Having a wide vocabulary is one of the many life skills that will take you to wherever you want to go. From job interviews to presenting yourself in the best light possible, down to just having an ace on word games, knowing words and their meanings will not only make yourself look smarter, but it will also get you the best grades when you’re a student.
For a working writer, improving your vocabulary is an important part of the job. No self-respecting writer of any kind will want to have the exact words they need for a sentence they’re writing. So if you want to take your vocabulary to the next level, here are a couple of things you need to do:
Download and Install Word Games
Scrabble, Boggle, Word Tower, etc. There are a number of games that you can download on your smartphone to test your vocabulary. Find a game that you like, then play it constantly and make it more challenging by using Tomato timer. Choose something competitive like the official Scrabble game. You play with your friends or random people on the internet. It’s fun and will sharpen your vocabulary.
Boggle, for example, pits you with its millions of users, and your wordplay is judged based on everyday performance. Scrabble, on the other hand, lets you take your time when it’s your turn to put words on the board. This way, you can strategize on how to go about your move, even consult a scrabble word finder if you deem it fit.
Read, Read, Read
Even if you’re not a writer, reading every day is a great way to deepen your relationship with words and how they’re used. Read the newspaper, or since everything is online nowadays, you can browse news websites. It’s also a great idea to have a book to read every night before bed. It can be any book – romance, lifestyle, food, etc. Choose the one that you enjoy the most, and just read.
Contrary to popular beliefs, mindless reading is still a prolific way to increase your vocabulary. When you read something, your mind gets engrossed in what you’re reading, and the neurons in your brain will associate words that you read to actual life scenarios that have happened to you. How the characters react to a certain situation – you can then use it in real life!
Make it a Point to Learn a New Word Every Day
As a child, we learn so many words in our development naturally that we don’t even notice it. When we become adults, this process slows down to a halt, and while it’s a natural progression of things, when you want to take your vocabulary to the next level, make it a point to have an encounter with a new word every day.
It will keep your vocabulary in tip-top shape. And once you have it down, you can easily pull it out of your system when the right time comes. There are applications that you can use for this. For example, the official Merriam-Webster app has a feature that delivers you a new word to learn every 24 hours. Please take advantage of it.
Try to use more specific words
One of the healthier ways to widen your vocabulary is by looking up a specific word that you don’t understand while you’re reading it. When you do this, you associate the word’s meaning to the context of the situation you’re reading. As a result, the brain makes that connection, and when the next time you find yourself in a similar situation, it will automatically trigger a word reaction!
In your everyday life, try to speak specific words. Make it a habit not to go by the standard responses for common situations. For example, when you’re frustrated with somebody and is telling your friend at the end of the day what happened, don’t relay that the person “made you so angry,” say “you’re infuriated with them.”
Incorporating the exact words of what you really mean in the language that you use every day will help you retain those words in the active cache of your brain. This means that your mind will have a ready word for you for any situation you may find yourself in.
Learn big words, but use them sparingly
Every writer has a phase in their writing that’s heavily focused on using the most highfalutin words in their vocabulary. While it is fun to know words that are usually not used in everyday exchanges, only use them sparingly in real life. Apply this to your writing as well. It pays more to be understood than to be revered.
Improving your vocabulary is a lifelong journey. You should learn new words and their meanings every day, use them in contexts they aren’t used before, and associate them with other words in the English language. Be proactive with how you go about this – take a look at the tricks above and implement those which apply to you.