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Congratulations! Dear reader, you have finally realized that your English vocabulary needs improvement.
Do you know, what this means? This marks the beginning of your journey to be lionized amongst your circle. Here is a dictum which explains the need to use the correct words at correct places: ‘The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name.’ –quoted by Confucius. So Welcome abode. Master your English vocabulary instead of memorizing.
Read on to know how you can achieve that level.
To use the right words in a conversation, you require a good lexicon. Now let us first understand: What actually ‘vocabulary’ is? It simply means words but these words have a far deep intent. Vocabulary acts as an instrument which is intended to build a bridge between people or group of people for an easy exchange of thoughts.
‘How can I build up my vocabulary? Is there any magic wand which can help me out with learning new words?’
‘Is it necessary to have a good vocabulary for being a good speaker?’
‘Can reading for long hours improve vocabulary?’
‘Should I eat almonds for memorizing words with their meanings?’
' How to improve English?'
These were some commonly asked questions by students, educators and many other people who want to master the English language.
Here I am going to discuss all such questions with their solutions. You just need to ponder over 10 guidelines and you’ll get all the answers. So don’t stop here. Go on reading. This will really help you to improve your English vocabulary.
1. Read and Guess
Whenever you read a newspaper, a book or a novel, make a habit of underlining words, phrases or idioms which seem to be new to your vocabulary. Now guess for their meanings.
How will you do that?
Whatever you read, a picture of the same is formed in your brain. You have to use the same picture for this guessing activity.
For example: If you are reading a story book, a trail of pictures starts running in your mind. Now if any word or phrase which is new to you stop that trail; you can easily guess its meaning. Try this guessing activity before using your dictionary.
Reading is important but what should you read for improving your vocabulary?
For beginners, I will suggest, read books that fascinate your brain. But once you start using your vocabulary while conversing with someone. Move to the next level of reading.
Read books with high literature. Learn new words from them and use them in daily life. Be a voracious reader.
Novels by Satyajit Ray and John Green are my personal favorites. They provide you with a bag full of new words and also keep you engaged. You too can try them. This also answers your question How to improve English.
Let’s move to the next point.
2. Take a Notebook and use a good Dictionary
Once you have tried guessing the meanings relative to the context. Take a small notebook and jot down the words that are new to your knowledge. You can try different styles of recording new words in your notebook.
For example: Note down the new words in an alphabetical order, dividing the pages of your notebook in 26 parts, each with 3-4 pages for one alphabet. Or you can even divide it according to different themes like few pages having words related to nature, the other few for work places, objects, garden, etc.
Find their meanings using a good dictionary. Oxfords’ dictionary is preferred by many. Writing the meanings of the new words will not make you learned.
Make little more effort in framing sentences that can be used by you in daily life. I too have made the same efforts to build up my English vocabulary.
Be determined and work fervently in this direction to celebrate the results.
3. Speak and Write
How can speaking and writing help a person to improve vocabulary? Go on reading, you will get all the answers.
Writing helps to retain new words in your mind for a longer period of time. You should write on as many topics as you can. This increases the possibilities for you to use newly learned words.
Speaking in English helps you to gain the confidence for using new words. It enables you to know when and where these words should be used. What do you need to do?
Every day try to write at least one paragraph or an article. You should always search for opportunities to speak. Encourage people around you for a debate. Or try to increase the length of the conversation by interrogating the person in front of you. Remember that you should be confident while speaking to someone.
Whether your vocabulary is good or not, speak self-assuredly. You will learn from your mistakes. ‘No one can learn without making mistakes.’
4. Play and Learn
Have you ever thought of it? -Learning while playing! This is helpful. Vocabulary games are there. Download few word building games on your smart phones. Play them whenever you get time.
Solve puzzles and crosswords. This is great fun.
Play as much as you can. This activates the inactivated cells of your brain.
You will be able to grasp more, learn more and retain more.
