Building Vocabulary

Do you want to expand your vocabulary so you can more clearly express yourself? Here are five ideas for making your quest for word mastery productive and interesting too.

  • Get a good dictionary and use it. You want one of those really big, fat dictionaries which have a large selection of the over one million possible English words. When you encounter a word you haven’t seen before, look it up. It sounds so obvious, but most of us try to divine word meanings from their context in the sentence. We might miss the definition entirely or not capture its nuances. It is worth the effort to look up the word.
  • Do the Word Play section of the Reader’s Digest magazine. Each issue has 20 interesting words to learn.
  • Check out the following websites for daily vocabulary quizzes and articles:
    1. Encarta Englishtown
    2. Encarta Dictionary
    3. Language Monitor
  • Use index cards to make flashcards of the new words you are learning. Quiz yourself with the cards several times a day (in the bathroom, while you ride the bus, while you wait in line, etc.).
  • Read about things that interest you. You enjoy what you are reading and learn new words as you explore new topics and authors.

By practicing the ideas above, you’ll soon have mastered a bevy of new words.

Other Articles of Interest

Visit our Reference Desk page for a complete listing of articles and worksheets.