Ways to Improve your Vocabulary

Education Category: Language
Ages: 12-16, 16+

For all those who want to improve their English skills, it is important to expand your vocabulary. This will make it easier for you to have a conversation, understand others, and to improve your writing skills. Even for advanced speakers of English, it is important to update your vocabulary every once in a while, since that is a way of expanding your knowledge of the language. Below, I will list a few ways and tips to do so.

  1. While watching your favourite TV shows and/or films, have a notebook within reach to write down words that are new to you. You only have to write down the words while you are watching said show or film. After you are done watching this, you  should look up all the words and write down their meanings, and an example sentence if you want. By writing these words down you are already unconsciously learning them.
  2. Test yourself! You could do this by using the words you have been writing down while watching something. You could write the words on flashcards with the meaning on the back or fill them in on a website. You could also practice and test your vocabulary skills on websites, here is a link to an article that lists 16 useful sites https://www.educatorstechnology.com/2013/02/16-websites-to-teach-and-learn.html. On the websites you can find words that are useful to know, and these websites offer different techniques to learn them. Try to find one or two that are useful for you.
  3. Try to avoid (over)using the word "very". When you want to express yourself and want to emphasise a word, it is very easy (see what I did there?) to use the word very in a way to emphasise the word. Try learning words that will help you avoid overusing the word "very". Websites that list some of these words that I, personally, find effective are https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/how-to-avoid-very-in-writing/, https://www.proofreadingservices.com/pages/very, and https://www.globifylanguages.com/english-words-instead-very/. By avoiding this, you will not only learn new words, but will also come across knowledgeable and more articulate. It will definitely improve your speaking and writing skills, at the least.
  4. Look up words that you think you will need. Meaning, that you should think about the area in which you use English the most, e.g. work space, university, friends, etc. Try looking up words that you will actually use in your everyday situations. This way, you can also practice using them straight away. It will help you remember them more clearly, and this will show you when it is most useful to use them or when not to.
  5. Watch documentaries! It is informative and will help you learn many words about a specific topic in an interesting way. Watch documentaries that you find interesting or that might be convenient for you to know. You can find quite some documentaries on YouTube, Netflix, or other streaming sites. This will help you improve your vocabulary, listening skills, and knowledge.
  6. Listen to podcasts that you find interesting. This one is similar to the last tip, but one significant difference is that you can listen to podcasts everywhere you go. When you have to wait for your train, while you are driving to work, while jogging in the park etc. Podcasts are a simple way to learn more about certain topics and while doing so, improving your vocabulary and listening skills massively.

Hopefully (some of) these tips will be useful for you! These are just some interesting and fun ways to improve and spice up your vocabulary. By doing this you will be so much more confident when having a conversation or writing a paper.

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