Learning English communication skills and vocabulary is a daunting task for every one, especially whose mother tongue is not English. So, here are 10 easy ways to improve your English vocabulary and to make the difficult task easy.
1. Surround Yourself with English:
Do you know the popular saying
“Burn your boats”.
When Alexander the great invaded Persia, he ordered his men to burn their boats.
He said to the puzzled soldiers “We go home in Persian ships, or we die”.
Now they are left with only one choice….they must win the battle.
If you have two choices, you try to choose which ever is easy and comfortable.
But when you are with only one choice and no alternative, you definitely struggle hard to go through the path.
This valuable saying can be applied in learning English vocabulary or communication skills also.
Surround yourself with everything that is English, no other language.
Stop reading news papers in your mother tongue, Read English news papers.
Stop watching news in your mother tongue, watch English news.
Stop speaking in your mother tongue, speak in English only.
Seems impossible !!!
Imagine a situation in which you are to share the companionship of some people who can speak only one language “English”.
What do you do?
Do you speak in English (may be faulty) ? Or do you use sign language?
I know what you do.
Surround yourself with everything that is in English. This certainly helps you improve your vocabulary.
2. Keep a Dictionary:
This is the basic fundamental advice any one can give you.
Keep a dictionary with you always. Besides the paperback edition, download a mobile app dictionary, so that it can be with you always.
But one most important thing.
You need not refer to it each and every time you come across a new word. Referring to it for every new word, kills your valuable time.
Whenever you find a new word, try to predict the meaning by understanding the context (situation). Now look into the dictionary to know the meaning. Most of the times, your prediction comes true. Your predictions may fail sometimes. But you can note down those words and learn them afterwards. Once you are habituated to this method you will go through any text without referring to dictionary.
Another thing is, a word may have different meanings in different contexts. So taking a word and learning all the meanings in different contexts, is a huge task and is hardly possible.
In the beginning, it is advisable to absorb what you can and leave what you can’t.
3. Repeat words frequently:
If you want to remember a word forever you need to use it often. You need to repeat it.
Or else you forget the word very soon.
So use the words you learnt just now, in your conversations.
Sometimes you may not find suitable situations to use the word. Still you have to find a way. Or stand in front of a mirror and use the word in an imaginary situation (preferably loudly).
4. Combine fun with learning:
Learning shouldn’t be boring.
You can learn vocabulary through different fun activities like
Word search puzzles (Example)
Crossword puzzles (Example)
Word games like Hangman
If you want to improve vocabulary of your kids, just ask them to write as many as possible words starting with a letter ( for instance, words starting with “S”). This kind of exercises certainly improve their vocabulary.
The good thing is, many such games are available as mobile apps, such as
5. Learn Root words to improve your Vocabulary:
Understanding root words (aka base words) makes your vocabulary improve quickly.
For instance, the meaning of the word AQUA is WATER.
So, if you know the meaning of AQUA, you can easily understand the meaning of other words based on this root word, like
your predictions may not be totally correct, but you can achieve perfection with practice. And soon you will always be successful, if you can identify the root word.
6. Learn 5 words everyday:
Self discipline is the crucial factor that can make an expert in English vocabulary. Try to inculcate the habit of learning 5 words every day. 5 words is not a rigid unit. You may increase or decrease the number as per your grasping efficiency.
Take a note book and write 5 new words with meanings.
Use one page for each day.
Do not forget to repeat the words as frequently as possible.
After six days, spend the seventh day, only for revising what you learnt so far.
Subscribe to some web services that send you new words everyday to your mail.
Advantages with this method.
- No need to maintain a note book.
- Access it anywhere (through mobile)
- If you feel necessary print out can be taken.
Few such services:
7. Learn from surroundings:
This is the most neglected method to learn vocabulary.
You are surrounded by so many things, products that can teach you many new words. The only thing you need to do, is keep concentrating on them.
For instance, look at this advertisement.
If you read carefully you can find many new words on different products and even on their advertisements.
8. Technology is your friend:
Fortunately, in these days, you have the best technological resources available to learn English vocabulary. Such as
A flash card is a set of cards containing information on either or both sides, used in learning new things. It has a new word on one side and the meaning on the other side. You can create your own flash cards or simply download other’s.
Flash cards can be found here.
Any thing that is learnt through visual media is remembered for ever. These web tools can help you learn visually.
vocabulary and pronunciation:
If you know and listen to the word, certainly you won’t forget it.
So listen to the pronunciation of every word at Howjsay.
If you feel necessary you can download and take prints of worksheets and puzzles from these sites.
And here is a visual quiz that can make learn new words instantly.
9. Read extensively:
This suggestion needs lot of time to implement but you will be benefited a lot in return .
Unless you associate a new word with its meaning, you tend to forget it within a short time. So try to associate the word with its meaning. If the association is visual and peculiar (odd) you can remember it for a longer period.