How To Improve Your Vocabulary


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This course is your personal portal to vocabulary enrichment.
The 10 free lessons which discuss proven methods in vocabulary improvement will equip you with a vast knowledge of useful words you can utilize in your everyday dealings especially your professional encounters.

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How To Improve Your Vocabulary

  1. 1. How to Improve Your Vocabulary (A No-Cost Vocabulary Improvement Course) by Ultimate Vocabulary Software This course is your personal portal to vocabulary enrichment. The 10 free lessons which discuss proven methods in vocabulary improvement will equip you with a vast knowledge of useful words you can utilize in your everyday dealings especially your professional encounters. You can also take advantage of the various links to other resources to help you in your journey to building a better English vocabulary and moving forward in your career or business. Take the first step now, read on to the first lesson and cultivate your knowledge of words! Pertinence of a Capacious Vocabulary Leveling up your word powerhouse is one of the best things you can do for yourself because this will allow you to improve on your English communication skills. Whether English is your first language or you are learning English to be your second language, building your English word list will benefit you in many ways. We've heard of the quote "the right words at the right time" and it is so popular simply because communication is essential in all aspects of our lives whether it'd be personal or professional. We just need to communicate at all times.
  2. 2. This is why a wide vocabulary is very helpful to many because it allows a person to adapt his language to his current situation and the persons he's with. So congratulations to you since in viewing this webpage, it shows you are already contemplating on how to improve your vocabulary and that is a great first move towards your advancement. Yes, we often get by with just the thousand words we constantly use every day but letting yourself become better and building far-reaching word knowledge is a big investment in your personal development. An extensive vocabulary is one of the main ingredients in mastering the art of communication. It will help you get out of tight situations where you may grapple due to loss for words especially the right ones fit for your circumstance. An intensive knowledge of proper words along with proper grammar usage will also help you in interacting easily with different kinds of situations such as interviews or discussions and your good command of the language will give a good impression to others about your competency too. It also makes talking to you easier for those with a vocabulary in the advanced level because they would not need to simplify their words just to accommodate your limited understanding of the leading-edge words they may be using. This ability to play with words will simply contribute to your professional progress and will make you radiate in your daily living and socialization.
  3. 3. Making this improvement on your vocabulary will also make you smarter and witty simply because when you know more words, you will understand more ideas easily too. Your brain cells will get a much needed workout when you build your vocabulary and this will make you smarter because the more the brain is made to think and exercise its muscles, the better it gets in its cognitive skills. English vocabulary improvement is also not only for adults but for children too. Children whose mother-tongue is not English are more challenged with the language as much as adults. It's possible they are taught English in school and they speak it at home too but their vocabulary may be limited to those they just use on a daily basis so widening their word knowledge is still needed so they can easily cope with the changing times as they grow up. When this development is incorporated early on in their lives then they would not have a difficult time anymore when they grow up in adapting to more complex English words used in higher grades and in the corporate world. Simplest Ways to Improve Vocabulary Vocabulary improvement is not a difficult course unlike other self-growth or advancement courses. Because you would not need to train yourself to learn new skills anymore nor do you need to do away with old habits to learn new words. Aside from the more intense methods to improve on your vocabulary, there are also simple ways to widen your word knowledge which you can start with immediately.
  4. 4. Consider the following methods below to kick-start on your vocabulary improvement: 1. Good Reading I stress here that it should be good reading because the kind of material you should choose when you intend to increase your word list are quality materials. Tabloid newspapers and comic books may not count in these but look for top newspapers with quality articles and topics and a good selection of books on various topics, even if they look like boring to read because they are so thick and the title is not too entertaining. These types of materials will introduce you to new words you may have not heard of before. The dictionary and a pen and paper or a handy notebook will become your new best friends in your journey to having an expanded word list. While reading your quality materials and you come across a new word or even one you've heard of before but don't know its meaning, write it down and look for its meaning in the dictionary, then write down the meaning too in your notebook. This way it would be easier for you to review the new words you've come to know while reading. Contemporary vocabulary software also provide quality selections for reading materials. To find the best, look into vocabulary software reviews such as this one. 2. Browse the Internet This is a fun way to improve your vocabulary but again be selective of the materials you will read. Search for quality articles and content on the internet and explore beyond your own field to learn new terms in other industries. Try to understand the meaning of the new words you may see from the words surrounding it this is called getting the meaning through context clues.
