The size of your vocabulary is one of the indicators of your command of the language. Having a large vocabulary does not automatically guarantee that one is a good communicator- because the appropriate usage of the vocabulary is even more important- but it certainly helps to have it than not.
The reasons are not too difficult to understand. A big English vocabulary is empowering because it gives the freedom to use different words at appropriate times. Even though the words may be synonyms i.e. have the same meaning, they may differ in the impact they carry depending on the context in which a particular word is used.
Secondly, a good vocabulary can make you a lot more interesting to listen to. Imagine listening to somebody who keeps using the same few words, wouldn’t that be boring and turn you off? On the other hand, would you not prefer listening to somebody who tends to speak fluently in English using a wide range of words? As they say, variety is the spice of life, and this holds true for English vocabulary too!
Another important reason why good vocabulary is important, is that you will be able to understand someone in a much better way. For example, let’s say that you have a very limited vocabulary and you are interacting with someone with a significantly better one. Chances are that you will struggle to understand his English-- what the other person says may very well sound like Greek and Latin to you!
By the way, having a good vocabulary doesn’t only mean knowing and using lots of bombastic words that are not understood by others. That would simply defeat the purpose of communication. Having a good vocabulary means knowing lots of words and how to use them and when.
Speak better English with an improved vocabulary
Is it too difficult to equip your arsenal of English words with lots more? Not if you are willing to diligently make an effort at boosting your English vocabulary. We list some simple tips to help you get started in this endeavour. We are certain that following these tips will result in immediate benefits to both your written and spoken English skills.
❖ Start early - the earlier you start, the easier it is to build your vocabulary. Research shows that it easier to learn a new language or even new words when you are young. The average number of words that a child learns in the first few years is significantly greater than the number of words added to the vocabulary as one ages. The key thing, therefore, is to start immediately instead of procrastinating. Make up your mind to enhance your English vocabulary and get started!
❖ Read a lot of good English books and magazines: Apart from well structured English language classes, regular reading is one of best ways to build a strong vocabulary. As you read books, magazines or periodicals, note down words you don’t know, make a point to check them out in a dictionary and write the meanings down. Make a point to note and learn at least 5 to 10 new words in a day. You can keep flash cards that you can carry with you while traveling, refer to those and refresh the meanings of those words. Very soon, these words will become entrenched in your memory bank!
❖ Understand the etymology (origin) of words: If you understand the origin of certain words, it becomes a lot easier to understand and remember new words. A very good book that helps improve your word power on the basis of understanding etymology that we recommend is “Word power made easy” by Norman Lewis.
❖ Sign up for Merriam Webster’s word of the day e-mail: You’ll get a word per day in your e-mail. Sites like Dictionary.com or Merriam Webster not only provide the meaning of the words but also give their pronunciation and examples of their usage in sentences. That is a certainly a very good way to keep enriching your word bank.
❖ Start using the words in sentences: Last but not the least, start to use the words you have learnt when you speak or write. Unless you start doing that, you will not feel comfortable with those words. It is important that you grow comfortable with the words, so that they become an integral part of your subconscious and you will be able to use those words effortlessly when you communicate in English.
Hope these tips were useful. Stay tuned for more such tips on improving your English communication. Let us know if there are any specific aspects of written or spoken English that you would like to have advice on, and we try to have our English tutors address those concerns.
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-By Chander Madan