As the world becomes a Global village, a strong command in English can be a great asset. Irrespective of whether we are using English in spoken or written form, strong vocabulary is the main weapon in one’s arsenal to compose and convey his/her thoughts in an easy-to-understand style. In addition, studies indicate that people with an impressive vocabulary enjoy greater respect among their peers.
I am sharing some tips with the readers to increase their vocabulary.
- One of the most common and effective ways to improve vocabulary is to use the all-present Dictionary. Make the Dictionary your friend and spend some time every day to learn at least 3 new words. In addition to learning the meaning of the word(s), readers should try to understand the correct context(s) in which these words are used. It is also recommended that the reader use the words in their everyday conversations, as I am a firm believer in the adage: “Practice makes Perfect”.
- Use only an English-English dictionary. Avoid a dictionary that gives the meanings in a language (probably the reader’s mother-tongue) other than English. While it might help in the short term, the reader unwittingly starts thinking in his/her mother-tongue and this invariably will hinder the reader from developing fluency in English.
- Vocabulary Builder at Number2.com is an excellent resource to build one’s vocabulary. Users are provided with a word and 4 choices. Before you write off this as another one of umpteen websites that has a bunch of multiple choice questions, here is the clincher. When we click the wrong answer, Number2 provides the meaning for that as well. Readers can keep going through as many words as possible, the only limitation being their time and interest. Registration is free.
- Dictionary.com is another excellent online resource that I find highly useful when I am browsing online and need to quickly look up a word. The site also provides a free ‘Word of the Day’ service that the readers can sign up for with a valid email id.
- Start reading books. This is the single most effective way to improve vocabulary. I would not recommend that the reader start reading Shakespearean works right away. The reason being, they might contain outdated words and the reader will be stuck up with words not in circulation right now. I recommend books by John Grisham and Thomas Hadley Chase, as these authors use words that are used in everyday conversations.
- Read Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis. It is an extremely effective book that teaches the reader how to use the correct words in the appropriate context. I learnt quite a bit from this book and thoroughly enjoyed the process.
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