Grow Vocabulary Quickly Using These 10 Foolproof Steps
It’s not easy to grow vocabulary quickly without a plan to pick up new words and keep tabs on your progress. In the following article, we’re going to give you some quick tips for how to enhance your word knowledge quickly, without it taking too much effort.
1. Learn Word Roots and Stems
You can pick up the meanings of quite a few words by studying their stems and root words. Here are some examples.
- Bio – means “life” – used in biology (the study of living things), biography (life story about a specific person), autobiographical (life story as recounted by its subject)
- Phon – means “sound” – used in phone (a device for sending audio signals), phonology (the study of how languages and dialects organize or group their sounds)
- Tele – means “far” – used in telephone (device that sends sound from far away), telecommunications (communicating from a distance), and telecommuting (working from a distance)
These are just a few root words. Here is a good primer to check out if you’d like to continue to add to your vocabulary.
2. Use Visual Aids for Learning Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives
With visual aids like flashcards, you can associate words with pictures and create a visual association that will help you remember the word for a longer period of time. There are lots of great examples of visual aids that you can use to build your vocabulary. One of the most popular tools for this is Duolingo , which is a free app that helps you build your vocabulary in several different languages.
3. Use Mnemonics to Help You Remember Words
Mnemonics are memory devices that help you to remember things through association or visuals. They can be useful in vocabulary building by creating visuals to help you remember keywords. For example, use the sentence, “Sally sells seashells by the seashore,” to help you remember the word “seashells.”
4. Base Your Vocabulary on Interests
What are you “in” to? Check out the sports, movies, documentaries, books, and magazines that you tend to gravitate towards? Make a list of the words that are unique to those areas of interest. From there, go as deep down the rabbit hole as you can. Who are some of the writers and content creators behind those things?
What are some other things they’ve written or produced? Keep unspooling that thread, and you’ll find yourself with a bigger vocabulary that was easier to come by because you were actually interested in what you were learning!
5. Use Online and Offline Word Games
Games are also great ways to grow vocabulary quickly. This can be done through themed word searches, crosswords, cryptograms, or competitive play. Think games like Scrabble and Words With Friends. These games are great for two reasons.
Firstly, they help you realize that your vocabulary is bigger than you think it is. Secondly, they introduce you to new words through the words you are presented with, either by the puzzle or competitor.
6. Read a Ton
Reading is a great way to boost your vocabulary without having to resort to cracking open a dictionary. You should read fiction and nonfiction alike. Fiction is great for developing context clues. Nonfiction is good for helping you understand key topics in more detail.
Beyond that, you should look at how you’re reading. Read aloud. Read silently. Use context clues to decipher meaning from the things you don’t know.
7. Practice Writing and Speaking New Words Every Day
Connect with a vocabulary application on your smartphone. Set the tone for how many new words to learn a day. Doing just seven words per day will have you learning more than 2,500 new words just through this means alone in a year’s time. That doesn’t count new vocabulary that pops up from news stories, magazines, and other sources that you use on a daily basis.
8. Find Commonalities Among the Words You Are Learning
Some words will have things in common with other words. Take telephone, for instance. Telephones are related to telephone lines, which are related to “fiber optic.” The telephone was initially used as the main source for connecting to the “internet,” which is now powered primarily through “WiFi.” If you’re going to have a WiFi connection, you want speeds greater than 100 “megabytes.”
The list can go on. Start with a single word. Then, build as many associations as you can. From there, you’ll have a number of “jumping off” points to add new words to the mix.
9. Use a Thesaurus
A thesaurus is best for when you have encountered a new word, and you just don’t have time to stop what you’re doing to figure out what it means. If the context clue itself isn’t enough, or if you’d like a more complete meaning of the word, then write it down.
Go to a thesaurus when you have a minute to look at it more closely. There, you will find the meaning to the word, as well as a list of synonyms (same or similar meaning words) and antonyms (opposite meaning words) that you can add to your vocabulary along with that single word that inspired your search in the first place.
10. Track Your Progress
Don’t just try to internalize all these words. Keep a list going. Write your new words down in a journal each day, or keep them in an app or program you can go back to for easy reference. The more you see these words, the easier they will be to internalize.
These 10 Steps Will Grow Vocabulary By Leaps and Bounds
Put each of these steps to work for you. Do so, and you’ll see that it’s quite easy to grow vocabulary quickly. Good luck! What are some of your favorite vocabulary learning techniques? Share in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]