  5. 5. 3. Talk and Socialize Make sure to use the new words you've known in your conversations. It may be through talking with friends personally, commenting on forums and social networking sites, over chat or through your email messages. The point is to use the words so its meaning and usage will be imprinted on your mind. 4. Vocabulary Building Books You may go to your local library and look for specific books on vocabulary improvement or purchase one from a bookstore. These kinds of books will provide you with other methods to enrich your vocabulary. 5. Repeat the words in your mind Aside from keeping track of the new words you've learned by writing it down on a notebook, take some time to repeat the words in your mind and use it in your own sentences even if you just think about it and not say it aloud. Practicing this even just 5 to 10 minutes a day will strengthen your memory of these words and will also make it easier for you to use them during conversations. How to Use the Dictionary and Other Resources As mentioned in the previous lesson, the dictionary will be one of your best friends in terms of vocabulary build-up.
  6. 6. So you should know how to properly use it. Yes, this may be elementary to many of us but it would still be beneficial to know how you can get the most out of your handy dictionary. There are a lot and I mean, a lot of dictionaries in the market which you can choose from but you would need a dictionary appropriate for vocabulary expansion and not just one which will give the meaning of words. A dictionary is a reference book with words listed in an alphabetical order. The most relevant information a dictionary provides is the meaning of the words but it may also contain other facts such as the etymology or root word, pronunciation and usage of the words. The dictionary of your choice for vocabulary improvement should be one which contains not only the meanings of the words but also how the word is used. It's best if you can find one which also provides the synonyms and antonyms of the word for better comparison with other words and to better understand how it is used specifically. Online dictionaries usually have all these characteristics but of course, in reality, you cannot be online all the time so make sure you can have a handy dictionary with some if not all of these details. Another good resource similar to the dictionary is the thesaurus. It is a reference book but it often only contains the synonyms and antonyms of its word lists. But a thesaurus is a great source for alternative words which you can choose from for different situations and topics.
  7. 7. There are two ways in which you can use the dictionary and thesaurus in enriching your word knowledge. First is by doing the step described in the previous lesson wherein you refer to the dictionary for the meaning of every new word you encounter when reading or second, by looking up the word lists in the dictionary, which is in alphabetical order and learning or memorizing their meanings directly from the dictionary, then using the words in your own sentences. The same way may also be done with a thesaurus. Another resource which you should rely on in building your vocabulary is grammar books or references like online sites for proper English grammar usage. The new words you get to know will not be useful at all to you if you would not know how to properly use it in conversations and in writing. As mentioned, some dictionaries may contain other details about a word like what part of speech it is and how is it used in a sentence and then a sample sentence is also given but if your dictionary does not provide these details then a grammar resource will be a practical and invaluable option. If you will choose to learn words from the dictionary's word list then do not force yourself to learn 100 new words in a day. It's okay to start out slowly then increase your rate as you get better. In memorizing the meaning of the words, make sure you understand how and when that word should be used so making your own sentence with that word is crucial that's why it's alright to start out slow.
  8. 8. Take advantage of the spelling and grammar check available in software like Word or Pages, these will serve as a guide if the sentence you formulated uses the new word properly. Root Words, Affixes and Homonyms Most of the words in English come from Greek or Latin origins while others have their roots from German, French and the older form of English so knowing the root words or origin of the words will help you get or guess its meaning immediately even without referring to the dictionary right away. In addition to that knowing the meaning of affixes or prefixes and suffixes will help you comprehend the word and its proper usage too. Homonyms on the other hand are both homographs and homophones which we'll expound on later in this lesson. Root Words Root words or word origins as mentioned are the main words from which longer words come from. This is like the ancestor of words. For example, the word "tele" is the Greek origin meaning far off. The new words which grew from it are telephone, telecast, telecommunication, telegraph, telephony, telegram, and television. Knowing the etymology or origin of words will help you get an initial understanding of it especially in English words where a lot of words have expanded due to additions from other languages. Names of persons have also added to the English vocabulary and developments in different industries such as TV for television and COD for Cash on Delivery are accepted English words.
