1.Set a goal. If you’re committed to building your vocabulary, set a goal for yourself. Try to learn three new words a week and work them into your speech and writing. With conscious effort, you can learn several thousands of new words that you’ll remember and use. If you can’t use a word effectively and accurately in a sentence, it’s not a part of your vocabulary.
If you’re easily learning three words a week, start upping the ante. Try to learn ten words next week.
Looking up 20 new words a day in the dictionary will make it difficult to use any of them accurately. Be realistic and build practical vocabulary that you’ll be able to use.
2.Use flashcards or post-it notes around your house. If you’re going to make a habit of learning new words, try some simple memorization techniques as if you were studying for a test. Hang post-its with the definition of a particular word you hope to memorize above the coffee maker, so you can study it while fixing your morning cup. Affix a new word to each house plant so you can study while watering.
Even if you’re watching TV or doing other activities, keep some flashcards with you and study your new words. Always be building.
3.Write more. Start journaling if you don’t already, or start a blog. Actively flexing your writing muscles will keep your vocabulary strong.
Write letters to old friends and use lots of specific details. If your correspondence is typically short and informal, switch it up and write a longer letter or email than you’re used to writing. Take time in crafting letters as you would an essay for school. Make considered choices.
Consider taking on more writing responsibilities at work. If you typically avoid composing memos or writing group emails or participating in group discussions, change your habits and write more. You might as well get paid to build your vocabulary.
4.Use accurate adjectives and precise nouns. The best writers aim for concision and accuracy. Get out the thesaurus and use the most accurate word possible in your sentences. Don’t use three words when one will do. A word is a useful addition to your vocabulary if it reduces the number of words in a sentence.
For instance, the phrase “dolphins and whales” can be replaced with the word “cetaceans,” making “cetaceans” a useful word.
A word is also useful if it is more descriptive than the word or phrase it replaces. For example, many people’s voices could be described as “pleasant”. But someone with a very pleasant voice could be said to have a “mellifluous” voice.
5.Don’t flaunt it. Inexperienced writers think using the Thesaurus function in Microsoft Word twice in every sentence makes writing better. It doesn’t. Using flashy vocabulary and “spelling bee” words makes your writing pompous. What’s worse, though, is that it also makes writing less accurate than more common words. Using the appropriate word is the mark of a real writer and a sure sign of advanced vocabulary.
You could say that “Iron Mike” is Mike Tyson’s “sobriquet,” but “nickname” might be the more accurate and useful word in the sentence. Therefore, “sobriquet” may be less useful in your vocabulary.
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Note: This article has been adapted from the following source.