How to expand your vocabulary

How to expand your vocabulary

The English language often lacks both rhyme and reason. It’s full of synonyms, homophones, homonyms, and other confusing words that seem to make it especially difficult to learn. Luckily, you can use the same five skills to improve your English vocabulary as you did when learning your first language: reading, listening, writing, watching, and conversing.


Reading is a wonderful way to learn new words. Because reading is a one-person activity, you can really take your time with a new word and work out its meaning and usage.

1 Popular literature

Reading illustrated books, such as comics and children’s books, will offer you graphical clues to help you learn new words. Plus, if you’re reading popular books, there’s a good chance that you can find a translation to your own language as well.

2 Relevant blog posts

Reading blog posts about subjects and hobbies you enjoy in English is a great way to familiarize yourself with new English words and will keep your interest.


Listening is how we first learn words as a child and can profoundly impact how we learn to pronounce and use new words. There are lots of ways to learn by listening.

3 Music

Music is a fun way to learn new words while immersing yourself in the popular culture of English-speaking countries. Find music in genres you like and listen along for words you know.

4 (Virtual) events

Attend events in English, like plays, sports matches, and exhibitions, to listen for new words.


In the age of the internet, writing has become essential to learning and using a new language. Because of the one-sided nature of writing, it’s helpful to have a digital writing assistant , like Grammarly, on your side to help your words flow easily.

5 Journaling

Keep a journal of your day in English. This is an easy way to incorporate new vocabulary into sentences and to check your understanding of any new words.

6 Vocabulary building

Learn to look for synonyms. If you want to expand your vocabulary, you’ll have to push yourself to use new words. Grammarly has a feature that can help you learn new synonyms and find just the right word to communicate effectively.


Learn how a new word is used by watching someone use it in context. You’ll learn about the different contexts that may surround a new word as well as the gestures and mannerisms that often accompany it.

7 Movies and TV

Watching movies is a casual way to learn words. Similar to reading illustrated books, you get the perk of visual cues, while also benefiting from hearing how the word is usually pronounced. Tip: Combine your listening and reading skills by turning on the closed captioning in English, which can be a helpful way to visualize the words being spoken aloud.

8 People-watching

Watch people conversing around you in the world. How are they using their words? What can you learn about the words they’re using by observing the relationships of the people and their mannerisms?


Now it’s time to take your new words for a test drive. Conversing allows you to gain valuable input on your word usage and pronunciation while expanding your vocabulary.

9 Fluent speakers

Host a (virtual!) game night or dinner for your fluent-English-speaking friends and colleagues. Ask them for feedback on your pronunciation and language use.

10 Fellow English learners

Learn from other learners. Join a study group or meet with other local people learning English. Make a commitment to only speak English when this group meets.

A large lexicon helps open our minds, says the memory coach Ed Cooke. Below, try his online word quiz for fun

A large vocabulary is ‘a gift that never stops giving’. Photograph: Alamy Photograph: Alamy

A large vocabulary is ‘a gift that never stops giving’. Photograph: Alamy Photograph: Alamy

Last modified on Wed 20 Sep 2017 12.08 BST

T he most common question that people ask our team at Memrise is: can you help me learn a foreign language? A vocabulary rich in French or Chinese words is indispensable for speaking those languages fluently, and the quickest route to competence.

But we can be guilty of neglecting our own language. A large native vocabulary is a gift that doesn’t stop giving. It improves our powers of expression and comprehension, and opens the imagination.

Words define the shape and scope of our understanding. Learn a word such as “aglet”, the little plastic end to a shoelace, and you’ll be better able to recognise and enjoy something familiar and unremarkable. Learn the word “tarantism”, a disorder characterised by the uncontrollable urge to dance, and you’ll gain the ability to recognise and describe a trait in yourself or a friend. And, of course, words such as these are simply fun to know.

Learning vocab can, however, be tricky. If we don’t know the best way to retain new words, we can forget what we’ve learned.

I like to think of the mind as a garden. Each new word begins life as a seed. It needs to take root, and will die without attention early on. In this way, expanding your vocabulary is a long-term activity that depends on good habits and sensible practice.

Here are my tips on how to enlarge your vocabulary.

Little and often

The first rule of learning is do it in small chunks. Brief bursts are better than one long blast. During a break of only an hour, the brain assimilates new connections, then is ready for more.

Three words a day is a good number to aim for in a busy life. It’s best to collect words from your reading, and add them to a wordbook or a list on an app such as Memrise.

Make connections

Memories are connections. So when you’re learning a new word, you want to make sure it’s connected to those you already know. What does the word “tarantism” remind you of? Tarantula? Tarantino? Your friend Tara? The link doesn’t matter, it’s only important that there is one.

Take two other words you might not have heard before: nivial and callipygian. Before you know their meaning, ask yourself: what do these words make me think of? What do they resemble?

With a long word like callipygian, you might want to break it into parts.

Visual association

The next step is to connect the sound to the meaning. This is best done with a vivid visual image. A strong image sticks in the mind for a long time. For example: to link “tarantism” to its meaning, imagine Quentin Tarantino dancing manically: this vivid image should lastingly connect the concept of manic dancing with the word.

Nivial might have reminded you of the brand Nivea. It means “growing among snow”. So to remember it, you could imagine a bottle of hand cream protruding from some snow.

Callipygian means having well-shaped buttocks, but sounds like “call a pigeon”. Imagining seeing a pert bird in Trafalgar Square.

Active usage and recall

The more a memory is used, the more it will endure. So my fourth tip is to engage in active repetition and usage. This is where you get to play with your new words.

Next time you go dancing, for example, think of Quentin Tarantino there with you, going wild on the dance floor, and you’ll remember “tarantism”.

It’s absolutely fine, indeed recommended, to over-use the word, to abuse your new knowledge. What do you think of polar bears? “They’re nivial.” Of George Clooney? “Callipygian.” You look restless today? “Don’t worry, that’s just the tarantism coming on.” You see someone tying their shoelaces: “nice aglets”.

Words to learn

Try adding these to your vocabulary – how will you make them memorable?

twyndyllyngs (TWIN-dilingz): twins (obsolete, from the Welsh)

apricity (ah-PRI-ci-tee): the warmth of the sun in the cold winter

snollygoster (SNOL·ly·gos·ter): someone guided by personal advantage, esp politicians

princox (PRIN-koks): a self-confident young fellow (used in Romeo and Juliet)

novercal (NO–ver–cal): of, relating to, or characteristic of a stepmother

yclept (IH–klept): by the name of, as in “a man yclept Ed”

hodiernal (ho–di-ER–nal): relating to the present day (from the Latin)

snicket (SNICK–it): a narrow passage between houses, an alley

tresaiel (TRE–sayle) a great-great-grandfather (legal term)

syzygy (SIZ-uh–jee): the straight alignment of three celestial bodies

Test yourself

Nivial, aglet, callipygian and tarantism were among 50 words suggested by the Memrise community as their favourites in the English language.

See if you can learn and remember them with this online course to help you learn and remember these 50 words for fun. Memrise is designed to assist you with all of the components of memory mentioned in this article, including repetition, testing, usage and associations. The 50 words will take you perhaps an hour of play to learn, and you’ll emerge with an invigorated sense of the beauty and fun of the world. Enjoy!

This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.

How to expand your vocabulary

A dictionary for learning

Whether you’re looking up a specific word or just browsing, you’ll find a universe of friendly explanations and fun activities designed to educate and entertain.

A scientific and fun way to improve vocabulary

Play games and compete in activities on your own or with participants from around the globe. With our advanced teaching algorithm and study tools, get ready for your vocabulary to expand!

How to expand your vocabulary

A better way to teach words

Engage your students with a fast-paced Vocab Jam, assign ready-made word lists for thousands of books and topics, and more!

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How to expand your vocabulary

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How to expand your vocabulary

I see enhancing the vocabulary of students as essential in this knowledge-based economy.

How to expand your vocabulary

There are many ways to improve your vocabulary. When working to do so, it’s important to know your goals in order to best choose the way in which you want to learn. For instance, reading can be a great way to improve your vocabulary, but it won’t be much help on a vocabulary test next week. Here are a number of methods to help you improve and expand your English vocabulary.

Synonyms and Antonyms

A synonym is a word that has a similar meaning. An antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning. When learning new vocabulary, try to find at least two synonyms and two antonyms for each word. This is especially important when learning adjectives or adverbs.

Use a Thesaurus

A thesaurus is a reference book that provides synonyms and antonyms. Used by writers to help find just the right word, a thesaurus can also help English learners expand their vocabulary. You can use an online thesaurus which makes finding a synonym easier than ever.

Vocabulary Trees

Vocabulary trees help provide context. Once you’ve mapped out a few vocabulary trees, you’ll discover yourself thinking in vocabulary groups. When you see a cup your mind will quickly relate such words as knife, fork, plate, dishes, etc.

Create Vocabulary Themes

Create a list of vocabulary themes and include a definition and an example sentence for each new item. Learning by theme emphasizes words that are related. This will help you memorize new vocabulary because of the connections between these words and your chosen theme.

