make sure you pick books or newspaper or blog articles that can interest you and don’t have many difficult words. The idea is to build this habit over a course of time. You should try to guess the meaning on your own first and then look up the words on the internet. You should not try to learn each and every word as it will be a cumbersome process. You can always underline or save the new words for reviewing later. With time, you will see for yourself how you won’t have to keep searching words in the dictionary and you will read and understand the texts with a new lens as you will unfold the patterns of language.

Word Diary

Maintaining a word diary is yet another proven method to retain and use new words efficiently. You can use notes app or excel sheets to keep them organized. To make it more effective, write the word, its meaning, example sentence and synonyms. Don’t forget to review them from time to time as the words will sear into your mind with time. Patience and time is the key to unlocking your potential to master these words. 

Learn Chunks Of Words

Word diary is not just about adding isolated words. Learning a chunk of words is more productive than simply incorporating single words. For this, you should understand the patterns of words. Collocations are a natural combination of words and learning them will help you choose richer words that suit a context. Notice these sentences- 1- I did a few mistakes. 2- It was very cold. Instead, you can use apt collocations for more natural expression: 1- I made a few mistakes. 2- It was bitterly cold

Here are a few examples to describe places with stunning collocations rather than using words like ‘nice’ and ‘good’- breathtaking scenery, panoramic view, bleak landscape, beach stretches, etc. When you learn a new word, write down other words that collocate with it. For instance, some of the common collocations of the word “remember” are: remember rightly, remember distinctly, remember vaguely and remember vividly.

Author Bio:

Sakshi Thakur is a TEFL-certified IELTS and English Language trainer with more than 3 years of experience in the classroom as well as online instruction. She specializes in helping students master their language and communication skills. She considers herself as a Jack of many trades and is on the way to mastering them. She teaches students across different platforms, be it one-on-one sessions, live webinars, Youtube, or online courses, and constantly strives to upgrade her skillset. When she is not teaching, she loves dancing, storytelling and diving deep into her books. 



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