  9. 9. Affixes Affixes, commonly known as prefixes and suffixes are also root words. They have their own meanings by themselves but they are often not used by themselves. They expand other words to give them more definite meanings. Both affixes and root words make up many English words more often. Click here1 for a list of common root words and affixes which you can refer to in building your vocabulary and understanding of new words. Homonyms Homonyms on the other hand are the homophones and homographs. Homophones are the words which sound alike but are spelled differently while homographs are words which have the same spelling, may or may not sound alike but have different meanings.2 Often a homonym is referred to as a homophone but rarely as a homograph. Examples of homonyms are seen/scene, site/sight, and knew/new. Building your vocabulary from learning homonyms first will expand it quite fast because you get to learn two to three words at a time. Learning homonyms for vocabulary expansion is also a fun approach to training for the skill because you get to play with the sounds of words as you pronounce them and then learn their differences through their meanings. It is also easier to remember the words because another word will remind you of the other one. Click here3 for a good list of homonyms which you may start with in building your vocabulary. It is a growing list because of many contributors. You may add your own if you have some which are not on the list yet or you may make up your own homonym list to personalize your training.
  10. 10. The same goes for the affixes and root words but that may take some time from you since you would still need to do some research. However, there is really a vast reference for word origin, affixes and homonyms in the internet so take advantage of the longer lists Sources: 1. 2. 3. An Unfathomable Word a Day Even from our grade school years our English teachers would encourage us to memorize a word a day to build our vocabularies. This is still a good approach when you are establishing your word list for a larger English vocabulary. However to make it fun, interesting and compelling so you would be continuously motivated to continue and be committed to learning new words aside from its main benefits to your personal and professional development, it would be a great idea to learn an obscure or unfathomable word per day. These are the words which are not easy to understand when you first hear it because it just sounds so deep or vague.
  11. 11. These words may be the long ones or the very short ones which are seldom used in conversation and even in articles or other reading materials. Click here1 for a very comprehensive short to medium word list which you may refer to in learning one word per day. As well, here3 is another site you may visit which provides A Word a Day for you. Below is also a word list with their meanings but this time for the lengthy ones which are also not so often heard of but which you may use in your conversations, writings and word guessing games if it comes up to make your learning more interesting and fun too: WORDS MEANINGS Animadversion A remark of blame, accusation or criticism Agrestic Uncultured or unsophisticated Bailiwick A domain or field of interest or expertise Banal Common, ordinary Corpulent Obese. fat Callipygian With well-shaped buttocks Deipnosophist An expert in dinner-table conversation Euphony Harmony of sounds Foppotee A silly person Facetious Funny, amusing Heebee-jeebies Jitters, worry, tension Hebetudinous Lethargic, listless or slow Hubris Arrogance, pride Ichthyophagous Eating on fish Jocularity Fun, amusement, comedy
  12. 12. Jejune Immature, insensitive Kvetch Complain chronically Kakistocracy A government appointed by the worst Loquacious Chatty, talkative Lynch To kill or destroy Mammiferous Having mammary glands Mendacity Being dishonest, untruthfulness Obloquy Criticism, verbal attack To add to this, click this link2 for another collection of obscure words you can use for a whole week. Remember, the rule in learning these new words is to memorize each one per day and use it in your conversations and your other approaches to using the English language especially when it is not your mother-tongue like when you are a learner of English as a Second Language. The more you use it and recite or say it out loud, the more you will be able to imprint its meaning in your mind. For words which you are not sure what part of speech it is, do look it up in the dictionary so you can get an insight about how to use it properly.
  13. 13. Sources: 1. 2. 3. Context Clues and Elaboration Now let's start off with the more advanced methods in building vocabulary. These methods may still need the assistance of our friendly dictionary and thesaurus but most of these rely on our personal knowledge and experiences in order to get the meaning of new words you may encounter. Context Clues This method of learning the meaning of words through its surrounding sentences has been taught to us from our elementary years in school. Using context clues in getting the meaning of the word means making an intelligent guess of the meaning. This method is best used by those whose mother-tongue is English and those who are very familiar with the language already. But for those who are still in the beginner's level, context clues may prove to be a challenge. In learning the meaning of new words through context clues, one simple method in vocabulary building becomes a supporting technique to context clues and that is reading1 . The only way to make an inference about the meaning of the main word is by reading its surrounding elements. So read more to catch more new words and discern their meanings.