Use Technology to Help You

Watching movies or sitcoms is a great way to help you understand native speakers of English. Use the options of watching individual scenes to make DVD use into a vocabulary learning exercise. For example, watch one scene from a movie in English only. Next, watch the same scene in your native language. After that, watch the same scene in English with subtitles. Finally, watch the scene in English without subtitles. By watching the scene four times and using your own language to help, you’ll pick up a lot of idiomatic language.

Specific Vocabulary Lists

Rather than studying a long list of unrelated vocabulary, use specific vocabulary lists to help you prepare for the type of vocabulary you need for work, school, or hobbies. These business vocabulary word lists are great for industry-specific vocabulary items.

Word Formation Charts

Word formation refers to the form a word takes. For example, the word satisfaction has four forms:

Noun: satisfaction –> The satisfaction of a job well done is worth the effort.
Verb: satisfy –> Taking this course will satisfy your degree requirements.
Adjective: satisfying / satisfied –> I found the dinner very satisfying.
Adverb: satisfyingly –> His mother smiled satisfyingly as her son won the award.

Word formation is one of the keys to success for advanced level ESL learners. Advanced level English exams such as the TOEFL, First Certificate CAE, and Proficiency use word formation as one of the key testing elements. These word formation charts provide the concept noun, personal noun, adjective, and verb forms of key vocabulary listed in alphabetical order.

Research Specific Positions

A great place to start learning vocabulary for a specific job is the Occupational Outlook Handbook. At this site, you will find detailed descriptions of specific positions. Use these pages to take note of key vocabulary related to the profession. Next, use this vocabulary and write your own description of your position.

Visual Dictionaries

A picture is worth a thousand words. It’s also very helpful for learning precise vocabulary. There are a number of excellent English learner visual dictionaries for sale. Here is an online version of a visual dictionary dedicated to jobs.

Learn Collocations

Collocations refer to words that often or always go together. A good example of a collocation is do your homework. Collocations can be learned through the use of corpora. Corpora are huge collections of documents that can track the number of times a word is used. Another alternative is to use a collocation dictionary. This is especially helpful when focusing on business English.

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6 ways you can expand your English vocabulary

How to expand your vocabulary

A wide vocabulary will help you to express your thoughts and ideas more clearly when you communicate in English. It can make a difference if you’re taking an English exam, or applying for a job where English is uased as the main language of communication. Follow our 6 tips to help you expand your vocabulary today!

1. Read books
Reading is a great place to start if you’re looking to expand your vocabulary. Don’t think you can only read books, try reading newspapers, magazines and blogs around topics you’re interested in. If you don’t have a lot of free time for reading, try downloading a news app on your phone and read on your commute or lunch break for a few minutes every day.

2. Take notes
English is everywhere – from billboards to street signs and everywhere in between! If you come across a words you don’t recognise, write it down to research it later. This is a great way to discover both common and more unusual words.

3. Pocket dictionary or phone app
If you’re not much of a note-taker then think about carrying a pocket dictionary or installing a dictionary app on your phone. This way you can quickly look up new words wherever you are.

4. Use them!
Discovering new words can feel like a real achievement but they won’t stay in your memory for very long unless you start to use them. Lots of websites show you example sentences using the word you’re searching for, helping you to understand it in context and helping you to find ways to use it in conversation. is a great example.

5. Learn a word a day – or nominate a word of the day
Try to learn a new world every day. Most of us use smartphones, and there a a number of great apps to help you expand your vocabulary:

6. Vocabulary webs – make groups of useful words that link together, helping you to identify related words that might be useful in conversation. See our example below:

Easy Ways to Improve and Expand Your Vocabulary:
Seven Tips for Learning New Words

Communicate (speak and write) more clearly and concisely using these seven tips for learning new words. easy ways to improve and expand your vocabulary.

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Looking for tips for improving your vocabulary? Whether you are trying to strengthen and broaden your vocabulary for school or personal growth, the key is a commitment to regularly learning new words.

Why expand your knowledge and use of words? You’ll be able to communicate (speak and write) more clearly and concisely, people will understand you more easily, and you will increase the perception (and reality) that you are an intelligent person. Besides, learning new words is a fun activity — and one you can even do with the people around you. Challenge a friend, family member, or roommate to learn new words with you.

This article reviews seven easy ways 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. (Follow these links for the sections of this site that provide English Vocabulary Derived from Latin and English Vocabulary Derived from Greek.)

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.

Final Thoughts On Improving and Expanding Your Vocabulary

Finally, remember that you must practice putting your new words into your writing and speaking or risk not retaining them in your brain. Use repetition exercises when you first learn a word — and consider other learning techniques, such as index cards, recording yourself reciting your words, association games, and mnemonics.

Some Vocabulary Tools/Websites

See also this article on our sister site, 10 Ways to Build and Use Your Vocabulary.

How to expand your vocabulary Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder of and CEO of, has been empowering people his entire adult life — to help them better their lives. In fact, empowerment is part of his professional philosophy statement. He is also founder He is a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit him at Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus.

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Building a strong vocabulary over time can allow you to better communicate your thoughts, verbally or in writing, to avoid confusion and achieve clarity. You can build your vocabulary skills by identifying a learning technique that works for you and continually practicing.

In this article, we discuss the importance of vocabulary skills and how you can build a more expansive vocabulary.

Why is a strong vocabulary important?

You need good communication skills to work effectively with others in person, through email or by other means. Knowing which words to use and when is an important part of being a strong communicator. Building your vocabulary is one easy way to improve your communication skills. Having a large vocabulary can help you choose the right word or phrase needed for the situation, allowing you to easily convey your ideas, concerns, decisions and more.

A strong vocabulary can also increase your confidence and your ability to express yourself, whether you’re giving a presentation or meeting with a client to deliver a proposal. When building your vocabulary, it is important to incorporate both general terms and those related to your industry to develop a solid foundation.

How to improve your vocabulary and writing skills

You can try these ideas to build your vocabulary:

1. Learn the roots of words

To build a strong foundation for your vocabulary, it’s helpful to understand the roots of words. Many words have a common root and a prefix or suffix that helps you determine what the meaning might be. For example, when a word includes the root “duc,” a Latin word that means “to make or lead,” you can assume that the root refers to that Latin definition. You’ll see this root in words like “produce” or “deduce.”

2. Focus on practical terms and words

Some industries have different definitions for words or use entirely new words, which is called jargon. If your coworkers and others in your field use technical jargon, try focusing on building your vocabulary to incorporate these words. For example, some industries use the word “stand-up” to mean a short daily meeting.

You can also look for clearer ways to express yourself instead of relying on cliches that may be difficult for others to understand or skew your meaning. For example, instead of saying “get your foot in the door,” you could use “expand your opportunities.”

3. Create word associations

Word associations can help you remember certain words or phrases. For example, the word “gargantuan” means very large. Try creating a sequence with the word, such as tiny, small, medium, large, giant and gargantuan. Forming associations can help you recall words you’re learning with more ease. These associations can also ensure you remember the word long term.

4. Complete regular vocabulary tests

At the end of each week, create a quiz that includes the vocabulary words, root words or other language aspects that you’ve been studying. Taking a quiz or test can increase your ability to retain new words. Every time you learn a new root or word, create a flashcard. On one side of the card, write the word, and on the opposite side, write the definition. You can practice recalling the definition from the words and vice versa.

5. Take a writing class

As you build your vocabulary, you can also improve your writing skills, which will benefit you in your professional life. Take a writing course online or at a local adult educational institution that incorporates assignments and tests to help you boost your ability to communicate effectively through writing. If you complete a writing class, take notes on any new words you learn throughout the course.

6. Create groups of words

As you learn new words, you can group them together by meaning. By creating these groups, you can identify patterns that make it easier to incorporate the words into your daily speech. For example, you might learn words like affirmative, efficacious and decisive, which all mean positive. By grouping these words together, it becomes easier to recall their general meanings and how to use them in speech.

7. Identify word nuances

Some words have alternate definitions in different contexts. An example of nuance is the word “frame,” which could have several meanings depending on the scenario. A frame could be a border that surrounds a picture or window, or it could mean to outline or highlight a certain physical quality. Identifying and understanding these nuances in language will help you better know how to use the words you’ve learned in your communication with others.

8. Identify words that share meanings

Different words often share the same or similar meaning. You can create a list of word groups to help you construct new and unique statements in your writing and speech. Some words have similar meanings but don’t always substitute for one another, so it’s helpful to review definitions of similar words before using them. By varying the word choices in your communication, you’ll sound more polished and professional.

9. Diversify what you read

Most people spend at least some of their time reading every day. Diversifying your reading choices can help you build a stronger vocabulary since you see new words from different writers who have varying writing patterns. Adding new texts and options to your reading list can also help.

10. Edit what you write

When you finish writing any professional text, such as an email or cover letter, review your content for repetitive words or phrases. Consider using your expanded vocabulary to replace words you used frequently throughout the document. By editing your own writing, you can improve clarity, style and tone.

