5 Short Steps to Improve Your Vocabulary
We all know that learning vocabulary is crucial on our road to master English.
However, it can be difficult to do so indeed.
I remember there was a time when I did terribly at English. I lacked the ability to express whatever I wanted to say or write, and often relied on words I was more familiar with but did not sufficiently express what I intended to express. I felt helpless.
But by reading great writings in books and magazines, I learnt more words and grew my vocabulary. In fact, from that process, I organically developed my own method to improve my vocabulary.
Eventually, it became a 5-step process to improving vocabulary in a sustained and consistent way.
Let me show it to you now.
Step 1 – Decide on the goal you want to achieve. Since there is an almost limitless number of English words you can learn, you want to learn the most important words to you first, before moving on to the next most important group of words. So decide what you want to learn. This also helps you remain focused and avoid feeling overwhelmed by learning words that may not help you directly at all.
For example, you may be intending to become a fiction writer. Then you will want to learn words about emotions, personality and physical characteristics of people. Or you may be interested to become a botanist. Then you want to learn words related to physical characteristics of plants or trees, as well as technical words used in botany.
Step 2 – Read books, magazines, articles, or any forms of writing that cover the field related to the goal you want to achieve.
If you want to write professional emails, for example, read other people’s professional emails. You may find them by doing a Google search for examples of these emails.
Step 3 – Take notes of words you don’t understand or want to use in your own writing.
Going back to the same example, when you read a professional email and encounter the word ‘peruse’, which you don’t understand, take note of it!
Step 4 – Check the dictionary definition of these words, ideally 1 or 2 a day. This should be self-explanatory. Read the definitions of words you want to learn, and remember them.
Step 5 – Finally, form a sentence on your own using the 1 or 2 words you learnt each day! In this way, you actively apply the new word you want to learn, effectively adding it into your working vocabulary.
For example, once you understand the definition of the word ‘peruse’, you may form a sentence on your own using this word: “Let us peruse this report before making any decisions.”
Try this 5-step method to improve your vocabulary and see how it goes for you!