6 No-Sweat Strategies to Increase your Vocabulary

Using a variety of words when you communicate will enhance the quality of your personal and professional relationships. When you can convey your thoughts and emotions by using a suitable vocabulary, you can avoid misunderstandings and assumptions.

People often assess an individual’s knowledge base by the words they use. The more articulate you are, the more people want to listen to you and read your perspectives. A wide range of vocabulary means you seek opportunities to learn, to discover, to improve.

Undoubtedly, expanding your vocabulary makes good sense because it brings wonderful benefits. What do you then to widen your vocabulary bank? Here are 6 no-sweat strategies to increase your vocabulary.


1. Deliberately expose yourself to new words.

To build up on a certain skill, it is necessary to have the desire to develop it. Expanding your vocabulary starts with having the decision and the intention to do so.

How can you deliberately expose yourself to new words? Dedicate an hour every day, specifically, for this purpose and set your goal. How many words would you like to learn in that hour? Do you aim to know more idioms, adjectives, or adverbs? What’s your focus? Ask yourself why you want to learn these new words? What are you going to use them for?

How do you want to expose yourself? Is it through listening to a talk, watching a film, or reading a novel? Are you going to practice using these words daily or weekly? 

The key is to give that commitment to expose yourself to new words, determine what you want to learn and regularly use the new words until they become part of your vocabulary.

Have a vocabulary calendar and set a plan. You cannot improve a skill or enrich a knowledge if you are passive about it. You have to be deliberate about it.

2. Read, read, read.

An active and a frequent reader can become an articulate speaker and a proficient writer. Why is this so? When you read, you become familiar with various genres of literature, themes, idioms, jargons, concepts, philosophies, and perspectives. Because of this, you unknowingly get to pick up new words and deposit them in your word bank. As and when the context comes to express what you think and feel, that word you’re looking for will automatically come out in your explanation or conversation.

Take an hour or so and set the intention to read a certain material. Select a frequency and pace that matches your needs and personality. It can be for entertainment or for education purposes. The important thing is to read, read, read. Reading is a receptive process. When you read, you receive insights which are necessary in building your vocabulary and in enhancing your thought process.

Highlight the quotes, encircle the figures of speech, underline the jargons that strike you while reading. Pause and think about the lines you are reading. Do you hold the same view? What do you think goes on in the mind of the author?

3. Listen, listen, listen.

Not everyone likes reading or is interested in literature. If you belong to this type, you can take advantage of the power of listening. Make it a habit to actively listen to the insights around you whether it is from face-to-face or virtual. It’s helpful to be updated with what is happening around you.

Don’t stop with listening. Think about what the speaker says and try to get involved in a conversation. By doing this, you get to accumulate new words and admit them to long-term memory. While listening to yourself speak, you will realize when your words become repetitive or redundant. It will be a cue for you to delve into more words.

Similar to reading, listening is also a receptive process, and as such, you will be able to develop a good base for vocabulary, think more logically, and express yourself well.

4. Write on a journal.

Deliberately exposing yourself to new words is not enough. You have to use the new words you accumulate and one way to do so is by writing on a journal.

Write down the list of words you come across within a week. Write its equivalent in your native language. Write down its meaning and identify its function. Make a sentence using it. Craft a paragraph using 2-3 new words or better yet, draft a story.

Start with short and simple texts and then work your way up.

It does not have to be perfect at the first attempt. The essential thing is to flex your brain cells to actively use the new words you pick up within a certain time frame. You’re learning and strengthening a habit without you realizing it.

5. Keep a dictionary handy.

A dictionary is a great source of vocabulary building. You can know more about a word’s origin, function, synonym, antonym, spelling, and many more. You will be able to stretch your range of vocabulary because you can find out other ways of using a single word.

When you have access to a dictionary, you can always instantly find out what it means. It helps you in short recall and have the right sense of the word. You can even translate the term in your local language.

With the advent of technology, there are many alternatives to a traditional dictionary. There are mobile applications which makes it really convenient and handy. Even when you’re in a coffee shop and you come across a word you don’t know, with a few taps here and there on your phone, you can know the definition right away.

6. Play vocabulary games.

Learning and expanding your vocabulary can also be fun and exciting. You don’t have to do it by yourself. You can challenge others to a game with you and enjoy an element of pleasure.

Why use games? Aside from the excitement it brings, playing a vocabulary game serves as a medium for practice. As the game flows, you learn from your mistakes and from the mistakes of others, too. This enriches your knowledge.

In addition, you can easily recall the words you’ve learned because you will remember the memories you’ve had with your playmates. The laughter and the trials will surely stand out in your memory.

Get farther in life. Leave a good impression on others. Strengthen the quality of your relationships.


What are you waiting for? Take that plunge and increase your vocabulary bank now!

My areas of expertise include Business English, Presentation Skills, Written Correspondence and Literature. When I am not teaching, you may catch me engaged in photography, writing on my blog, reading articles or watching films. I love travelling to various places because it makes me understand the lifestyle, mentality and language of other people. I am an art and culture enthusiast and always take time to try different cuisines and recipes. These hobbies and interests enhance and cultivate my teaching styles. I write about these experiences on my personal blog. What guides me in teaching is the principle of engage, explore and evolve. I like to engage my students in conversations because by doing so I am able to allow them to explore and make mistakes. These mistakes help them improve and become better users of the English language.