English Grammar Blog
Building Your Vocabulary
Building your vocabulary in the English language is a never-ending task because this is a living language. Learning new words should be a lifelong endeavor and the first strategy for building your vocabulary is to train yourself to be always looking for words that you do not know. You can do this while you are reading books, magazines and newspapers. Have your dictionary nearby so that you can take a peek at it once you encounter a word that you are not familiar with.
To build your vocabulary, you will have to read at least one book and a number of magazines every week for the rest of your life. When you find a word that is not familiar to you, the technique is to stop reading and try to discern what it may mean based on the context of the sentence. Try to focus on how it looks and its sound. Then look for its meaning in the dictionary. When you do this, you may discover that the word keeps appearing more often as you continue to read books, magazines and newspapers.
Another way is to ensure that your mind is open to new concepts and ideas because each word represents a new idea. You may have to think of those fields of human knowledge that are still unfamiliar to you, such as semantics, music, art, psychology, biology and others. After choosing the specific field that you find interesting, you can start reading books and magazines on that particular topic. This will provide you with a better idea of the subject and you can learn more words as you continue to expose yourself to it.
The next step is to let the new words that you come across in your reading linger in your mind. One way to do this is to apply them in your writing or in your speech. As long as you use them appropriately, no one will likely even observe that you have been adding to your vocabulary. However, if someone does notice it and tries to discourage you, remember to keep your mind focused on your goal because the next strategy is to establish a goal of how many new words to learn every day. While this may seem to be difficult and ambitious at first, you may soon find out that the process becomes easier each day that you practice it.
You may also want to look at various websites that help you build your vocabulary. There are various online resources that can help you. You can also try doing crossword puzzles and other word games.