  14. 14. When learning the meaning of new words through context clues, it is best to substitute a familiar word to it which you think may be similar in meaning. If it makes sense then consult a dictionary to confirm. So for example, after reading a new word and you infer its meaning, look it up in the dictionary to gauge if you understood its meaning correctly. If not then try again in another word. Learning words through context clues is a technique which cannot work by itself alone but needs another back-up technique which is referring to the dictionary sometimes. Context clues may be in the form of antonyms or opposite words, examples to show the meaning of the word, or simply a synonym or a word similar in meaning2 . So watch out for these clues in the surrounding language. Elaboration Another advanced vocabulary building technique is elaboration. It is linking a word to something similar or very important to you when you learned it. It can be learned by looking up more usage examples and substituting your own words to the samples or by associated words such as antonyms and synonyms. Usage examples can be found in most kinds of dictionaries especially online dictionaries along with proper pronunciation. Another way to see how a word is actually used is by looking it up in Google search. Key in the word and browse through the result and even without going to the exact pages of the links. Just the search result alone can give you a clear idea of how a word is used in a complete sentence. Sometimes, usage examples are in Google news too so try using CTRL + F and find the word in the news article.
  15. 15. When you are already familiar with how the word is properly used, use it in your own sentences with the elaboration technique in mind. This means the sentence you formulate with your new learned word is something which is very familiar or significant to you or which you have just recently experienced. This way it will make an impression in your mind making it easier for you to recall. Sources: 1. 2. Visuals and Audios Using visualization or imagery and audio in building your vocabulary is primarily for recall purposes. Many people easily remember things when they can visualize it or they have already seen and heard the word. However the applicability of this is limited to concrete things. For abstract words or those of emotions then visual aids are not often applicable. Another way to visualize a new word you have learned whether it's concrete or abstract is by using flash cards. Flash cards are applicable to any kind of learner and using these have been a proven learning method through the years. You may write the words in a piece of cardboard in bold letters and assuming you already know its meaning and usage then what's left is to keep on remembering the word. So having written the new words down on a flash card, you may repeatedly go over it and may even do it several times in a day.
  16. 16. Another way to give this technique a tweak is to write the definitions, synonyms or antonyms of the word on the opposite side of the flash card for better recall of its meaning. Adding colors to it will make the word more readable and the colors will also help remind you of the word and its meaning. If it would be appropriate and convenient for you to bring ready yet blank flash cards around then go ahead and do so, so that whenever you get to encounter a new word, you may write it down and add it to your word list or collection. But technology has come so far and software providing flash card exercises for vocabulary building are already available. You may take advantage of these too. Vocabulary charts and tables are also useful in remembering words and their meanings. Click here1 to view a sample of a vocabulary chart and here2 for a sample vocabulary table. Organizing your word list in these patterns help you create a system map which can remind you of how the word looked like when it was listed on your chart or table. Another very simple way to help you recall the new words you are learning is to put them on sticky notes, either the application on your PC or the real life 'post its' and stick it on a corkboard or whiteboard or any wall you prefer which you have easy access to and can look at it anytime you're at home. Writing the words in different colored 'post its' will accentuate it more and will help your mind to remember it in a breeze too.
  17. 17. Online references such as Lex Tutor's Corpus Concordance English will also help you add words to your vocabulary because the site provides word associations and combinations when one word is searched on this engine. Click here3 and give it a try. It's a free site as well. Building your vocabulary through audio resources is also for the intention of recall. You may look into these vocabulary audio sources and podcasts for your enrichment: 1. Just Vocabulary - this podcast provides 2 English words per day to master. 2. Merriam Webster - this site provides words directly from this dictionary and a speaker pronounces the words. 3. Alpha Dictionary.Com - this podcast gives additional information about the word such as its origin and story. Sources: 1. 2. 3.
