How to build your Vocabulary

  • Learning the English language is a never ending process thanks to the million words of the English lexicon. That said, nevertheless, what the world of aptitude testing requires is a certain level of vocabulary and its understanding, in terms of meaning and usages.
  • Sometimes it is a matter of not remembering the right word at the right time and sometimes it is not knowing the word altogether. In any case, having a good vocabulary increases the understanding one has of any written piece of information, be it a newspaper article or a passage for reading comprehension.
  • Building vocabulary is a not about rigorous practice and cramming of words but about regular practice and curiosity.
  • There are four easy steps to learning new words :

STEP 1 : Awareness

  • Many a time, we come across a new word and ignore it.
  • But, the right thing to do is to find out what the word means.
  • A curious reader can guess the meaning of the word by reading the sentence in which he encountered the word.
  • This will give the contextual meaning of the word.
  • Of course, this will just be an educated guess.
  • Mark the word and look it up in the dictionary.
  • Not by disrupting your reading process or breaking the flow of thought of your reading text, but by looking it up at the end of your reading of the article or chapter.

STEP 2 : Read, Read and Read

  • This is the next and the most important step towards vocabulary building.
  • Reading not only introduces you to new words but also reinforces the words you already know.
  • Read something that you are interested in. But do not stick to ONLY your interests.
  • For eg: if it is automobiles you are interested in, read magazines like Auto India.
  • If politics interests you, then read India Today or any similar magazine.
  • But also widen the scope of your reading to diversify your assimilation of ideas and words.
  • Novels and newspapers are also an excellent source of reading.
  • Remember, the more you read, the more words you see, the better your vocabulary.

STEP 3 : Vocabulary Notebook

  • If your reading is going good, then you might encounter new words on a regular basis.
  • When you look up these words in a dictionary (online or offline), make sure you read the entire explanation as it might contain other meanings or examples of contextual usage.
  • Make a note of the word in your Vocabulary notebook.
  • This book serves as your personal dictionary and helps you recall faster words that you have seen.

STEP 4 : Study and Review

  • Apart from this, a reader must also review the words that he encounters on a regular basis.
  • Retention of the words increases with revision.
  • Try and use the new words in your daily conversation and create associations.
  • You can also use different approaches such as

APPROACH : The Root Word Approach

  • About 70% of the words in the English language derive from Latin, French and Greek and 22% from German.
  • If we understand the words from which the English language is derived, it can help us to understand a lot of words in the English language.
  • For example: Thermometer comes from therma which in Latin means heat and metron which means to measure.
  • We can relate these root words to other words such as thermal, geothermal, exothermic, thermoelectricity, barometer, voltmeter etc.
  • This approach gives you the ability to learn new words independently.

APPROACH : Flash Card Approach

  • Write a word on one side of a blank card and its meaning on the other.
  • You can test your retention by using these cards.
  • The last and perhaps the most crucial thing to do is to stay motivated.
  • You can learn as fast as you want.
  • You started out in life knowing no words at all and now you know thousands.
  • You can learn more.
  • So, why wait? Happy Learning!

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