How to improve your vocabulary

Working with words, I am always looking to expand my own vocabulary but you may find that as you learn new concepts or take on different employment roles your vocabulary may change or you may need to grow your vocabulary.
So, how do you do this?


Read whenever you have the opportunity to do so. If, like me, you are constantly busy or find yourself with no time to read a novel, choose an online magazine, article, or your favorite blog. It doesn’t matter whether it is a short story or a magazine, pay close attention to anything with writing on it. The more you are exposed to new words, the more you will learn and grow your own vocabulary. It is always helpful to read with a dictionary beside you that way if you don’t know what a word means, you can look it up and make a note of it.


In a notebook, write down any new words. Writing the new word alongside the definitions will help you remember to remember them and then use these new words in the correct context at a later stage.


It is also a good habit to practice saying, writing, or spelling new words. Pick a new word daily as your “word of the day”, and use this word correctly and in context, throughout the day. This helps you to both grow your vocabulary and practice how to use the words in context.


Writing down the words helps you to remember new words. Write the words on small sticky notes and add them to your fridge or desk space at eye level. If you are using these tips to build vocabulary for a second language you could start a scrapbook, cut out images and write the words beside the objects. This helps the brain to visualize the word next to an object.


Play word games online or invest in some crossword, word search, or word activity books, and look up the meanings of new words as you come across them. You could also play board games that encourage word building like Scrabble, which is a great game to play for this purpose.


Use the new words regularly so that you don’t forget them. You could use them in conversation, to write paragraphs or a short story, or to start a blog about something that is of interest to you.


As a kid, I had several pen pals and we learned a lot about each other. In grade 3 we had Afrikaans pen pals and my vocabulary, confidence in using a second language and Afrikaans language grew. The best way to gain confidence in speaking any language is by talking to a native speaker.
As with anything you get what effort you put in. Do the work, learn, and enjoy.

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