Key Steps In Building Vocabulary

Have you ever had the experience of being in the middle of the sentence, only to have the right words disappear? You might feel like the words you need are right at the tip of your tongue but you just can't seem to dredge them up from the back of your brain. We'd be surprised if this had never happened to you, as it's a common problem experienced by many people. People have even been diagnosed with a learning disability called dysnomia , where they have extreme difficulty recalling words.

When it comes to speech and writing, having a good vocabulary is essential. With a limited vocabulary, you won't be able to come up with spectacular literary pieces. You might also find yourself a little intimidated when interacting with people who are well-spoken.

Building vocabulary does not have to be excruciatingly painful. Here are the key steps you need to gradually build vocabulary.

Step 1: Personalize it.

Don't go to the trouble of memorizing words you won't really have a chance to use. Look for words that you can use when interacting with people or writing documents to communicate with others. Understand your manner of speaking, and match the vocabulary to your style. To start, write down words you commonly use. Now check the dictionary for words that are synonymous to those you are currently using. Synonyms are very easy to use since they can be substituted for the words you have already been using, giving the same meaning but increasing the number and variety of words you use. A good dictionary will provide synonyms, or you can check a thesaurus.

Step 2: Maximize your resources.

The thing about vocabulary building is that you have unlimited resources that are found all around you. You don't have to stay in the library 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to memorize words. Read the morning paper, check your reports, use subtitles when watching movies or dramas, surf the internet, and take the time to isolate the words that you have a difficulty understanding. You will be able to recall these words easily since you can associate them to where you have heard or read them.

Step 3: Understand the structure of words.

English words are actually not that difficult to memorize. You just have to check the root word and the meaning will dawn on you. Look at the words opposition or opponent and you will see the root word oppose , which means "be against". By knowing the root word alone, you have the ability to understand the other words better without having to check the dictionary. It also helps to understand the type of word, or what part of speech it is. Is it a noun, an adjective, or an adverb? Adverbs and adjectives are closely related. Beautiful (an adjective) has essentially the same meaning as beautifully (an adverb). The only difference is how they are used in the sentence.

It will also help you to understand the functions of suffixes and prefixes. For example, the prefix re- essentially means "again." So when you come across words like rewrite , regroup , restructure or regenerate , you know you're looking at a word that means "doing ________ again."

You can easily build your English vocabulary using a variety of methods. It's not difficult to figure out the meaning of words, once you know how to use your vocabulary resources. Once you understand the basics, you can quickly move on to more difficult and useful words. Just make sure you use these words frequently and incorporate them in your daily life.


NEXT: Build Vocabulary Quickly

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