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A simple strategy of how to expand vocabulary
It is a natural desire to expand ones vocabulary as a bigger supply of words increases the chances of succeeding in your studies, career and even personal relationships. Even if you don’t see yourself as a brilliant public speaker or highly articulate person, it is important to develop the skills of using the right words under different circumstances.
Imagine your vocabulary divided into three groups: a) the words you are absolutely comfortable with – you know their meaning and frequently use them in everyday conversations, correspondence and inner monologues; b) the words you often come upon in books and speech of other people – intuitively you can guess their meaning, but you hesitate when it comes to using them; c) completely unfamiliar words; you do not understand their meaning and have no clue how they could be used.
Try to visualize these categories as three air balloons of different sizes. Which one is the smallest? In case it’s balloon number one, your goal is to pump it until it is bigger than other two categories.
In order to expand vocabulary you should set a certain target. For example, two words a day. Of course, with time you can increase this number. You will need to keep a notebook (or a special file in your laptop) to write down the unfamiliar words you heard or read in the course of a day. Do not ignore the new words you come across in conversations with your family, friends and colleagues, in TV programs, radio, newspapers, textbooks, comics, novels and so on.
It will be easier to expand vocabulary if you write down not only the words alone, but the whole sentences in which they were used: context is something that should never be ignored. When you have time, consult the dictionary in order to find the words you do not know. Pay attention at the words with the same root: after you understand the meaning of a noun, it will be easier to memorize adjectives and verbs from the same word family.
Do not forget to use Thesaurus to see the words that mean the same or almost the same. Generally speaking, using Thesaurus is one of the best methods to expand vocabulary. Also, if you find yourself revealing enough linguistic interest, you can use different online tools to see the synonyms and antonyms of the word you did not know. Perhaps it would be interesting to find out its origin as well.
Of course, this process will require patience, purposefulness and time, but in any case there is no need to hurry: improving your language skills and expanding vocabulary is a life long process. Working in this direction, you will be able to improve not only your vocabulary, but the quality of life as well.