  18. 18. Word Games for a Richer Vocabulary Games are used for the improvement of a number of things like our memory and games are also beneficial for the enrichment of our vocabulary. Games, just like imagery assist and challenge our minds to easily recall the word, its meaning and how it is properly used in a sentence. Building a vocabulary is not only about having a word list but more so of remembering the new words and using them in your daily conversations and writings. That is the primary purpose and use of vocabulary improvement. Good thing, for us, word games are very rampant nowadays even for those who don't have or do not utilize their internet access, one can still play word games to enhance their word knowledge. The old age crossword puzzle is still one of the best word games to improve your recall of words and to learn new words at the same time. If you do not know the answer to one or two questions, it's alright to check the answer key when you are done with answering the other questions. When a new word is presented in the crossword puzzle, check the question again to know its meaning and then look up the definition too in a dictionary. You may now include this in your new words list. Scrabble is also another long-time game which will sharpen your recall of the words you know and have learned already. You can play this with the aid of a dictionary when you run out of words to use. This way you get to read new words straight from the dictionary while having fun. The website of the National Scrabble Association also provides one word a day to reinforce the word knowledge of those who love scrabble. Click here1 to visit their site and see their recommended word for this day.
  19. 19. You may also scout your local bookstore for word games like boggle or books with word games such as word hunt. Sometimes this is in the children's section but many books have words which are not limited to children's ages and can cater to adult learners as well. Just be keen to get the one suited for you before making any purchases. As we have noted earlier, the internet is a great resource now for word games or all kinds of games for that matter. No wonder many children are so hooked to it. Here are a few recommended links so you can start challenging your word knowledge and recall as soon as possible: 1. and Free Rice - these sites give vocabulary challenge games by asking learners to choose the definition of the word presented. 2. Write Better English Vocabulary Test - this is a test to gauge how vast or limited your current vocabulary is. Take it to challenge yourself more. 3. - this site has numerous word games to provide learners. Games range from the games for kindergarten ages to word games fit for adults like suffix or prefix games and synonym and root word games. 4. Many - this is a site particularly for ESL students or those studying English as a Second Language but is still a good resource for word games for native speakers.
  20. 20. Start building your vocabulary now in a more fun and interesting way! Sources: 1. Build Your Vocabulary the Way Children Do Children learn words since birth. This is a natural ability for them. They learn by recognizing the sounds and associating it with things or persons around them to know the word meanings. But before they enter school age, children learn more words not just through sounds but by other means as well to prepare themselves for the bigger world of school. So let's look at how children add more words to their vocabulary and see what we can learn from them. Children are very observant and alert. They listen to every word an adult says and when they hear something new they imitate the sound right away. So the key learning methods they use is observation, listening attentively and imitation. As adults learning new words to improve your vocabulary, you may do how the children do it too. Be attentive to words being spoken around you especially by the higher management if you are in the corporate world whether it'd be through conversations, meetings, emails, memos or presentations. The television, internet, radio and other media will also always present new words to you, so be on the lookout all the time for these uncommon words.
  21. 21. When you hear a word spoken, either by a person or through speakers in audio dictionaries, say it aloud to yourself too so you can ensure if you are saying it correctly or not. Just like children, imitate how the word is spoken and used. Children are not afraid to ask. They really ask a lot of questions because they are a curios lot. The same way may go for you, don't hesitate to ask of the meaning and pronunciation of a new word when you come across one during conversations. It's alright to ask and this may lead to an even more fruitful conversation or additional new words for you to learn. If it's through an email message or an article or eBook in the internet, then go ahead and look it up in the dictionary or through search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Curiosity may have killed the cat but not a person increasing his English vocabulary. Children as we have said are very curios human beings. They just put themselves in situations where they can explore and learn. So often, they read books they are interested in and even those which are not very interesting, as long as there are pictures. Do the same thing. Don't limit yourself. Read a variety of topics to be able to explore other kinds of terms. Yes, it's alright if you want to increase your business vocabulary for example. Focus on increasing that for a while but delve into other kinds of reading materials too. This will broaden your knowledge and will also help you advance as a conversationalist which is an asset when you are a professional.
