Dictionary.com Word FAQs
Can you give me a list of ways to improve my vocabulary?
A great vocabulary takes only one ingredient - learning new words. You see and hear new words just about every day - from a teacher, a co-worker, a book, or television. The best way to learn new words, though, is to read a lot - books, magazines, newspapers, anything and everything. When you read, check nearby words. The words that come before and after a new word may help you understand its meaning. Another thing that is helpful is to keep a new-word notebook in which you write the words with information that helps you remember and use the word, like the meaning or a sentence including the word. Then try to use new words in your writing and speaking. Each week or each day, you could choose a new word from your notebook. Using the word will help you remember it. Also, use a dictionary or dictionaries to look up new words. Dictionary entries offer more than just the definitions. You will find that the more you know about a word, the more likely you will remember it and be able to pull it out of your brain for future speech and writing. A thesaurus or book of synonyms can supplement this by showing you words that are related in meaning. Also, take a closer look at any new word you come across. Look at each new word to determine its root and also if it has any prefix or suffix. Becoming familiar with word parts helps you to grasp other new words that will come up. So, the first step is to be a word explorer and capture those new words in a notebook. Then become a word detective, going into a dictionary, thesaurus, etc. and gaining an understanding of these new words. Be a word user, too: as soon as you have learned a new word, find a way to fit it into your everyday conversation or writing. You can expand on this by making flash cards, which has always been a great learning tool. Put a Word-a-Day calendar on your desk or subscribe to a service like Dictionary.com's Word of the Day Mailing List. Finally, play word games or do word activities: solve crossword puzzles, play Scrabble or Boggle, or take word quizzes. There are many, many ways to improve vocabulary and you can tailor these suggestions to best fit your lifestyle and interests. Just remember to keep it fun and interesting!