4 Easy Ways to Build Impressive Vocabularies. There are numerous reasons why ones would like to have a great range of vocabulary. The most common one being the more words you can use, more ideas you can express.
The big question is how to do it effectively without having to memorize thousands of flashcards? In fact, there is a way more effective than using flashcards. Believe it or not, you’ve been using a much better system for years. If you’re a normal 16-year-old, you have about a 40,000-word vocabulary. Did you memorize all those words with flashcards? No. You didn’t “study” them at all. You just absorbed them by trying to understand and communicate with the people around you.
When you take words out of the context of real communication, your brain’s “vocabulary machine” doesn’t work very well. So don’t just study flashcards to memorize word meanings in isolation. Here are four (4) easy steps to do it:
• READ: There is no instant way or fast track! There is no substitute for reading. The more one reads, whether it is fiction, news articles, poetry, or even gossip magazines, the more varied one’s lingo becomes.
• LOOK-UP: This one follows from the point above. During the course of your reading, you will doubtless come across new words. Note the word, its meanings, and an example sentence to illustrate how that it is used.
• COPY well-written articles, paragraphs and poems into a journal. Doing this on a daily basis helps you to imbibe the superior expression of other writers and make it your own. This is a self-improvement drill technique.
• USE the new words and expressions that you come across. Many of us have the tendency to subconsciously ‘dumb down’ our vocabulary because we want to avoid sounding ‘bookish’. Being articulate is an advantage, not a drawback.
THESAURUS ALERT! This point is seemingly contradictory to the one above, but is actually a logical extension of it. Refrain from over-using the thesaurus in your writing. Remember, synonyms are words ‘similar’ in meaning to one another. They are not always perfect replacements for each other. If you are ‘iffy’ about the way a particular word is used, don’t stuff it in there just to prove that you know big words. Your writing may end up sounding unnecessarily pretentious.
To help you improve your proficiency in English, please kindly contact SUN English at (62-21) 4585 5238 or drop by to any nearest SUN Education branch. (LAF)