5 easy ways to expand your English vocabulary

A close-up image of a dictionary page.

Image  by PDPics.  CC0

Read Original Version (CLB5+) You are reading the Simple Version (CLB3-4)

Skip to:

Read

  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, or magazines.
    • Read a magazine. There is one for every hobby or interest. Choose one that you are most interested in.
  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 them 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. Play puzzles, word searches and quizzes online. You can 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.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Language Circle: Service Dogs

The flapped t

Ever heard of the flapped t? Attend this workshop to find out all about it!

Language Circle: Living Off The Land

girl presenting freshly-picked vegetables

Language Circle: Cannabis Questions

leaves of cannabis sativa plant

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.