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6 Tips For Improving Your Vocabulary In English
  • Jun 2021
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6 Tips For Improving Your Vocabulary In English

11th June 2021

Developing vocabulary can be done irrespective of age. It’s something that could be considered as life-long learning because even as adults, we can never say we know every English word. There is formal and informal styles, as well as regional colloquialisms to consider before making this claim. Language is dynamic. It evolves and, as new words are constantly becoming used, older words are often being forgotten or replaced. This is one reason why dictionaries are updated. So, how can you improve your English vocabulary? Here are 6 tips to get you started.

1. Play Word or Language Games

Word games can not only challenge you but help you to recognize letter clusters, or patterns, that typically feature in words, in a fun way. There are some great online games, as well as board games, computer games or phone apps that can help you develop your English vocabulary by yourself or with other people. 


You can play games like word searches, where you have to find a list of words in a grid full of letters. The word could be horizontal, diagonal, backwards, going upwards or downwards, or even vertical, but they will definitely be in there. This is a great for learning how to spell words. 


Another popular game is Scrabble. You are given a set of letters from which you have to make a word, by taking it in turns on a board. Using certain letters gives you more points. There are useful online tools to help you create words, some sites act as an unscrambler and present you with words from the group of letters you enter into them. This is another great way to learn new words, and it can even help you with your spellings too.

2. Read, and Read Some More

Reading is such an invaluable teacher of language, punctuation, grammar and vocabulary. It’s free and enjoyable, once you find a genre you’re interested in or text you want to read more of. Without realizing it, reading introduces you to new words, often in a context that gives it meaning. After all, all language has to have meaning for it to be understood.


It doesn’t matter what you read, whether it’s the news online, a comic or review, as long as it’s interesting and challenges you. For instance, an eleven-year-old proficient reader would soon get bored with fairy tales, whereas they might enjoy the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series more and so engage with the text better.


When you come across new words, aside from deducing its meaning from the context in which it appears, it’s always worth looking up its meaning in a dictionary because you’ll see other ways it can be used, along with examples. Making a note of these new words somewhere will also be good for you to refer back to as you develop your English vocabulary.

3. Converse in Conversation

There are four areas of English language development: reading, writing, speaking and listening. The last two often go hand in hand and there’s no better way to improve your English vocabulary by having conversations with different people about different things. Why? Because the language you use, such as formal or informal, will depend on to whom you’re talking. For instance, you will talk to your friend or sister in a much informal way than what you would to your teacher or boss. It’s natural to vary how you talk to people, and it shows good language awareness and adaptability in being able to do this. 


Having a conversation can open you up to new words and how to use them, which is a great way to learn new vocabulary in real time. If you hear a new word, try to either keep a record of it in your phone or remember it, so when you’re able, you can look up its meaning. Just like writing down new words you discover when you’re reading, putting new words you’ve learnt in conversations in the same place will provide a central log of new words for you to refer to.

4. Learn New Words Daily

Although advice varies when learning new words, ranging from 40 to 15, we would suggest learning as many as you’re comfortable with. This isn’t a competition. It’s much better for you to learn how to spell, pronounce, and know the different ways to use a new word, rather than learn just how to say it. You’re in this for the long haul and as long as you regularly learn new words in their entirety, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you; using it correctly is far more important.


Additionally, you’ll find you’ll learn about some words more quickly than others, including understanding meanings and how to spell them, and that’s OK. It’s better to know what you’re learning rather than pretend. 

5. Have Access to a Good Dictionary and Thesaurus

Although there are plenty of good online dictionaries, having a tangible copy of one, along with a thesaurus is a good investment. This is more so when you’re having to study for a course or complete homework because it can be confusing coming across all the metalanguage associated with it, that you’re expected to use to demonstrate your understanding.


Once you’ve found the word and meaning in a dictionary, you can use the thesaurus to find out similar words and phrases, also known as synonyms and antonyms, which are great for developing your vocabulary even further.

Online versions have an invaluable tool that books don’t have, and that’s verbal pronunciation. With a mere click, you can hear the word, which is a fantastic way to learn how to pronounce new words. Online versions are also quick and more likely to include new words or different meanings a lot quicker than a publisher takes to release the book version with the same words included. 

6. Develop Your Own Dictionary

If you’ve followed our tips so far, you will be on your way to creating your own dictionary. If you’re able to do this on your laptop and keep a copy for you to refer, it’s something you can access on your phone whilst you’re out and about. This means adding new words to it will take no time. 


Having easy access to it will enable you to refer to it anytime you need to, plus it will prevent the need for you to carry a pen and paper or notebook with you. Your phone will most probably correct the spelling for you, meaning you’ll be able to look up the word in more detail when you have the time. 


If you’re able to make a note of the context in which it was used, perhaps the sentence, you’ll also be able to check its meaning too, just to make sure you have found the right word. You’ll soon notice how much your vocabulary has improved, and hopefully your confidence too. 


Improving your English vocabulary can be fun and should be fun for you to keep wanting to do it. There are many benefits to developing this skill that will stay by you throughout your life, such as when working or public speaking. It’s also good to exercise your brain and present it with new challenges in different ways, like crosswords or word searches. Improving your English vocabulary can positively impact all areas of your life, and increase your confidence when communicating in this language, whether it be speaking or writing, or understanding others when they’re using English to interact with yourself.



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