Want to know how to improve your vocabulary? Vocabulary is one of the keys to speaking fluent English. Even if your grammar is perfect, if you don’t know the correct words to express yourself in English, you will find it difficult to speak fluently. Luckily, improving your vocabulary is one of the most fun aspects of learning English. Follow these ten top tips to improve your English vocabulary and see how fun and productive your study time can be.

1. Connect

It’s easier to memorize words based on a common theme. Make your own connections between words and possibly organize them in a spider diagram or on the same pages of your notebook. The theme might be a topic or situation (Eg. words for talking about food), phrasal verbs using a common word (Eg. phrasal verbs containing the word ‘get’) or words that have a grammar point in common (Eg. verbs that take a gerund).

2. Write

Actually using vocabulary can help it stick in your mind. Write sentences with new vocabulary words or compose a story using a group of words or expressions. If you are out and about, you can make the example sentences in your mind if you don’t have a pen and paper handy.

3. Draw

Become an artist by drawing pictures related to the words you study. Your drawings can help trigger your memory in the future. This works really well for (visual learners [link to article on learning styles]) and even if you are not a great artist, a drawing can often help fix a word or idiom in your memory.

4. Act

Get your moves on by acting out words and expressions you learn. Or, imagine and act out a situation where you would need to use them. If you have a (study partner[link to tips article that contains this tip]) act out a word or expression from your notebook and see if he or she can guess what it it then swap over and try to guess what your partner is acting out. If you are alone, use a mirror and pretend you are having a conversation with someone using your new vocabulary.

5. Create

Design flash cards or (index cards [link to blog article on this topic]) in English and study them in your spare time. Each week make new ones, but continue to review all of them. The act of making them yourself will help you remember the words if you are a (kinesthetic learner[link to post on learning styles here]).

6. Associate

Assign different colors to different words. This association will help you recall vocabulary later. To prevent the system from becoming confusing make sure you have a consistent theme. For example, you could use different colours for verbs, nouns and adjectives.

7. Listen

Use resources like English news broadcasts to hear new words in context. This will help you understand the pronunciation of words and how to use them in real sentences.

8. Choose

Remember that topics that interest you will be easier to learn. Therefore, carefully select words that you will find useful or interesting. Choose topics that relate to your life at the moment to make the words you learn more relevant. For example, if you have a meeting next week, learn some English vocabulary to use in meetings. Even if you don’t use English in the actual meeting, connecting the words to a real situation will help you remember them.

9. Limit

Don’t try to memorize the dictionary in a day! Limit yourself to 15 words per day to avoid feeling overwhelmed and you will be more successful in remembering the vocabulary.

10. Observe

Keep an eye out for the words you’re studying when reading or listening to English. Make a note of real-life examples of the words you are learning as you see them to find out how to use the words correctly. Don’t just make a note of the individual word, though – the words around it are just as important, especially for learning common collocations.

Remember, you don’t need to use all the tips above, just choose the ones that work best for you. We all learn differently so tips that work well for you might not work so well for other people. Whichever tips you use, make sure to keep a record of the new words you learn so you can track your progress and, most importantly, remember to have fun improving your English vocabulary!

How to expand your vocabulary

Concordia University Texas prepares students with the knowledge and skills they need for meaningful work. Regardless of vocation, your vocabulary is important because it impacts how you communicate with others.

Here are 15 words to learn that will expand your vocabulary and improve your communication skills.


When used as an adjective, “adept” means very skilled or expert.

Example: He is an adept Accounting student .

As a noun, “adept” refers to a person who is skilled or expert at something.

Example: He is adept at accounting .


As an adjective, “articulate” refers to a person who can speak clearly and effectively.

Example: The articulate presenters at the IncubatorCTX Speaker Series provide attendees with valuable insights .

As a verb, it refers to the act of expressing an idea or feeling with clarity.

Example: The student was able to articulate her findings in the essay .


“Candor” is a noun that refers to honesty, being truthful and sincere.

Example: I appreciate my professor’s candor regarding my paper. Now I know the areas in which I can improve .


The word “conducive” is an adjective that means to help make an outcome possible.

Example: Concordia’s small class sizes are conducive to class discussions .


“Deference” is a noun that means respectful submission to or courteous regard for another person.

Example: Children, regardless of age, should treat their father and mother with deference .


“Egregious” is an adjective that means extremely bad, horrifying or appalling.

Example: In history class, we studied the egregious acts of dictators who gained power in socialist and communist countries .


As a verb, “entail” means to involve something necessary or require.

Example: Successful completion of the degree entails coursework, exams and presentations .


“Facilitate” is a verb that means to make something easier.

Example: The professor’s real-world examples facilitate my comprehension of core business principles .

“Gist” is a noun that refers to the essential meaning of speech or text.

Example: Her executive summary helps readers understand the gist of the report .


“Knack” is a noun that refers to a special skill an individual possesses that is difficult to teach.

Example: He has a knack for helping others understand complex business principles .


When used as an adjective, “novel” means new and innovative.

Example: Concordia’s outdoor classrooms offer a novel approach to learning .


“Obsolete” is an adjective that describes something that is no longer produced or used.

Example: DVDs are quickly becoming obsolete; streaming is now the new standard for watching movies and television shows .


As an adjective, “paramount” means more important than anything else or chief in importance.

Example: The paramount goal of every student is to earn a degree .


The verb “reinforce” means to strengthen and add support.

Example: The survey reinforced the conclusion that more students are choosing to take classes online .


The adjective “tremendous” means extraordinary in size, amount, intensity or excellence.

Example: They spent tremendous time studying for the final .

Looking to fine-tune your communication skills? Concordia’s Speaking Center offers free coaching for all forms of oral communication, and the Writing Center offers support at all phases of the writing process.

These apps will grow your vocabulary in a minute or two a day. And they’re fun.

How to expand your vocabulary

Would you like a bigger vocabulary? If you’re like most people, the answer is yes. Then again, if you’re like most people, you don’t have the free time to enroll in a course or work your way through the dictionary.

But you can use your smartphone as a powerful tool to learn new words, increase your vocabulary and strengthen your command of the English language without devoting blocks of time to the task. These apps make learning new words painless or even fun, and all you need is a minute or two at a time while drinking your morning coffee or waiting in line. (Unless noted otherwise, these apps are available for both iOS and Android devices.) Note: Here is a more up-to-date list of vocabulary apps.


This combined learning tool and game allows you to either learn and retain words you choose or words the app chooses for you. The website uses algorithms to customize questions and exercises just for you. There’s also an Android app available.

2. Magoosh Vocabulary Builder

This quiz app is specifically aimed at improving scores on the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) used for entry to graduate schools. Magoosh is an online prep company that helps graduate school applicants do better on the GRE and other exams.

3. A Word A Day Widget

A Word A Day Widget puts a new vocabulary word on your device’s home screen every day. Android only, but for iOS, try Word of the Day.

5. 7 Little Words

This fun little vocabulary game gives you seven definitions and tiles with combinations of two or three letters on them that you have to arrange into the seven words. You learn as you narrow down your choices from words you do know to words you don’t. I’ll admit to having played many rounds of 7 Little Words myself.

6. Word to Word

This clever word association game offers you lists of words and challenges you to find the connections between them. They could be synonyms or antonyms, related words (such as “scurvy” and “liver”) or elements in common phrases. Word to Word is simple to play but looks addictive to me. Available at the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

7. Words with Friends

This highly successful game from Zynga (the company behind Farmville) has been around for years and still appeals. (I’m a recent convert myself.) Because the only way to win is to find uncommon words, Words with Friends forces you to learn new words although not ones you’re likely to find on a GRE exam. Plus, it’s a nice way to stay in touch with distant friends. Available for Windows Phone as well as iOS and Android.

8. Penny Dell Crosswords

Doing crosswords is a great way to increase your vocabulary and Penny Dell Crosswords offers a free daily puzzle. But there are many other crossword app options out there, including the venerable and challenging New York Times crosswords, if you’re willing to pay for the subscription. Doing a crossword puzzle on a mobile device can be a lot more appealing than doing one with a pencil or pen–no worries about illegible letters or having to erase a wrong answer.

So pick an app, download it and get playing. Your vocabulary will be bigger before you know it.

Extent: 224 pages

Publication Date: 22/03/2018

About the Book

The Oxford English Dictionary contains 175,000 words in common usage and yet linguists estimate that a vocabulary of 3,000 is sufficient to cover ninety-five per cent of common usage in speech and print.

Where have all those other words gone?

The English language is a giant sponge, absorbing words from a multitude of different languages and cultures and yet it seems speakers of English are indolent at accessing the rich resources at our disposal.

1000 Words to Expand Your Vocabulary aims to ameliorate this issue by providing a fascinating lexicography to boost your word power. Alongside the elegant and archaic words are discussions of malapropisms and solecisms, words for which meaning has changed over time and words that have meanings often contrary to their common usage (and abusage). Each entry contains outlines of word origins, examples in context and a wealth of word related trivia.