  22. 22. Although scientists still consider it a mystery how children from infanthood learn language with just being exposed to sounds1 , we can still learn a lot from the examples of this younger generation. Sources: 1. How to Develop Your Business Vocabulary More often than not, the main reason for many persons, native English speakers or not, to improve on their vocabulary is because of professional reasons. To be aligned or be more competitive in university; to go up the career ladder and be promoted; to move to higher management positions; to have more business clients. These are only some of the reasons why many people, including you may be seeking for vocabulary enrichment. This is because having excellent and effective English communication skills is a big plus and a primary contributing factor to being considered as a competent professional in any field. The impressions words make are really lasting in the corporate world. Several researches have also shown that those persons in the higher management positions have far better vocabulary than the rest of the employees in a company1 . Our own words, verbally or in writing, simply tell what kind of person we are to others.
  23. 23. So having a wide grasp of the business vocabulary is a must for any professional. The appropriate words should be used for all sectors and members of the business world to understand your message even with just a small feat such as an email blast to your team or company department. Being able to communicate and comprehend properly business terms and ideas will also add to your sense of accomplishment and self- worth because you can listen and respond appropriately to any kind of conversation pertaining to business. The first step you can take is to familiarize yourself with the basic vocabulary words related to your industry or field. This should not be so hard for those who have earned college degrees in their fields of work but if your degree is not too close to the job you landed then you need to exert extra effort to learn the appropriate words for the industry of your job. Read magazines and books related to your job and look for online articles and news discussing the same area too. Make sure you talk with those who are already experts in the field within your company to gain some insights and new words from them. When your circumstances permit, do attend seminars or workshops for career development in your field. Expose yourself as much as you possible to reliable resources.
  24. 24. Take note of all the new words you get to learn. Write it in a handy notebook or flash cards too. Include the meaning and usage in your notes most especially how it was used when you came across it. When a word's meaning and pronunciation is still not clear to you just by learning its meaning from context in writing or conversation, check out an online source or dictionary to properly comprehend it. Then define it in your own words too. Then you may include the synonyms for that word in your notes. Take your advancement further by searching for a collection of terminologies just pertaining to your field of work. A highly recommended free site for business vocabulary terminologies is BusinessVocabulary.Org which you may visit through this link2 . Having this special knowledge of the proper business terms in your field of work will really give you that much needed edge from others. Your efforts will eventually be very fruitful. Sources: 1. 2.
  25. 25. Resources 1. Common Root Words LINK : This is a page from Cuesta College's Academic Support of a chart with root words and their definitions. 2. Homonym LINK : This is the Wikipedia page discussing the definition and use of Homonyms. 3. Alan Cooper's Homonyms LINK : This is an alphabetical list of homonyms and their meanings. 4. Improving Your Vocabulary: Word Lists LINK : This page contains Thorndike's word list which is a good word list to start with in building vocabulary.
  26. 26. 5. A Few of My Favorite Words LINK : This is a page in Paul McFedries' Word Spy which has some unusual yet useful words. 6. A Word A Day LINK : This is a link to the featured word for the day in which contains its pronunciation, meaning, etymology and usage examples. 7. A Study on the Practice of Guessing Word Meanings from a Context LINK : This is an online copy of a page of this book which partially explains how meaning of words can be derived from context clues. 8. Vocabulary in Context LINK : This is a page from the Montgomery College's website which provides information about the type of context clues from which word meanings can be derived from.
  27. 27. 9. Example Vocabulary Chart LINK : This page shows a sample vocabulary chart which can be utilized to help keep track of word meanings. 10. Example Vocabulary Table LINK : This page shows a sample vocabulary table which is another way to list down newly learned words and their meanings. 11. NSA's Word of the Day LINK : This is a link to the National Scrabble Association's Word of the Day page wherein the NSA provides a useful word and its meaning. 12. How Children Acquire Language: The Motor Theory Account LINK : This page shows the study conducted by Patricia Kuhl, a Speech and Hearing Sciences professor in the University of Washington, on how children learn language even without speech orientation since birth.
  28. 28. 13. Vocabulary as a Business Solution LINK : This article explains why having a wide vocabulary is important to any business and in moving up the corporate ladder. 14. BusinessVocabulary.Org LINK : This is a link to a website with free Business Vocabulary Training and a collection of business terminologies.