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How to Increase Your Vocabulary

Whether you are looking to improve your grades, seem smarter at work, or simply wanting to impress your friends, these tips will help you achieve your goal of an increased vocabulary.


  • Step 1: Read as much as you can Read as much as you can to encounter words that you don't already know.
  • Step 2: Look up the definitions unfamiliar words Use a dictionary to look up the definitions of the unfamiliar words that you come across in your reading.
  • TIP: Remember a word can have different meanings. Note all of the definitions for your word.
  • Step 3: Keep a list of your new vocabulary words Use a notebook to keep a list of your vocabulary words. Write the definition as well as a sentence using the word to help you remember the context.
  • TIP: Use an address book to keep an alphabetical list of your words.
  • Step 4: Make vocabulary flash cards Create flashcards to reinforce your new words. Write the word on one side of a note card and the definition on the other. Quiz yourself by looking at the word and remembering the definition.
  • Step 5: Use word-a-day calendars and web sites Make efforts to learn a new word every day. Use a word-a-day calendar and web sites to introduce you to new words.
  • TIP: Learn common prefixes and suffixes. These parts that come together to create words can help you figure out what a word means.
  • Step 6: Play word games Play word games. Use computer games or crossword puzzles to grow your vocabulary and help reinforce the words you are learning.
  • Step 7: Use your new words in daily conversation Use your new words in your daily conversations. Continue using and reviewing your words to reinforce what you've learned.
  • FACT: In 1857, British scholars decided to build a dictionary to contain all words in the English language. They created the Oxford English Dictionary, which still serves as the language's definitive dictionary.

You Will Need

  • Reading material
  • Dictionary
  • Notebook
  • Note cards
  • Word-a-day calendars
  • Internet access
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Address book (optional)

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