Have you seen how online grammar checkers often grade your writing’s quality as average? If yes, it is time to hit the note up and turn the ‘average’ to ‘excellent’. But first things first: Why do grammar checker tools rate your writing as average?
The first factor here is the vocabulary you have used in your text. Using the same word repeatedly or using ‘very’ before every adjective for want of a better word can bring down the quality of your writing. This is why it is imperative to have a good hold over the language. Now, in this case, being grammatically correct may not be enough. You need to know the accurate words to communicate a message crystal clear.
So, how do you build your vocabulary?
You cannot become an erudite or a wordsmith overnight. You need to cultivate everyday habits to learn better words and know how to use them appropriately. Just learning good words from a lexicon won’t do you any good if you do not know where to use them. Let us consider the word ‘vintage’ here.
Vintage means something high-quality from the past. Colloquially, vintage is often used interchangeably for the word old.
So, you can say that the Victorian era windows and arches in a house are vintage. Or, you can use the word to state the quality of the wine.
But you certainly cannot say that your grandfather is vintage.
This is why you need to know where and how to use a particular word, even when it is a synonym.
That brings us to the main question: How do you improve your vocabulary? On that note, here are seven habits you can grow to learn more words with each passing day and become a logophile. Here you go!
7 Ways to Build Your Vocabulary Remarkably
- Read voraciously
The more we sing paeans about the habit of reading, the less it will be. Reading is the best way to pick up new words and learn how to use them appropriately. When I say read, it encompasses every possible text. You can read a book every week, or make it a habit to read the newspaper in the morning hours. Establish a reading regimen that fits into your schedule and work at your pace.
- For high literature, start withthis list of classics.
- Read new fiction as well – some from this fantastic list.
- You can also give poetry a try if you find reading verbose texts cumbersome. Start withVirginia Woolf, Camus or more recent poets like Christopher Poindexter and Beau Taplin.
- You can also try your hand at nonfiction books on science, philosophy, and religion. Besides picking up new words, you will also learn new ways to think.
- Lookup any words you don’t recognise
Just reading will not help you if you do not learn from what you read. Every time you come across a new word, underline it with a pencil. First off, try to read the adjacent sentences and figure out the possible meaning from the context of the text. Next up, look the word up in the dictionary and see if you were right.
The best way to retain the words you learn would be to keep a notebook solely for this purpose. Every time you learn a new word, note it down in the diary along with its definition and a sentence that explains how to use it. Writing and online assignment help will help you remember the words without you having to memorise them.
- Read the dictionary
Besides reading books and magazines, you can straightaway dive into a lexicon if you have the patience for it. For this, you must invest in a good dictionary, preferably Oxford or Collins. The dictionary you choose must offer lengthy explanations along with the origin and use of the word.
Instead of reading from the start, you can play a game of flipping through the pages. Whichever page you land on, pick up a couple of new words from there and note them down. When you learn the root of a word, it will become easier for you touse the word in the correct context.
- Set achievable objectives
Set goals if you are serious about building your vocabulary. Try to learn one or two new words every day and use them in your writing or conversation the following day. Do not forget the application part, for your vocabulary will not improve if you cannot put what you learn to use. When you have a goal to meet, you will inadvertently give in conscious effort.
You can use memorisation techniques like flashcardsto make a habit of learning new words. Hang post-it notes with the new words you have learnt and write the definition on the other side. Next, stick the side of the notes, which have the word written on it above your desk and other places in your room. Try to guess the meaning, and then check if you got it right.
- Write more
Reading extensively may help you pick up new words, but your writing skills will put your vocabulary strength to use. If you want to flex the logophile muscle in your body, start journaling or blogging blog actively. You can also go old-school and write detailed letters and emails to old friends.
Try some fun exercises, like writing autobiographies for inanimate objects. For example, a fun task would be to write an autobiography about your phone complaining about how you drain it out to its last energy cell. Here is a list of some excellent journal topics you can consider. You can try your hand at penning down limericks or copywriting for catchphrases (which might bring you some money as well).
- Use accurate adjectives and precise nouns
If you want to be a good writer, you must aim for concision and accuracy. This means you need to nail your choice of words every time. Get out the thesaurus and use the most accurate word in place of a chain of three words. For example, instead of writing flowers, trees, shrubs, animals, insects and birds, you can write flora and fauna. Again, you can use the word cetaceans instead of writing ‘dolphins and whales.’
Try to avoid the word very as much you can. Instead of writing very beautiful, write ethereal. When describing someone’s voice, use mellifluous in place of verysweet. Other than learning new words, pick up new phrases and learn them to use in everyday conversation. In this case, here is a list of idioms and phrases to start with.
- Solve word puzzles and play word games
You have no idea how many words you may learn by solving word puzzles. For instance, I learnt that the picks of a fork are called tines from a word puzzle. Since the puzzle creators use an array of unusual words, you will surely increase your word knowledge while having a lot of fun.
There are several apps where you can solve hidden word puzzles and crosswords. Other than building your word knowledge, puzzles will also help you improve your critical thinking skills. You can try Scrabble, Cranium or Boggleto extend your vocabulary.
If you are looking for a shortcut, I’m sorry, but there is none. When it comes to word building, you need to invest time. However, making the steps mentioned above a part of your daily life can certainly quicken the process for you. You can also try learning the basics of Latin. Knowing the root and linguistic essence of a word can help you strengthen your vocab in the long run.
That said, remember that you are not learning new words to sound pompous or flex your strong vocabulary. Do not use your flashy vocabulary forcefully to make your writing complex. The key is to use the right words at the right place. So, be a pro essay help writer by knowing where to use your advanced vocabulary.