Learning method: Frame sentences from the new words you come across while playing. Use them whenever you speak.
5. Set up Goals
Determine yourself to learn at least 10 new words daily. You can follow the above method also.
Other learning methods: Make 10 flashcards daily, each flash card having a new word, its meaning, other forms of noun, adjective, etc. and a sentence.
Once you are able to learn 10 words daily, start upping the ante.
Set your goals to the next higher level i.e. from ten to thirty words a day and so on.
Dr. Abdul Kalam once said, ‘One cannot change his future, but can change his habits. And your habits can undeniably change your future.’
So make reading, writing, speaking, learning and setting new goals a habit for changing your future.
6. Test Yourself
Testing yourself is of great significance. There are a number of games and exercise books which you can use to check whether or not you have started mastering your vocabulary.
You can take online help as well. Search for such websites on search engines and upgrade your word list.
You can even try to recall few words on any topic. This will let you know whether or not you have passed in yourself test.
What else can you do? Check the next point.
7. Figure out New Words
Build new words on your own. This can be done by adding different prefixes, suffixes, and roots.
For example The word ‘responsible’. Figure out new words from this one. They can be ‘responsibility’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘response’, ‘respond’, etc.
So many new words can be added to our vocabulary by this method. Try adding ‘-able’, ‘-ly’, ‘-y’, ‘in-’, ‘im-’, ‘un-’, ‘-it’, etc. and discover new words.
You can also learn few Latin words. These will further add more glory to your word list.
8. Go Topic Wise
One can improve his/her vocabulary by learning different words based on a particular topic first. And then move to another set of words based on the next topic. This way you’ll be able to collect new words on different topics related to science, economics, social world, media, etc.
Hence whenever you’ll be asked to present your views on a certain topic with which you are already familiar; you will be able to showcase yourself in a tremendous fashion.
9. Search Related Words
If I jot down a word say, ‘organisms’, think of all the possible terms that come to your mind and jot them. You can find systems, animals, plants and many other related words as mentioned below.
Write a word in the center of a blank page and write as many words as you think are related to it; all around the central word. Just as done above.
10. Practice and Revise
‘Practice makes a man perfect.’ This is the last point. But it isn’t the least one. All the above guidelines should be thoroughly practiced by you.
You can use a practice book for this purpose.
Your goal for entering 10 words daily needs practice. Your brain requires this practice to retain the new words.
Practice speaking in front of a mirror to increase your confidence. Another thing to keep in mind is ‘revision’. You should revise the new words in a pattern that follows: Revise the words with their sentences at the end of every week, then at the end of every month. And at last revise all words, you have learned annually.
This way you will never forget these words and will be able to use them in daily life.
On the journey towards an improved vocabulary you have to beware of few ‘Don’ts’:
Never ever store new words in your brain. They are words; they are not your new expensive robes which you will use when some occasion will land in your calendar. You have to use them as and when you get an opportunity to speak.
Don’t use fillers for showing your fluency. These fillers like ‘um’ and 're’ sound as if you are not able to find the correct word and have a weak vocabulary.
Don’t gambol with the new words that come across while reading any book or novel. These means don’t just read for fun. Don’t jump to the conclusion of the stories you read without searching the meanings of new words.
Lastly, don’t read by being quite. Read a little loud so that your voice is audible to you. Read aloud while framing sentences also. This will help you to improve in a better way.
I hope these points will prove to be helpful for you in improving your English vocabulary. Always remember, ‘we can shape events in each other’s brains with exquisite precision.’ This is a dictum by Steven Pinker. This tells the importance of a good vocabulary which aids us in exchanging our thoughts in a better way.
I will also suggest you not to lose hope if you are not able to recall a word you have learned a week before. ‘Paris was not made in a day.’ It takes tolerance and endurance for anything to happen. Learning is a never ending process of life. So keep on using new words. Keep on learning. Keep on improving. You will definitely master a good lexicon but with time.
Practice well. Good luck.
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