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Tips on How to Widen One’s Vocabulary

Having a wide vocabulary is always impressive. But it is not only its impressiveness that makes learning vocabulary words beneficial. Having a wide vocabulary helps you become more at ease with the language. It helps you understand things better, and it makes you smarter in general. It also helps you articulate things better, whether in conversation or in writing.

There are a lot of words in the dictionary, and it seems impossible for one person to know all of them. The good thing about this, however, is that you can always just continue learning more and more. Learning new words seems like a tedious task, but it will become easier if you keep your mind focused on your goal of widening your vocabulary. Here are some tips that can help you widen your vocabulary:

1. Read extensively.

Reading is a good way to learn new words you have never encountered before. Read anything that has valuable written text, from books to magazines and newspapers. Reading does not only allow you to encounter new words; it also gives you an idea about how to correctly use words according to context. When you are reading something, keep a dictionary by your side or list down words you don’t understand so you could try to learn them later.


2. Practice using new words you learn.

Memorizing vocabulary words regularly will not be of much help if you don’t practice using the words in conversation. The best way to be at ease with using new words is to try to look for the perfect chance to use them. This will make your new vocabulary words more easily instilled in your memory.


3. Familiarize yourself with root words and affixes.

Some words are easy to understand even when encountering them for the first time because of the way they are constructed. These are words with obvious root words and a prefix or suffix. If you are familiar with how words are constructed, it will be easier for you to understand their meaning even without checking the dictionary. This will also help you remember them easily and use them in your vocabulary.


4. Always refer to a dictionary or thesaurus.

It is important to keep a dictionary or thesaurus at hand, especially if you are studying or working in an industry that requires you to be familiar with language. Sometimes when reading, you see words you don’t understand; and because you have no dictionary at hand, you just ignore the word instead of trying to learn its meaning. When you are reading something, it is a must to have a dictionary or thesaurus with you so that you are always ready to look for words you can’t comprehend.

English dictionaries line shelves in the BYU library.

5. Remember that the context of the word in a sentence may help you understand its meaning.

When you encounter a word that you don’t know, sometimes you can understand its meaning just by checking the context of the sentence that it is a part of. Always be wary of context clues that would help you read with more comprehension. They will also help you recall words better because you already know how to use them.

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Cooke, Ed. “Word Up: How to Improve and Enlarge Your Vocabulary.” The Guardian. 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Aug. 2015. <>.


“Seven Tips for Learning New Words.” Easy Ways to Improve and Expand Your Vocabulary. Web. 15 Aug. 2015. <>.

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