1000 Words to Expand Your Vocabulary will help word lovers flaunt their prolixity without flouting the rules that govern correct meaning.

Publication Date: 22/03/2018

About the Book

The Oxford English Dictionary contains 175,000 words in common usage and yet linguists estimate that a vocabulary of 3,000 is sufficient to cover ninety-five per cent of common usage in speech and print.

Where have all those other words gone?

The English language is a giant sponge, absorbing words from a multitude of different languages and cultures and yet it seems speakers of English are indolent at accessing the rich resources at our disposal.

1000 Words to Expand Your Vocabulary aims to ameliorate this issue by providing a fascinating lexicography to boost your word power. Alongside the elegant and archaic words are discussions of malapropisms and solecisms, words for which meaning has changed over time and words that have meanings often contrary to their common usage (and abusage). Each entry contains outlines of word origins, examples in context and a wealth of word related trivia.

1000 Words to Expand Your Vocabulary will help word lovers flaunt their prolixity without flouting the rules that govern correct meaning.

About the Author

Joseph Piercy is a freelance writer. He holds a Master of Philosophy degree in English Studies and is a regular contributor to various magazines and journals. He is the author of 1000 Words You Should Know and The 25 Rules of Grammar, also published by Michael O’Mara Books Limited. He lives in Brighton with his wife and daughter.

How to expand your vocabulary

When it comes to the best ways to learn English, we have to take into account your goals. Is it to achieve fluency while speaking? Is it to improve grammar quickly? Is it to learn English through music, movies, and books?

As you can see, no one method of learning English is the best one for the aims of every individual. However, there are some ways that many English language schools in Los Angeles, CA, employ, and we’re going to give you an inside look at how to expand the scope of your vocabulary through practicing writing and sentence structure.

How can I improve my vocabulary?

When it comes to expanding your vocabulary, there are so many mechanisms and methods to use it will make your head spin. It is as if new “best” techniques for vocabulary acquisition arise every day.

But, when it comes to increasing your word base, trust us, the olden ways are the best ways. You are free to mix it up with modern technologies, but the three pillars of vocabulary still stand strong.

  • Pillar 1 – Read! Yes, read. Read every day, and as much as you can. It’s no wonder that the Los Angeles Education Corps state reading as one of the best sources of new vocabulary. Complement reading with listening, and you’re golden!
  • Pillar 2 – Use! Don’t just read, memorize a new word you like, and then leave it at that. Speak it! As soon as you see a word you want to become part of your active vocabulary, use it in speech. It’s the only way to truly learn it!
  • Pillar 3 – Write! This goes hand in hand with speaking. Some even say before. If you want to fully take in a new word, take a pen, or sit at your computer, and writing as many sentences as you can think of with the word you want to incorporate.

How can I be good at writing?

Yes, you’re telling me to write, but I’m not that good at it. How can I use new words in writing if I’m not that sure of my skills? What if I make mistakes, and what if I use the word incorrectly? What if, what if…

We understand, and we know just how difficult becoming a strong and confident writer in English can be. However, there are ways to make it easier. A lot easier.

  • Be creative – And don’t be afraid to do so! Play with the language, see how far you can take it, and then it further. Test the limits, break the rules, take down obstacles. Make mistakes, as it is the only way to learn.
  • Edit – And then, once you make mistakes, correct them, underline them, highlight them, sprinkle some glitter over them, and stick them to the fridge to wake up to them every morning and never make them again.
  • Use many words – As many as you can. Use all the words you can think of, every adjective, every adverb, every fancy verb, every posh noun. Use them all!
  • Use few words – And then cross out every word that is too much, every word you feel is already saying the same thing three other words are. Writing well is not being too intricate, but rather knowing when to embellish, and when to tone it down.
  • Rewrite – Writing is rewriting, or so they say? We agree. Write a couple of sentences, leave them be for half an hour, come back to them, and write them again, but in a different manner. Rewriting is to writing as training is to the body.

How can I improve my sentence structure?

At the core of every written piece, every newspaper article, blog post, pamphlet, brochure, book. is a sentence. And there is no good writing without good sentence structure. If you have to begin somewhere, begin here! And here’s how.

  • Start simple – Subject, verb, object. That’s it. You’ll make it more beautiful later on.
  • Use active voice – Active voice is a clearer alternative in a vast majority of cases. It creates better cohesion and improves readability.
  • Vary the length – Don’t make all your sentences too long or too short. A good written piece contains sentences of various lengths.
  • Be consistent with the tenses – Don’t begin in the past, then jump to the future.
  • Use linkers – Linking words are your best friends, as they make the entire text seem better-organized.
  • One idea – per sentence. Don’t bury your sentences with superfluity of ideas.
  • Work your way up – Once you’ve mastered the SVOMPT (subject, verb, object, manner, place, time), it’s time to start creating those Dostoevsky-esque sentences.

Is there a language school to help me along the way?

Not only there is, but it’s the best English language school in Los Angeles, California. At College of English Language, you’ll learn to speak, you’ll learn to write, and you’ll learn to be prepared for any situations where English is necessary.

This schools has the best staff, the most modern equipment, and nourishes an atmosphere of cooperation and teamwork. If you want to be able to stroll the Venice Beach Boardwalk with confidence, without worrying if you’re going to have to use your English, then this is the place for you!

Improve vocabulary every day

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Don’t stop learning new words!

Looking for tips for improving your vocabulary? Whether you are trying to strengthen and broaden your vocabulary for school or personal growth, the key is a commitment to regularly learning new words.

Why expand your knowledge and use of words? You’ll be able to communicate (speak and write) more clearly and concisely, people will understand you more easily, and you will increase the perception (and reality) that you are an intelligent person. Besides, learning new words is a fun activity — and one you can even do with the people around you.

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Way Beyond Expectations

This app makes it easy to learn new words. It has all sorts of additional helpful tools to do that, like a direct link to Google (though I do wish it was connected to Miriam-Webster because that dictionary offers comprehensive definition of the word, including its origins), so you can get a bigger definition. This is really important for me because I easily learn words if I know their origins. You can choose level of difficulty, which is perfect for me because I wanted advanced and other apps don’t have advanced. You can also add your own words. You can mark words as favorite so you can go over them again and again as a way to learn. The display is nice and clean — no clutter — so you can focus on the word. Anyway, I can go on and on about all I love about this app. This is what I’ve been looking for. I love learning words and this app has made me completely happy. Yes, happy.

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Thank you for the review! We work hard to meet expectations like yours, and we’re happy to hear we hit the mark for you.

Great tool to improve your vocabulary.

In a world where you need to learn to choose your words wisely, it will be prudent to polish your vocabulary. I began to study a book on how to have good, productive conversation that people would want to hear what you have to say, I came across a section that taught how to polish your conversations by using the right words. The author advice to write words that one is not used to using. So I bagan to look for an app that would help me to learn in a simple practical manner. Since I spend most of the time on the phone communicating through texting I also got used to doing everything in it. Like reading and especially writing. So looking for apps I found this one and it has help me because it works like study cards. I memorize words that are commonly used by many people especially at the job, doing business in conversations except me.
Awesome app.

Developer Response ,

Thank you so much for taking the time to leave us a review and thank you for your kind words, it means a lot!

Absolutely Amazing App

This app has completely grown my brain.I was falling back in my vocabulary grades and my parents started to notice,I didn’t want to fail them so I was looking at apps to improve my vocabulary because that’s were I needed the most improvement. I tried all sorts of apps but this is the only one that works for me ,I absolutely love the fact that I can study words that apply to my learning and the time that I receive them , not forgetting that I can also listen to the words because they are a little lengthy. My vocabulary grades went from the 70s to the 90s and I am so happy to make my family proud again .I would definitely recommend this app to anyone struggling in any area of school work. Thank you to the creators for making such a wonderful and helpful app.

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We are so grateful for your kind words. Thanks for taking the time to share with us!

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By zcbepma, on 10 January 2019

Today student writer Priya tells us about apps that you can use to expand your vocabulary.

Whether you are a native English speaker or not, broadening your English language skills is something you will undoubtedly develop over the course of your lifetime.

Native speakers can always make an effort to improve their vocabulary by learning new words because what you say to others will affect them just like how they communicate will affect how you interpret something.

The English language is used everywhere and especially when doing a degree at university. Writing papers and essays along with doing presentations and speeches are all closely connected to language skills.

So, you’re probably wondering “How do I improve without it being boring?” – Well, I have the perfect answer; Apps.

Apps can help you improve your vocabulary skills and range from being just for fun to helping you during your GCSEs and/or A levels.

This app is super helpful if you need help with improving your vocabulary.

It is very user-friendly and quite easy to use. The app focuses on expanding your current vocabulary whilst helping you use it in everyday situations. You do this through lots of games and quizzes!

You can do a quiz every day and learn the English dictionaries most important words…can you guess how many there are?

How to expand your vocabulary

As the name of the app suggests, this one is good if you want to learn along with friends! This app looks like a crossword puzzle and lets people test their vocabulary and skills a little bit like the way Scrabble does.

