By Rachel Lower
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #1
You can find many different vocabulary tests online, including the free Vocabulary Web Games , which was named as a Web English Teacher Outstanding Resource. Follow that link for vocabulary quizzes that mirror SAT questions. SAT Vocabulary resources online, in books, and at your library can be very helpful resources for improving your vocabulary.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #2
Learn a Foreign Language
Knowing Spanish, you can also read to some degree in other romance languages because many words are related and spelled similarly. Having a basic knowledge of other foreign languages, not necessarily fluency, can help you grasp related languages and even help you with English. You'll notice words derived from other languages that are used in English and English words that have been adopted by other languages. Being bilingual is a plus for many job fields too. Young children find language acquisition much easier than adults, so teaching them early is an idea worthy of consideration.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #3
Know your Grammar
It is important, not only to know what words to use, but how to use them. Learning the rules for the words, and how they are categorized, is as important as adding new terms to your vocabulary. Children pick up on grammar rather loosely in the early years. Early on they will confuse rules or use them universally, often adding "-ed" to everything. "I eated my dinner". I found it so sweet when one of my nephews would say "Hold you!" when he wanted to be picked up. During the school years children are taught basic grammar. Older children can add to that, and all of us should try to refresh our knowledge of grammar now and then. Much of it comes automatic after having grammar drilled into us throughout our school years, but we still forget certain rules and terms. If you have to think for more than a second about what an "adverb" is or whether you should use "But" at the start of a sentence, it's time for that refresher course.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Idesa #4
Use your Thesaurus
Frequent use of your thesaurus, whether the book in your hands or the handy dandy Microsoft word tool, can make for an immense/ample/tremendous/colossal/enormous/vast/extensive increase in your vocabulary. I can directly pin my learning the word "ostracize" to the Thesaurus function in MS Word.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #5
This idea is related to #4, because we do write with the words that we already know, so writing alone does not do that much for our vocabulary. However, using the thesaurus to replace boring or over used words and learning words through research for what we are writing about make it an effective way to add to your vocabulary.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #6
Look it up
Recently the word "groping" came up in the news. My husband seemed to think groping meant "eyeing" someone in a certain way. I always believed it had meant grabbing someone in "a certain way". For a week or so I replaced my definition of it, until I looked it up online and saw that I had been right the entire time. If you are unsure of a word meaning, look it up!
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #7
Similar to #6, sometimes when we are talking or emailing with friends they will use a word we are unfamiliar with. There is no reason to be ashamed of asking what the word means. I've had to do this many times, and have never been told "you dummy, look it up".
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #8
Love music? Why not find a "Music Terms" dictionary or a glossary at the end of an informative music book. You should be able to find those for most, if not all, of your interests. Next time you bring up music, you'll have a few fancy words to through in like "harmony". No doubt you've heard the word, but how many of you really know what it means? The fact that you're interested in the topic that the words are related to will make learning them easier. The fact that you are interested in those topics may also have you using the words more often.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #9
Slang is Fun
Every culture, every subculture, has its slang. It can be fun to learn the non-offensive slang from other countries. Here (some words are offensive, so you'll want to hand pick them yourself if you want to teach your child some Brit slang) is one online slang dictionary. Absobloodylutely barry!
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #10
I am aiming for an Anthropology degree some day, and in the meantime hope to learn as much as I can about the topic. I find that I am learning over ten new words every day, "ethnocentrism", "ethnology", "pastoral", "sustainable development", and so on. Along with learning about a new topic or learning a new hobby come new vocabularies. Not to mention, learning keeps you're brain from shrinking through lack of use.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #11
Vocabulary Building Software
There is plenty of pre-packaged word power software out there.
MORE Improving Vocabulary Ideas #12
Watch more intelligent TV
Some shows have characters that have the vocabulary of a six-year-old while others raise the bar. Law and Order will introduce terms from Law and crime. CSI will introduce forensic terms. Creature shows will teach your kids new animal and biological terms. Educational shows almost always introduce new words. Even the comedy and drama shows you watch may be either using more complicated terms and witty expressions or may be less that high school level. If you pay close attention, you can see the differences. Just take a pen and paper and pick a few shows, some you might call "smart" and some more mainstream or that you may even call "dumb", make a mark for each term that is more complex or somewhat foreign to you. If you watch the financial/stock news for sometime, you'll pick up on all of their terms. Same for the cooking channel, medical shows, etc. What you watch doesn't always go in one ear and out the other. Pick shows that you have to pay attention to understand.
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12 Ideas for Improving Vocabulary
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