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  1. #1
    lo2 is offline Member
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    Default Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    Hi there

    The thing I would like to focus mostly on right now, is to increase my vocabulary. So therefore I would really like some advice and help on this matter.

    So do any of you, have any special tips or tricks? Or I would very much like to just hear your way of doing it!

    Or do you know any games that will help you achieve the task? (know it might sound a bit silly, but you never know)

    Hope to get some advice!
    Last edited by lo2; 16-Aug-2010 at 18:56.

  2. #2
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    I don't think there's a magic formula- don't try to learn too much, recycle and check usage carefully.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    There are many ways to expand your vocabulary. My way to learn new words is to translate about 5-6 words a day into my native language and try to remember them immediately. However, if you don't check those words tomorrow, you will certainly forget them and when you face them again, you will be frustrated because it sounds familiar but you can't exactly figure out the meaning. So, don't t stress yourself with too many words. Movies may also be a useful aid.

  4. #4
    Jack8rkin is offline Member
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    What I did to learn new words is I wrote them down on a sheet of paper with translation in my native language (or sometimes drew a small picture against a word) and hung the sheet on a shelf. I also used the same kind of sheet at work and stuck it to a door of my locker. Thus, words were always before my eyes and sooner or later I memorized them. Besides, listening to movie soundtracks and audiobooks was of great help to me.

  5. #5
    lo2 is offline Member
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    I was not looking for a magic bullet. I was merely interested in how people did this and by learning about their methods I mihgt be able to get better myself.

  6. #6
    Jill-y is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    As for me the best methods to memorise new words are formulate suggestions with them and afterwards use them in writing letters. Even though, sometimes those letters can 'sound' artificially mostly people understand the meaning and it's the main!

  7. #7
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    Tullia is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    I don't know what level of English you already have, but I can tell you my favorite trick to pick up "practical" vocabulary.

    I am learning Italian at the minute, and trying some "visual learning" tricks.

    I started on small scale. I stuck a little card with the word for "door" on a couple of the doors in my flat. A card with the word for "window" on the window. Only a couple of cards, at first, dotted around my flat.

    And when I looked out of the window, I muttered the word. When I walked through the door, I muttered the word.

    Over time I added more notes and cards. My phone had a card on it. So did my computer.

    Gradually, the words sunk in. So then I got more complex. The cards on the doors also told me the name of the room behind the door. I would add a post-it note next the "hinges" and one near the "doorhandle".

    At first, the word on the small mirror on the wall in the bathroom, and on the full-length mirror in my bedroom was the same. Then I looked up slightly more accurate words to explain the difference, and updated the cards.

    Then I added small stickers on the buttons on my phone with the numbers written on them in Italian.

    On my different bits of my different computers, I added words for "screen" "monitor" "laptop" "powerpack" and so on. I started sticking words on things on my desk at work. I had a "photograph" on my desk at work. Now it's a "photograph of my family on holiday" in a "silver frame".

    The disadvantage of this method is it does have a bias towards teaching you lots of nouns.

    There are some good ways to pick up some verbs, though.

    We have these great clever phones at work with big screens and twenty menu options. It turned out I could set mine to display in Italian. Lots of practical vocab right there about transferring calls, putting people on hold... all great "real life" stuff. Most mobile phones will let you set their display into another language too. I did think about setting the photocopier menu to Italian at work too, but I decided people might get annoyed with me!

    When I was at uni (studying French) and bought my first ever laptop, I bought a French one. Everything, from the Start menu onwards, was already in French. There was a learning curve, although it wasn't as steep as I had expected. It's amazing how much we navigate on a computer from memory! But it was a great way to learn what words the French used for all those computer functions (Save, Edit, Rename, Justify... all kinds of things!) and believe me, it came in useful later. I'm not suggesting buying a new computer! But could you set up something like Microsoft Word in French? One programme you know well and use a lot?

    Keeping a diary (or perhaps a blog) in English might help. Even if you set yourself a small target of say 50 words a night, trying to talk about different things about your day will force you to look up new words and ideas. I wonder if you could start a diary thread on this site? Then you would get people helping and correcting you, and offering suggestions.

    In order to find new vocabulary you have to be talking/writing in the language, to figure out what words you need. Keep talking, talking, talking! Listening to movies and music isn't a bad idea but it is passive rather than active, because if you don't understand something then it is too easy to ignore the problem. Actively talking or writing doesn't let you do that as much!

    There's no "magic" way to learn and remember new vocabulary, but I have found it helps me personally to try and absorb the words into my real life and give them context and solidity. I have never been good at rote learning from lists. That's why the very visual methods I mentioned above have been helpful for me.

  8. #8
    davidbendtner is offline Newbie
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    Red face Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    Well i think the one of the best way to improve the vocabulary if you want to start from the scratch is take a GRE vocabulary building work book..which had a collection of more than 500 most impressive words...

    and if you had already done that ..then the best you can do is to go through some international magazines and newspapers as they also use some very new international words and then you can browse Internet or may be this forum for there meanings and synonyms..and similarly you can also follow the international news channels as they also used high power vocabulary ..this small steps will make your personalty different from others..believe me i had also used these techniques and today i had gained a lot...

    Happy leaning ...Thanks
    David.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    Another way is to read a lot and when you come to a word you don't know, look it up. This is supposed to also help with grammar and recollection abilities.

  10. #10
    younghermes is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Best way to increase your vocabulary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Golferman View Post
    Another way is to read a lot and when you come to a word you don't know, look it up. This is supposed to also help with grammar and recollection abilities.
    I agree with the above statement, by reading a lot you will also see how certain words are used within sentences. This will give you an idea of when a certain vocabulary should and can be used. Another method I find very effective is listening to informative audio-books, news on the radio or talk shows dealing with important matters.

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