You have to get the highest score by competing against other people. You’ll have to stretch yourself with this one because it’s a brain puzzling game!

This app is great for people who love to learn new words. As the name of the app suggests – you learn a new word every single day! This app is great for those of you doing your GCSEs as it is designed by qualified English teachers.

You can explore some of the English languages most interesting, rare and unusual words. You can save the words into your own book and return to look back at them whenever you want. You can also share them with friends who are using the app!

How to expand your vocabulary

This one is designed using a common tool that people use to revise: Flashcards! It is designed to act as a crash course in building your vocabulary.

This one is a little bit more challenging because it is designed for students taking graduate school exams, university entrance exams and professional advancement, however, if you’re finding that the other ones are too easy then who’s to say you can’t use this one!

How to expand your vocabulary

Using a bunch of really complicated algorithms the app helps you learn English skills whilst learning your exact speech pattern. When it figures this out it will give you a range of scores, ranging from how clear you are to how many unique words you use.

It will then benchmark you against other students around your age! This is a great one if you want to improve something specific or if you like to log your progress using numbers!

How to expand your vocabulary

A word from the writer:

How to expand your vocabularyHi my name is Priya! I study Biochemical Engineering and my area of expertise is in Bioprocessing of New Medicine with Business and Management. I am currently a 2nd Dan Black Belt ITF Tae-kwon-do instructor. I like to regularly train at UCL but also love to teach at my local club.

How to expand your vocabulary

Earning an online degree means retaining valuable information on a daily basis. You know you have the skill, so wouldn’t it be wonderful if your vocabulary could illustrate your academic knowledge? While working through your online university studies, exercise the following tips to improve your vocabulary.

  1. The thesaurus is your friend. A thesaurus is a great way to learn new words based on existing definitions. While working on an essay, look for overused words and utilize your thesaurus for an alternative. This process will help you develop a natural ability to search your brain for the multitude of possibilities.

Create a “favorites” list. We all have our favorite words, the ones that seem to roll off the tongue and sound appealing. While expanding your vocabulary, keep a list of the words that you enjoy the most. It will serve as a helpful resource when working toward your online degree.

Use the “three times” rule. The old rule, “use a word three times and it’s yours” is absolutely correct. After learning a new word, use it in context three times over the course of one week. For example, if you recently learned the meaning of “esoteric,” bring it up in conversation: “The FBI’s language is esoteric to ensure national security.” -Find two more ways to use the word and soon it will become a part of your go-to vocabulary list.

Play the word game. Attending an online university can be a fun experience, and the same is true for expanding your vocabulary. Find engaging ways to learn new words, like the crossword puzzle or word jumble in your local newspaper. You are sure to learn a variety of new words to add to your list.

Read and learn. If you want to expand your vocabulary, reading is a great way to learn! Literature, news articles, online reports, etc. are all sources of new information. By immersing yourself in an author’s writing, you will easily find words to adopt as your own.

Remove filler words. Everyone has a speech rhythm that often includes filler words such as “like” or “uh.” Pay attention to your speaking habits and try to remove these words. As your vocabulary grows, you will learn to replace these fillers with meaningful language that enhances your communication skills.

  • Find diversity. Look for reading outside your normal repertoire. Broadening the scope of what you read will help you find a variety of terms you have never encountered.
  • How to expand your vocabulary

    العربية :يمكنك قراءة هذا المقال باللغة

    “. . . while without grammar very little can be conveyed, without vocabulary nothing can be conveyed” Wilkins (1972).

    A rich vocabulary is the most essential element in language learning; it enables you to communicate your ideas, express yourself better and enhances all your other skills like writing, reading, and speaking.

    Here’s What We’ll Discuss:

    • Best ways to expand your vocabulary
    • Learn what benefits you

    Best Ways to Expand Your Vocabulary

    One of the most recommended ways to expand your vocabulary is through reading since viewing words in the context of books, articles, and conversations helps you understand and figure out the meaning of words that are new to you. And the repetition of the words you already know will help you remember them. It also introduces you to more sophisticated words that you wouldn’t have learned elsewhere.

    Flashcards are another way to quickly gain more vocabulary and nowadays numerous apps offer to design creative and fun flashcards to help you feel motivated.

    Besides learning through visual aid, help the information stick to your long-term memory by having pictures or symbols drawn beside the word you are trying to learn to help your brain connect between the drawing and the word.

    Since visual aid helps you link words to their meaning, audio learning helps improve your pronunciation and helps you understand how natives speak. Watching a movie for example in the desired language helps you collect more vocabulary as well as understand how and when to use it.

    Try the 24/7 Online English Courses with Voxy!

    Voxy offers online English courses for all purposes on one platform and all of the courses are available 24/7 so you can flexibly manage your time.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    It might, however, be overwhelming being exposed to this huge amount of data at once, which may lead to you forgetting everything you’ve learned. That’s why it’s important to pick words that you can use in your daily and work life.

    Splitting it up is another technique that helps you learn new vocabulary and create meaningful sentences, all you gotta do is find the words you need to memorize.

    Then you start by either putting them in a small phrase or using phrasebooks, books, videos, etc. after putting each word in a sentence -you can add two words in one sentence- you start to memorize them, but now the process will be much easier since they won’t be scattered words.

    After getting the hang of them, switch it up by using synonyms for the words in the same chunks (the phrases you created) and be as flexible as you can with them so that you can change them up when having a conversation.

    Learn What Benefits You

    In the end, you need to learn the words that are relevant to you and specific to your own needs. For example, if you are not an entomologist (a scientist that studies insects), there is no need for you to learn every insect name; sure, if you are interested in this field, learn it when you start building and developing your language better.

    However, some people may find it hard to choose the words they will need or to pick which words to prioritize based on their level and interests.

    This is why Voxy incorporates personalization into every aspect of your learning process; it designs a unique vocabulary curriculum for each and every user to guarantee that everyone benefits from the material. Since you will be learning something made specifically for you, it automatically makes you more engaged and more willing to learn.

    Voxy also makes sure that the vocabulary you are learning is up-to-date as it chooses the most known and widely used words spoken by natives today; it gathers this information from all over the spectrum e.g. youtube videos, best-selling books, content by natives, even pop music to ensure that both ends can understand one another in a conversation.

    Online English Courses for ALL Purposes!

    Study English now with qualified teachers which offer English courses for all specializations. In addition, you can study English at anytime and at any place through the Voxy mobile app.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    1 – The importance of the context

    I n my opinion it is very important to contextualise words you want to learn by imagining them in a given situation. Personally, I am always very careful to visualise the image evoked by a word or an expression the first time I hear them. This image allows me to associate the new terms with the context and the situation in which I first heard them, thus having a mini context which allows me to remember them more easily.

    To contextualise a word, you shouldn’t make random lists of words or try to memorise a glossary of thousands of terms found on the Internet.
    The best thing to do is to create your own word list based on an article you have read or a video you have watched. In this way the vocabulary will be contextualised and related to the situation in which you heard these words

    . and of the notebook

    How to expand your vocabulary

    I personally used to write words in notebooks. I divided the page in half using a ruler and in the left column I inserted the word in the foreign language and in the right column the translation into Italian, my mother tongue (or vice versa). This left me with mini lists of words related to the same subject: a mini context that helped me to remember the words.

    Personally, I always find that lists in alphabetical order (e.g. using an address book) are useless because when you review your vocabulary the context is missing. Moreover, words are arbitrarily grouped – only according to their initial letter. Then when you study you always start from the beginning of the list and you always know the words of the first letters of the alphabet and never those that begin with W (and there are very many starting with W in English!). We also need to memorise words that are important and relevant to us because this will help us to memorise them.

    After writing the words in the notebook you will need to study them constantly, covering a column with your hand and repeating the words aloud. The notebook is practical, always at hand and easy to consult even if you are not at home.
    In addition to that, collecting all the new words helps you ‘psychologically’ because we know that a given word which we can’t recall now and is on the tip of our tongue is listed in the notebook – We just need to look through our notebook carefully to find it.
    The only downside of using a notebook is that words are always in the same order and even when we review them again we remember which word will follow the one we are saying out loud (a bit like when listening to a CD we know which song will follow the one that is about to end). There is another method which is just as valid and which I mentioned in another article: flashcards. With flashcards, the order of the words is always random!

    2 – Learn words in a sentence

    3 – Establish connections between words

    4 – Learn the correct pronunciation from the beginning

    L earning how words are spelt is as important as learning their correct pronunciation. To do that, associate the sound of a word with its spelling as soon as you learn the word!
    I also encourage you to ask a native speaker or your teacher to record lists of words in the foreign language (possibly followed by translation into English or your mother tongue) and listen to them constantly. My students ask me to record lists of words and I do so willingly because I am sure this method works.

    In fact, you cannot learn only how to write a word and have doubts about its pronunciation because you will never use it while speaking – simply because you don’t know to pronounce it well and because you’ll find it hard to recognise it when it is pronounced correctly (and not as you think the word should be pronounced).
    You can also consult online dictionaries where you can find the pronunciation of words, one of them is where you will listen to the pronunciation of words in English, French, Italian and many other languages!

