There are thousands of words in English and then there are slangs and jargons too. Vocabulary, in simple words, is the set of all the words known and used by an individual. Now, vocabulary can be broadly classified into four types:
Listening – the words we hear and understand
Speaking – the words we use when we speak
Reading – the words we understand when we read
Writing – the words we use when we write to express our thoughts
Here are some tips to help you improve your vocabulary:
- Read: you must read more. But what should you read? Literature. No, not the old English books but modern literature that uses rich language. Novels, newspapers and even blogs written by literature experts. Focus on the words used and how they bring out the essence of what the writer wants to say.
- Keep a Vocab-diary: you must maintain a diary that lists all the new words that you learn along with their meaning and usage. So, if you learn the word ‘cajole’, then your diary entry must look like:
Meaning: to persuade someone to do something by persistent coaxing
Usage: Peter cajoled Tom to sell his house.
- Watching Movies: English movies and TV series bring new words & add to your vocabulary. But always turn on subtitles and make sure you follow everything said.
- Reading Specific Novels: Read high-quality graphic novels like 'Watchmen' or 'I Am Legend'. You can also read other reputed novels.
- Learn at least one new word every day: Don’t try to learn 30-40 words in a day. Start with at least one word and go up to 2-3 words. Research the words well. Study their meaning, usage and history, if you have time. Make a note of it in your diary. Try using that word in your communication (written or verbal) within the next few days.
- Inculcate the habit of using precise words: Whether you are speaking or writing, try to use precise words.
- Beware of the Forgetting Curve: The forgetting curve describes how you can forget things that you have learned over a period of time. Do you remember what you read on the homepage of Yahoo 5 years back? Of course not. Why? Because you didn’t read it again. The same can happen to the new words learned by you. Hence, it is important that you keep using all the new words used by you at regular intervals till it becomes a part of your permanent memory.
A good vocabulary has the power to improve the quality of your life.
Sounds illogical, doesn’t it?Some people believe that those with a good vocabulary use unnecessary complex words to impress others. While this observation might not be completely wrong, the point of a good vocabulary is not to make communication complicated.
Good communication should always be simple. But, a good vocabulary allows you to use words with greater precision.
Successful people, almost always have a good vocabulary. Wonder why? Are they trying to impress others? Not really. They are simply making the best use of words available in their vocabulary. They realize the true power of words and use them effectively.
People with a good vocabulary understand things better than those who have a limited vocabulary because of a better command of the language. And a good understanding means you can make better use of opportunities.
Remember, it’s not just about learning new words. It’s about understanding the right use of the words and using them effectively in your communication.
At ExamVictor, we help students prepare for competitive examinations. Most of these exams require that the applicant has a good vocabulary. No complex words but a good understanding of various usages of commonly used words. In the courses offered by us, we ensure that students follow all these tips and help them improve their vocabulary effectively. After all, a good vocabulary is an asset for life!