This article is about how to improve your vocabulary and learn new words.
1. Read, read, and read. The more you read -- especially novels and literary works, but also magazines and newspapers -- the more words you'll be exposed to. As you read and uncover new words, use a combination of attempting to derive meaning from the context of the sentence as well as from looking up the definition in a dictionary.
2. Keep a dictionary and thesaurus handy. Use whatever versions you prefer -- in print, software, or online. When you uncover a new word, look it up in the dictionary to get both its pronunciation and its meaning(s). Next, go to the thesaurus and find similar words and phrases -- and their opposites (synonyms and antonyms, respectively) -- and learn the nuances among the words.
3. Use a journal. It's a good idea to keep a running list of the new words you discover so that you can refer back to the list and slowly build them into your everyday vocabulary. Plus, keeping a journal of all your new words can provide positive reinforcement for learning even more words -- especially when you can see how many new words you've already learned.
4. Learn a word a day. Using a word-a-day calendar or Website -- or developing your own list of words to learn -- is a great technique many people use to learn new words. This approach may be too rigid for some, so even if you do use this method, don't feel you must learn a new word every day. (Find some word-a-day Websites at the end of this article.)
5. Go back to your roots. One of the most powerful tools for learning new words -- and for deciphering the meaning of other new words -- is studying Latin and Greek roots. Latin and Greek elements (prefixes, roots, and suffixes) are a significant part of the English language and a great tool for learning new words.
6. Play some games. Word games that challenge you and help you discover new meanings and new words are a great and fun tool in your quest for expanding your vocabulary. Examples include crossword puzzles, anagrams, word jumble, Scrabble, and Boggle. (Find some word-game Websites at the end of this article.)
7. Engage in conversations. Simply talking with other people can help you learn, discover new words. As with reading, once you hear a new word, remember to jot it down so that you can study it later -- and then slowly add the new word to your vocabulary.