    5 – Do not forget the origins!

    T his point is a bit more ‘technical’. When you come across a new word and you want to memorise it, it can also be useful to study its etymology, seeing if it is composed of prefixes or suffixes and analysing similarities with your mother tongue.

    For example, many nouns come from verbs and knowing the rules of noun formation can help you memorise them more easily:
    enseignerenseignantentraînerentraîneurjouerjoueur… in French
    insegnareinsegnanteallenareallenatoregiocaregiocatore… in Italian
    to teachteacherto traintrainerto playplayer… in English

    Moreover, in many languages many adjectives are made up of prefixes that transform a word into its opposite:
    patientimpatienthonnêtemalhonnêteconfortableinconfortable. in French
    pazienteimpazienteonestodisonestocomodoscomodo. in Italian
    patientimpatienthonestdishonestcomfortableuncomfortable. in English

    You can create a word family for the most important words. It consists of the basic form of a word plus its flexed forms and derived forms with suffixes and prefixes, i.e. listing all the words that have a common etymological origin. On this site you will find an extraordinary English dictionary in which the Word Families for each lemma are also proposed:

    How to expand your vocabulary

    F inally, you have to constantly repeat and review words you have learnt in random order, rather than learning them in sequence, as mentioned earlier in point 1. You can review the words in your notebook by covering the terms in your mother tongue with your hand, or by using flashcards.

    It is therefore necessary to make sure that this new vocabulary is always ‘available’ – in other words ready to be used: to do this you must try to use the new word the following days in real communication situations!

    How to expand your vocabulary

    Blog post by IvyPanda on Fun ways to expand your vocabulary

    Commenting on developments in the English language

    How to expand your vocabulary

    How to expand your vocabularyWe’re delighted to announce that the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus mobile app is now available to download for free from Apple and Google Play stores. This means that you can now learn English vocabulary anytime and anywhere you have an online connection, whether you’re sitting on a train, waiting for a bus or filling the minutes in a café before a friend turns up. What’s more, you can learn in a very personalized way, creating vocabulary lists that are right for you, matching both your level of English and your personal interests.

    If you already have an account with Cambridge Dictionary, you will be able to log in and access all your word lists. If you’re new to us, you can sign up for Cambridge Dictionary +Plus for free.

    Once you’ve signed up or logged in, you can start the exciting process of expanding your vocabulary by creating your own word lists.

    Creating a word list

    There are two ways to make a word list. Tap CREATE in the blue bar at the bottom, give your word list a name and search the Cambridge Dictionary to add words to it, or if you have already started searching the dictionary and have found the meaning you want to add, tap Add to word list to add that meaning to a word list.

    The word lists can continually be added to so they are a great way of regularly noting down difficult vocabulary that you encounter every day. You can create multiple word lists so you can use them to group vocabulary into different topics that interest you, or to create a list of words you need to revise for an exam. You can then use the word list quizzes to help you learn the words in your word list.

    How about making a word list of vocabulary from a news article you’ve read or something that you’ve watched recently?

    How to make the most of quizzes

    Once you’ve created your word list, you can challenge yourself with the quizzes! There are three quiz types: word memory quiz (type the word that matches the definition), flash cards (read the definition and try to remember the word) and audio quizzes (type in the word that you hear). The audio quizzes are a great way of improving your listening skills. The flash cards and word memory quizzes will help you learn the meanings and spellings of the words.

    Repetition is key to remembering new words, so keep quizzing yourself on your word list, using all three types! If you make time to study your word list a little bit every day, you will quickly notice an improvement. Don’t forget to return to your old word lists occasionally to refresh your memory of vocabulary you learned in the past!

    Cambridge word lists for your level

    If you need inspiration for your own word lists, you might start with the word lists already created for you by our experts at Cambridge. Tap on EXPLORE and you’ll find graded lists covering useful language areas, such as Words for personality (e.g. observant, blunt, narrow-minded) and Words about politics (e.g. referendum, diplomacy, constitution). Of course, you can quiz yourself on these words too.

    Use the search and filters to find the word lists and quizzes that match your interests and level.

    If you feel like a different challenge, you can test yourself using over 300 fun image quizzes. They cover a range of core topics, such as animals, food & drink, nature & weather and sports. The quizzes are graded from ‘easy’ (e.g. elephant, cake, mountain, basketball) to ‘very difficult’ (e.g. coati, chutney, furrow, pommel horse) so there’s something for everyone.

    We hope this post has inspired you to download the Cambridge Dictionary +Plus app so that you can boost your vocabulary in a way that is engaging and fun.

    If you want to let us know what you think of the app, please tell us here.

    Communicating successfully in a new language needs a good command of vocabulary, everybody knows that, but how to learn lots of new words without getting bored to death or spending lots of time on it? Here is the way to learn a lot while having fun.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    Finding words: Read, read and read

    Yes, this advice looks obvious, but the more you read, the more your brain processes information and you become able to highlight for yourself some new interesting words that you can use in everyday life. Besides, reading a lot will not only improve your vocabulary, it is also the best way to improve your writing. Try to read different books so that the words and terms used are not of the same type. Go for different authors, since every well-known writer often has a very different writing style and vocabulary. Plus, read pieces in different genres and different formats. But not just books; you can always read magazines, comics, internet articles or even different posts from social networks.

    You don’t need to struggle over very difficult texts, look for something with a challenging level but still manageable. If you want to read books and your level is not very high, go for graded readers (Pearson, Oxford or Cambridge University Press, for example, have lots of books graded by levels). It is most efficient if the reading is a bit difficult for you but still you can understand the general idea without difficulty.

    Also, you don’t need to understand every word you are reading. That would often be extremely tedious and time-consuming, so you probably would end up closing the book and hating reading. Just look for some words here and there, words you find curious or interesting, or key vocabulary you need to know to understand what you are reading. To give you a general standard rule, let’s say that looking up for a word in the dictionary once on every page is usually enough, even less if you can manage. You can guess many words from the context, so you will learn vocabulary even if you don’t look it up. Plus, if you enjoy your reading, your brain will be much more receptive and you will learn more. Doing something boring or too troublesome is not the best way to learn, since your brain will not be very willing to process information from a negative activity. So read things you like, and enjoy it; focus more in the pleasure of reading than in the learning itself; and remember this: never try to translate what you are reading into your own language! That would spoil the fun and interfere with the way your brain processes the new information.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    Finding words (2): Listen, listen and listen

    Since we get the language in both oral and written formats, we can find new words both when reading and when listening. Also, the kind of language and vocabulary used may be quite different, so to improve your writing and your speaking you must read, but also listen. Watching movies and series is a fun and interesting way, as well as YouTube videos, like the ones you find here on this website, or even audiobooks (which you can listen to even driving or doing other things). Again, as we recommended for reading, try to watch or listen to things you enjoy and you can more or less understand, or you’ll get bored or too frustrated and give up. If possible, turn subtitles on, but ¡English subtitles! It is a very common and terrible mistake to watch a movie in English with subtitles in your own language. That way your brain will get the information mainly from the easiest source (your own language) so you will unconsciously concentrate on reading in your language and not so much on listening to English, while reinforcing your natural tendency to translate mentally, making communication slow and messy for you.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    Learning words: Use word learning apps

    You probably want to study all the new and interesting words you came across when reading or listening. The way you learn vocabulary will determine the way your brain stores that information into your memory, and that will in turn determine the way you can later access that information, that is, the way you can remember those words. A terrible way to learn vocabulary is by making the traditional vocabulary lists. When you study a list your brain stores that list as a unit, so all those words are related together inside your memory and, what’s more, in that order. Later, when you want to remember one particular word from that list, your brain -consciously or unconsciously- will need to go through the whole list to find the word needed, which takes longer, and -this is very important- every time you forget a word from that list all the rest of the words will become weaker in your memory, so they will be easier to forget and more difficult to remember.

    The correct way to study vocabulary is through flashcards, so every word is independent and stored in its own, being free to make the logical connections with other words of the same semantic family, context or whatever your brain finds suitable. Flashcards let you learn or revise words in a different order every time, so your brain will not make a mental list with all of them. But making flashcards for every word is also tedious and time-consuming, and that’s why phone apps can make the work for you. Phone applications will help you get a fresh batch of new terms every day everywhere, so you will improve a lot little by little. You can memorize them, check yourself or put aside some words for later. This way you can keep statistics on your learning progress and determine exactly how many words your vocabulary has added. There are many apps working this way, for example ankidroid (also with a PC version), but there are some other good apps out there too, try one you like best and work on it a little time each day. 10 minutes every day is much more effective than 1 hour every Saturday, for instance. These apps can let you work more with the words you fail, and less with the words you already know, so they are perfect for maximizing your time.


    – Read books, magazines, internet articles, etc.
    – Choose a level you can manage (graded readers can be helpful)
    – Don’t look up for every word! (about 1 per page should be enough)
    – Don’t translate the text.

