How to build your vocabulary and become more articulate

Written by giselle berge
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How to build your vocabulary and become more articulate
Looking up unfamiliar words will help increase your vocabulary. (Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Ever catch yourself racking your mind in search of the right word? A large and diverse vocabulary is essential to expressing yourself both orally and through writing. Moreover, the ability to communicate clearly is valued in school and at the workplace. Regardless of your age or education level, there are various ways to build your vocabulary. Better yet, as you increase your vocabulary, you will gradually become more articulate.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Dictionary
  • Flash cards

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Sign up for Merriam Webster's Word a Day for a daily vocabulary word delivered to your inbox. Return the to word throughout the day to familiarise yourself with its meaning.

  2. 2

    Log onto Just Vocabulary for free vocabulary podcasts featuring two words per episode. In addition to a detailed definition of a word, each five-minute podcast offers antonyms and relevant sentences to increase comprehension.

  3. 3

    Read books as often as you can. Writers and novelists are professional wordsmiths, and part of their job is to use language creatively. Choose books that interest you, and make note of any unfamiliar words while you are reading.

  4. 4

    Read magazines on current affairs or the arts to further develop your vocabulary. Magazines featuring articles on politics, world affairs, science and the arts typically contain high-level vocabulary words. Underline any unknown word you come across as you are reading.

  5. 5

    Write unfamiliar words down from your readings and look them up in a dictionary or by logging onto dictionary.com. The site offers audio recordings to help with pronunciation, as well as synonyms and antonyms.

  6. 6

    Create flashcards by writing a new word on one side of an index card and its definition on the other side. You may also include a sentence that incorporates the new word just below the definition. Doing so will give you a better sense of the word in its correct context.

  7. 7

    Test yourself with your flashcards, or recruit a friend to help. Review your flashcards regularly, and add new cards as you continue to discover unfamiliar words.

Tips and warnings

  • Focus on root words; once you learn root words, it's usually easy to tell the meaning of words.

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