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How do I increase my Vocabulary?

With all the words that are in the English language, the question of how to increase your vocabulary is a lifetime task to answer. This doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily difficult, only that you can keep adding words to your verbal ‘palette’ and never run out of new ‘colors’ that you might want to add to your conversation. Just consider the number of words that you’ll find in the English language – did you know that they number nearly 500,000? Of course, no one can hope to know more than a fraction of that figure in a lifetime, but the important thing is that you don’t have to.

When you ask, ‘How do I increase my vocabulary?’ you need to remember that even those who put the dictionary together probably don’t have a working, everyday knowledge of more than about 30,000 words. And more than that really isn’t necessary, as most of the words in a dictionary are rarely used ones that either are nearly out of practical use or else ones that just about nobody would understand if you did use them. Remember that the purpose of a language is to communicate, not to confuse.

That said, it were best to concentrate of acquiring those words that would most help you to make yourself clearly understood, instead of merely trying to acquire words at random. For example did you know that most of the books in the English language use just about five thousand words or so? Or that most university graduates rarely command a vocabulary of more than seventeen thousand? On the other hand, if expanding your vocabulary is a hobby, of course you can acquire all the words that you please, and more power to you. In such a case the question of how to increase your vocabulary hardly arises – you’ll find that it increases quite naturally.

The best way to build up that vocabulary is by regularly perusing texts that are challenging to your vocabulary. There’s absolutely no point (from the vocabulary-building point of view) in reading a text that can be contained within your vocabulary. You quite simply won’t learn any new words. Remember, when you’re actively seeking to answer the question, ‘How do I increase my Vocabulary?’ you need to seek out texts that are related to your interests, hobbies or work, and which contain a few extra words.

Don’t go in for texts of immense complexity in which you will have to consult a dictionary every few paragraphs. Instead, try to find a work that is almost at your level of understanding, only slightly higher. And the reason I asked you to select a work from an area of interest is that if you do you will probably find words that you can use right away in everyday life, vastly increasing your power of self-expression, which is exactly the right reason to expand your vocabulary.







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