    – Listen to movies, series, YouTubes videos, etc.
    – Choose a level you can manage.
    – Turn on English subtitles.

    – Don’t make lists of words.
    – Use a flashcard app.
    – Work on it about 10 minutes each day.

    Increasing the number of words you want to know is a great investment in yourself and your own intelligence. This should become your habit because studying requires regularity and diligence. Do not forget about it, and you will definitely achieve success.

    What is more important when learning a language; knowledge of grammar or acquisition of vocabulary? Well, you do need words to form your very first sentences. Putting them in the right form and order, has to do with grammar. That’s why knowledge of grammar and acquisition of vocabulary are close friends. Of course, you all know Duolingo and flashcards, so we like to share some other ideas that may help you expand your vocabulary.

    1. Use your mobile phone

    Use your mobile phone to take pictures of anything you come across that you do not understand. This can be a headline in a newspaper, or a word in a text, or a sign or text in the street, in a shop or restaurant. Snap it!

    2. Create your own dictionary

    What to do with all those pictures? Create your own dictionary, in paper form or online. Write down all words that are unknown to you in your little booklet or online document. Look up the meaning and write it down or make small drawings.

    3. Getting familiar

    Just writing and reading is not enough. Form simple sentences in which you use your new words, that’s how you will remember them. You can conduct a reality test on yourself, by implementing phrases in conversations with your Dutch colleagues and neighbors.

    4. Television & subtitles

    When you watch an English-spoken movie on tv, switch on Dutch subtitles or when it is a Dutch movie, switch on English subtitles. That is how Dutch children learn English easily, it might work for you as well.

    5. Watch the Dutch newscast

    Watch Dutch newscast, for kids Jeugdjournaal and for adults Journaal. Watching the news in Dutch might be a bit challenging. No worries, on UitzendingGemist you can watch each item over and over again, until you get the complete picture. You can start with just one news item first.

    6. Watch video’s

    Watch video’s together with your tutor, discuss the subject, and test your skills by writing a summary of what you have seen.

    7. Label objects

    A traditional way to familiarize yourself with the names of daily possessions is to simply label step by step your kitchen, living room, bathroom , bedroom, wardrobe, your drawer, your friend, office etc.

    8. Know your false friends

    Especially for those who are afraid to make mistakes, you can create a special ‘Danger Category’ in your personal vocab list. Check it out on Wikipedia´s Lijst van Valse Vrienden

    9. Practice synonyms

    Waiting for the bus or tram? Instead of checking your email, check and play around with some words that are new to you.

    10. Dutch sayings & expressions

    Lost in the jungle of Dutch expressions and sayings? You can check the meaning at and sometimes find the equivalent in English or French as well.

    11. Abbreviations

    The Dutch love it! Welcome to the world of Dutch abbreviations. Research the abbreviations at

    12. Sing a song

    While cooking or working out, put on one of your favourite Dutch songs, and sing along. See Flowy, for a collection of free audio’s, songs and books.

    13. Unconscious learning

    Put on the radio, a podcast, Dutch music or tv, when you’re travelling, waiting, cooking or cleaning. At a certain point you will notice that you understood what was said! Geweldig! (Great!)

    14. Dutch theatre

    In a number of theaters in The Netherlands you can watch Dutch performances with English subtitles.

    15. The weather

    Last but not least, watch and study the Dutch weather forecast, and practice your weather chit-chat with any Dutch local you meet in the elevator, in the bus, at the coffee machine at work etc.

    Words form the building blocks of any language and the more you know, the more freedom you have when expressing your thoughts and ideas.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    • How to expand your vocabulary

    Improving your vocabulary in English can be a challenge if you are living in your home country and have little contact with English. However, a little time and dedication goes a lot way and by making small changes to your daily routine, you can expand your English vocabulary each week.

    Adult native English speakers usually have a vocabulary of 10,000-21,000 words depending on their age and level of education. Reading is an important factor that tends to expand a person’s vocabulary size. Non-native speakers of English should aim for a vocabulary 3,000-5,000 words. This is enough to understand 99% of everyday conversation and communicate freely and without compromise. Building towards this target takes time and effort but is achievable for all learners of English who really want to know the language well.


    Always learn vocabulary in context

    Whenever we use words, they are always in a context so it makes sense to learn them in the situations in which they arise. This approach has several advantages. You gain a better understanding of how to use words in a real language situation and learn them in combinations and as collocations. If you do not know a particular word, you can often guess its meaning from the context in which it is found. Therefore, context is important and should not be ignored when learning English vocabulary.

    Thematic vocabulary

    Some learners acquire vocabulary more easily when it is arranged in lists by topic. For example, you might have a list of airport vocabulary with 20 words connected with the topic of air travel. This is a good approach but bear in mind that there are many “cross-over” words that fit into multiple categories and topics. These words are no less important and should appear on a general vocabulary list of their own with examples of their usage in context. Try this list of 1580 commonly used words in English. If you know all of these words, then you are already half way towards your initial 3,000 word target!

    How to expand your vocabulary

    Read more in English

    Native speakers who have large vocabularies are often big readers. This makes sense as they have more contact with complex literary and scientific language. You can expand your vocabulary by reading too. Set aside 30 minutes a day to read in English and make sure you have a good dictionary to hand. You will also need an English book (or article) and a pencil. As you read, try to understand the general meaning of the text but also underline any new words, phrases, and unfamiliar idioms as you go. When you reach the end of a chapter or your 30 minutes is over, look up the new vocabulary in your dictionary and make a note of it separately. Over time you will build up a small personal dictionary of words that you need to learn.

    Learn through association and logic

    Many words follow logical patterns both in their structure and application. Learning one root word can lead to an understanding of several other lexical units derived from it. It is also worth taking the time to learn Greek and Latin roots in English. For example, if you know that “bi-” means two and “ann-” means year, then you can work out that “biannually” logically means twice yearly. Try to see the bigger picture – take the smallest unit you can find (the root) and work outwards from there. By adding prefixes and suffixes, you can alter the meaning of a root word, creating several other lexical units in the process. Associating words with one another can also be a good way of expanding your vocabulary by logically grouping similar items together.

    Use it or lose it

    The funny English expression “In one ear and out the other” applies well to vocabulary acquisition. Imagine the temporary files folder on your computer or laptop. It stores information for a limited time only before deleting it. This is done so that your computer does not slow down or get filled with unnecessary information. The same is true of your brain when learning English vocabulary. Words that you often use are in your active memory and you can use them fluently, often without thinking too much about their translation in your language. On the other hand, words you are still unfamiliar with and use rarely are harder to remember and use because they form part of your passive vocabulary. The key here is to force yourself to have more contact with the words you want to remember. This can be done through reading and repetition.

    If you read 10 articles about keeping goldfish, then you will probably need to use the dictionary quite often up until article 5. Once you have translated and learnt the unfamiliar vocabulary, the following 5 articles will be much easier to understand and by article 10 some of these new words will have been retained. This is a simple approach but an effective one. Concentrating on one subject area at a time can lead to better vocabulary retention.

    Perhaps the hardest task of all is learning to use your new vocabulary when speaking English. This takes times and practice because you need to remember words and constructions quickly in order to use them during a flowing conversation with few pauses. OTUK offers one-to-one classes via Skype with British English teachers. We help our students expand their vocabulary and retain it through real conversation on interesting topics. If you would like to improve your English with OTUK, drop us a line to arrange a trial consultation today!

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    Posted August 11, 2016

    How to expand your vocabulary

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    You are talking to someone or you’re giving a presentation. In the middle of explaining something, you forget the English word that you are about to say. You have a clear idea of what it means and you know the word in your native tongue but can’t remember it in English.

    Has this ever happened to you?

    You know it’s frustrating! Not to mention embarrassing.

    If you’re like me and your first language is not English, you may be familiar with this situation. It’s instances like these that push me to work continuously on my vocabulary. Let me share with you some of the things that have worked so far:

    Reading is proven to increase your vocabulary more than talking or classroom instruction. Read anything and everything! If you don’t have time to sit down and read a book (or if you don’t like reading), go for newspapers, comic books, or even brochures. There are magazines for every interest under the sun! Just choose one. You can also read:

    • short online articles about settlement (like what you’re doing right now)
    • bedtime stories to your kids
    • signages, ads, and posters while you’re on a bus

    Doing this constantly will lead you to discover new words, idioms and expressions. It may even help you cultivate the habit of reading.

    Do it in small chunks

    There are more than 600,000 words in the English language. You can’t expect to know them all at once! So don’t rush.

    When setting learning targets, three to five new words a week is manageable. You can choose a theme and learn related words for each set. Learning in small chunks will also help you remember words better. Watch English lessons with Adam below to know how to learn words in groups.

