5 easy ways to expand your English vocabulary

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Have you forgotten the right English words while talking to someone or during a presentation? It can be frustrating and embarrassing.

If your first language is not English, this may have happened to you. This is why we need to keep expanding our vocabulary. The following are some ways you can do this:


  1. The best way to improve your vocabulary is to read. It is more effective than talking or classroom instruction.
  2. Read shorter materials if you don’t have time or don’t like reading a book.
    • Read newspapers, comic books, even brochures.
    • Read a magazine. There is one for every interest. Choose one that you like.
  3. You can also read:
    • short online articles about settlement (like what you’re doing right now)
    • bedtime stories to your kids
    • signages, advertisements, and posters while you’re on a bus
  4. You will discover new words, idioms and expressions. It will also help you start a good habit.

Do it bit by bit

  1. There are more than 600,000 words in the English language. You can’t know them all at once!
  2. Learning three to five new words a week is a good target.
  3. Choose a theme and learn words for each set.
  4. Learning in small chunks will 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. Remembering and knowing when to use them are harder. Here are some tips:

  1. Use your imagination
    • What does the word remind you of? For example, to remember PACIFY (to calm, soothe or quiet), imagine a calm Pacific ocean.
    • How about CADENCE (regular beat of sound; rhythm)? Imagine people dancing to a beat.
  2. Use your new words 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. Play puzzles, word searches and quizzes online. Start with:

Know the root word

  1. The root word holds the most basic meaning of any word.
  2. Knowing the root word leads you to know more related words and their meanings.
  3. Examples:
    • Audio means sound or hearing. It is related to words like AUDible (able to be heard), and AUDibly (loud enough to be heard).
    • Nov means new. So you have words like NOVel (new), NOVative (of the nature of a renewal) and inNOVate (to bring in something new).
  4. Write these words down on a card or a board to remember them.
  5. Check this site to get root words and their meanings. You will also need a good dictionary.

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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.

Read our Canadian Idioms published regularly.

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