Episode #2 of the course “The basics of English writing”
The most basic building blocks of writing are words; the more words you know, the easier it will be to write. Having a large collection of words to choose from will not only improve your speech and writing, but writing will also become significantly easier.
Now, don’t run out and buy a “Word of the Day” calendar and think you’ll have a lovely new vocabulary by December 31. While it’s a fun exercise, it’s not particularly helpful. There are better strategies to build up your knowledge base and expand your word options.
The easiest way to improve your vocabulary? Read. Read. And read. Make it your goal to read a certain number of books in a month or a week. Pick up classics rather than hot new “easy reads.” Subscribe to scholarly publications. Read biographies about successful individuals you admire. The best way to learn new words is to immerse yourself in words. Luckily, this is a cheap (or free!) way to gain knowledge. You can check out books from your local library or subscribe to Kindle Unlimited or a similar service to get e-books.
Become close acquaintances with a thesaurus or dictionary. Whether you keep a dictionary on your desk or bedside table or add an app to your phone, this is a smart thing to do. Whenever you come across a word you’re unfamiliar with, make a habit of looking it up and learning the word’s definition. If you do this consistently over a long period, chances are you’ll be reaching for the dictionary less and less frequently.
Take up crossword puzzles. Whether you save your local paper for the puzzle at the back or find them online, crosswords (and other word games) can be a good way to pass time and grow your vocabulary.
Learn another language. Obviously this is the most costly and time-consuming of all the suggestions, but it’s probably the most effective. Learning another language can help students grasp concepts about their native language. Studying Greek and Latin can be especially helpful, since many of our words originate from those two. While the fastest way to learn a language would be to take an intensive course or fully immerse yourself in that particular culture, those are obviously expensive options. However, there are plenty of more convenient ways to study foreign languages. Through the magic of technology, there are many free or cheap options to learn a new language at your own pace. Free apps like Duolingo offer several language options and use games and other fun ways to study a new language.
Now get out there and impress everyone with your expanded vocabulary!
“The Big Book of Words You Should Know: Over 3,000 Words Every Person Should be Able to Use (And a few that you probably shouldn’t)” by David Olsen
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