    Keys to remembering

    Knowing words is the first part. What is harder is remembering and knowing when to use them. You can:

    • Use your imagination – what does the word remind you of? Visual association is a good way to remember words and their meanings. Need to remember the word PACIFY (to calm, soothe or quiet)? Imagine a calm Pacific ocean. How about CADENCE (regular beat of sound; rhythm)? Imagine people dancing in time to a beat.
    • Use your new words whenever appropriate and as often as possible. Use them when:
      • writing emails or notes
      • writing in your journal
      • talking to someone

    Play games and puzzles

    Make learning fun to encourage you to keep at it. There are many engaging quizzes, puzzles and word searches online. Here are great ones to try:

    • Merriam-Webster Word of the Day, Word Games and Quizzes
    • for games and tools
    • English Online’s settlement articles. Most have quizzes at the end to help you understand the article better and expand your vocabulary
    • Bigfish Games for online word games
    • Offline games like Scrabble and Boggle are great too.

    Get to the root of the matter

    Sometimes knowing the root word (it holds the most basic meaning of any word) allows you to know more related words and the meaning of these words in the group. For instance, audio means sound or hearing. It is related to words like AUDible (able to be heard), and AUDibly (loud enough to be heard). The root word nov means new. So you have words like NOVel (new), NOVative (of the nature of a renewal) and inNOVate (to bring in something new).

    Write these words down on a card or a board for you to remember. You can check this site to get root words and their meanings (plus suffixes and prefixes). You will also need a good dictionary.

    Community Resources

    Adam also has lessons on related topics like IELTS vocabulary, internet vocabulary, or a reviewer for those studying for the IELTS. You will find them at EngVid.

    Check out our Canadian Idioms published regularly.

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    Related Learning Activities

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    How to expand your vocabulary

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    Finding it hard to memorize new words?

    You’re not the only one!

    Even the most talented multi-linguists need help sometimes.

    Luckily, there are many effective methods that can help you to expand your vocabulary.

    And we’re not going to tell you to sit with a textbook for hours until you have successfully learned all the words. No, no!

    Instead, we’re going to share some useful but also fun ways to improve your vocabulary.

    How to expand your vocabulary

    Play Word Games

    Is there a better way to learn new words?

    This way of expanding your vocabulary is fun and effective.

    Many entertaining games require you to memorize new words and phrases.

    For a start, try playing Scrabble, Upwords, or Apple to Apple.

    You can also start with more simple games, like those where you need only paper and pen such as Charades, Pictionary, or Guess the Word.

    These are even more fun because you can play with your friends. Snacks, juice, paper, and pen can be an ideal way to spend time with your friends. Besides enjoying your evening, you will also learn new words.

    Connect New Words With Familiar Ones

    Connect a new word to something familiar so that you can remember it easily. This is known as word association. Depending on what works for you, you can choose to associate them by sound, or by meaning.

    To associate new words by sound means that you will associate them with the familiar words that have similar sounds. For example, if you already know the word ‘write’ it’s easier to learn the word ‘right’ which sounds similar.

    Association based on meaning means that you can memorize new words that are related to the ones you already know. For example, if you want to remember the word ‘open-hearted’ then you can think of several synonyms like ‘friendly,’ or ‘sympathetic’.

    Watch English Movies

    Don’t forget to turn on the subtitles. It’s an ideal and fun way to improve your vocabulary. Thanks to the movies, you can improve your listening and speaking skills.

    Not only will you learn new words, but you will see how they are used naturally, in casual conversations.

    When you come across a new word or phrase while watching, you can always pause the movie, write down or come up with an example where you will use that word.

    Hire a Tutor

    Hiring an English tutor is a great way to expand your vocabulary. Learning with a professional teacher is an ideal opportunity where, besides learning new words and expressions, you can learn how to properly use grammar, practice tongue twisters and improve your pronunciation.

    Learning English with a real person has always been the most effective way not only to learn the language but to boost your vocabulary.

    The key is in the conversation.

    Nothing better than a teacher who can explain the meaning of a new phrase, and teach you how to speak like a native speaker.

    Read Every Day

    This method of learning new words and expressions happens to be one of the most effective ones. And yet it’s quite simple: the more you read, the more new words you will discover and memorize.

    So, give your best to find time to read in English every day. Apart from reading books, you can read magazines, newspapers, blogs, poems even.

    Try to guess the meaning from the context. If you can’t, then you can always search for help in the dictionary.

    Final Thoughts

    Vocabulary is the main tool in a language. If you don’t know words, then you can’t communicate at all. Your reading and speaking skills can’t be improved.

    So, the more words you know, the better your skills will be.

    In the end, speaking English fluently is every learner’s goal. And you can succeed with a richer vocabulary.


    • Syed Anas says:

    Learning a language is a continuous process. We learn something in our daily routine but this article bring forth the Crux of learning and expanding the new vocabulary.

    Thanks for sharing useful tips.

    I’m learning English and I just loved this article, was very helpful.

    Massoud says:

    Thank you very much for all you tips to improve our English, they are very useful.
    It is so exciting and enriching trying to learn further in masterIng this wonderful language!

    Looking for how to become a better writer? Start by improving your writing vocabulary. After all, the stronger your words are, the more powerful your writing will be.

    But why is writing important? Why bother expanding your vocabulary and building your writing skills?

    How to expand your vocabularyReading more from a variety of sources can help improve your writing vocabulary. Try making notes about the new words you learn to help enhance the word power in your personal writing.

    For starters, it may lead to fewer revisions during editing stages, meaning your essays and assignments won’t take as long to complete. And it may even result in higher grades for the work you turn in for class.

    And who doesn’t want that?

    There are many methods you can use to expand your vocabulary as a writer. Here are some tips on how to increase your word power.

    1. Read More

    Read a lot, and read from a variety of sources. Magazines, newspapers, blogs, novels, comics, and more can fill you up with new words you might never have seen without exploring these texts. The more words you put into your brain, the more words you will have available for you to use in your writing.

    Reading other people’s writing can open your mind to a plethora of new words. (plethora=overabundance, excess.)

    2. Look Up Words in a Dictionary

    As you are reading more varied texts, you will come across words you don’t know. Don’t just simply gloss over them.

    Instead, stop and look up the meaning of each new word. If you’re reading an e-reader, such as a Kindle, you just need to highlight the word and you’ll see the dictionary definition. and the Merriam Webster dictionary app are also helpful to have on-hand.

    Taking the time to investigate the meanings will help cement the word into your brain for future use. It helps cohere the new word to your memory. (cohere=to stick to, cling.)

    3. Keep a Word Journal

    Once you’ve looked up new words using your dictionary, record each new word in a journal. This will put all of your new words in one handy space. Refer back to your journal often to review some of the vocabulary terms you have gained.

    Make a goal to incorporate these words into your writing (for school, social media, personal journals, notes, etc). Actively practicing these new words in written form will help you improve your vocabulary.

    You will soon acclimate to using your fancier vocabulary. (acclimate=make or become adjusted.)

    4. Learn a New Word Each Day

    There are numerous sites that can help you learn a new word every day. Merriam-Webster has a Word-of-the-Day feature that has a mini-podcast each day to give multiple examples of how to use the word. Collins Dictionary also offers a Word of the Day.

    How to expand your vocabularyUsing a dictionary (either online or in print) will help you discover the meanings of new words. You can also use apps and websites that teach you a new word and meaning each day.

    As you visit these sites, make a note in your word journal of these new words. You can also visit an improve vocabulary app on your phone to get some word coaching on the go.

    These circadian visits to learn words can help you stay on track with broadening your vocabulary. (circadian=daily.)

    5. Use New Words Frequently in Conversations

    Try out your new words verbally in daily conversations. Make a goal to incorporate one new word into your communication with others every day.

    The more you speak and use new words, the more they will be committed to your memory. There’s definitely a connection between speaking and writing. Improving your spoken vocabulary also improves your written vocabulary and vice versa (or contrariwise.) (contrariwise=vice versa)

    6. Play Word Games

    Doing daily crosswords can help you step up your vocab game. There are online options or you can use the simple pencil-and-paper route.

    Interactive word games like Scrabble and Boggle can be fun and educational for you and a group of your friends. Apps on your phone such as Words With Friends can also be entertaining ways to increase your vocabulary.

    Many of these games are riveting. (riveting=fascinating, gripping.)

    7. Choose Better, More Specific Words

    Once you’ve started to learn new words and expand your vocabulary, choose better words in your writing. Certain vague words (like big or small) should be avoided and replaced with specific, more descriptive words.

    If the house was big, was it colossal? Enormous? Monstrous? Gigantic? There are better choices you can make with an expanded vocabulary. Using these precise words helps paint a clearer picture for your reader. It also helps your writing be less obscure. (obscure=not easily understood.)

    8. Use a Thesaurus

    If you’re trying to incorporate more specific words, it’s helpful to use a thesaurus. When you see a vague word in your essay, look it up in a thesaurus and pick a more accurate and effective word.

    OneLook has a thorough thesaurus that is extremely helpful. Or should I say practical? Beneficial? Handy? The thesaurus helps you find the exact word you are looking for. It will ameliorate your word choices. (ameliorate=make, become better.)

    Becoming a better writer means choosing better words in your writing. The more specific and interesting your words are, the more engaging and comprehensible your writing will be. With a small amount of daily effort, you can increase your vocabulary and take your writing to the next level.