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  • Writer's pictureThe English Coach

3 ways you can improve your vocabulary

Updated: May 13, 2022

"๐ˆ ๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฅ๐ข๐ณ๐ž ๐ˆ'๐ฆ ๐ง๐จ๐ญ ๐š '๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ฅ' ๐๐Ÿ ๐ฅ๐ž๐ฏ๐ž๐ฅ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฎ๐๐ž๐ง๐ญ. ๐‡๐จ๐ฐ ๐œ๐š๐ง ๐ˆ ๐ฆ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐š๐ฐ๐š๐ฒ ๐Ÿ๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ ๐ฎ๐ฌ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐ฌ๐š๐ฆ๐ž ๐ฐ๐จ๐ซ๐๐ฌ ๐ซ๐ž๐ฉ๐ž๐š๐ญ๐ž๐๐ฅ๐ฒ ๐š๐ง๐ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฏ๐ž ๐ฆ๐ฒ ๐ฏ๐จ๐œ๐š๐›๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ?"

One of my students asked me this question the other day, and I wanted to share my answer with you should you have the same problem.

How can I improve my vocabulary?

Firstly, I need you to understand that it will be difficult to move away from a habit that has taken years to create. Until now, you have been accustomed to using the same vocabulary that has served you well. You were able to communicate, understand others and deal with most situations likely to arise whilst traveling in an area where English is spoken.

Now, you understand that you need more. You want to present clear, detailed descriptions of a wider range of subjects related to your field of interest and explain your viewpoint with a higher degree of spontaneity, feeling more confident and professional.

This is the dilemma most intermediate-level students find themselves in when they start using English at work. In these types of contexts, you often find the need to expand your vocabulary and understand more complex conversations but often don't have the time to study.

How can you improve your vocabulary if you're learning on your own or not taking English lessons and don't have much time?

Here are 3 suggestions I have for you.

  • ๐˜‹e๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ ๐˜ข ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ช๐˜ต. Vocabulary building is almost effortless when you encounter words in context. Use apps that you can carry around with you on your mobile phone.

  • ๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ท๐˜ฐ๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ถ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜จ๐˜ข๐˜ฎ๐˜ฆ๐˜ด. These are a fun way to learn new words. There are many you can play whenever you have 5/10 minutes free in between meetings.

  • ๐˜—๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ฆ using new vocabulary in an actual sentence you may use at work or whenever you speak English. Observe how your colleagues are using the language, take notes, and try to use the same language yourself.

Whenever you encounter new vocabulary, ask yourself how the word is being used. Notice the words around it and try to understand the grammatical role the word is playing within the sentence. Is it a noun? Is it a verb? Is it an adjective? Is it an adverb? Is the word formal or informal? How is it pronounced?

Look the word up in a dictionary and see other examples of the word in use. Would you be able to use the word in a sentence of your own?

Here are two online resources that can help you learn vocabulary better:

  1. on this website, you'll find the phonetic respelling of the word.

The phonetic respelling will show the stressed syllable in bold and it may be easier to understand the sounds you need to make to pronounce the word properly.

You can also see the difficulty level of the word: Elementary Level, in this case.

2. Another great online resource to help improve your vocabulary is

This site will search for videos in which people use the word you're looking for. Moreover, you can filter your search by selecting the English variants you're more interested in learning: British English, American English, Australian English, and many others.

๐—ง๐—ข๐—ข ๐—•๐—จ๐—ฆ๐—ฌ? There are many ways reading can take up merely 15 minutes a day. Here are just a few apps I've used with my students that can help you.

The first one I recommend is ๐…๐‹๐”๐„๐๐“๐”. This app gives you access to real-life language through video. You can make flashcards and play games. I love it for learning German, but it costs Euro 20 a month. Here's a link for you to use if you decide to join:

The second app that I recommend is ๐—•๐—Ÿ๐—œ๐—ก๐—ž๐—œ๐—ฆ๐—ง. This app, not actually designed for language learners, offers book summaries of many popular self-improvement books. There is both a paid and free option. Blinkist will share one free book a day if you use the free option. If you subscribe, you have access to almost all the book summaries in their library. Here is a link for this app:

The third app I enjoy is ๐•๐จ๐œ๐š๐›๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ.๐œ๐จ๐ฆ. This website is a dictionary for learning where you can sign up for a word of the day email ๐Ÿ“ง newsletter, play word games and create your vocabulary lists. Here is the link to the app download:

The key to using any of these or other applications to help you develop your vocabulary is *๐‚๐Ž๐๐’๐ˆ๐’๐“๐„๐๐‚๐˜*. Use them as regularly as you can within your schedule, but routinely.

Does that make sense to you?

Let me know in the comments below:

๐–๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐จ๐ญ๐ก๐ž๐ซ ๐ช๐ฎ๐ž๐ฌ๐ญ๐ข๐จ๐ง๐ฌ ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ข๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ซ๐จ๐ฏ๐ข๐ง๐  ๐ฏ๐จ๐œ๐š๐›๐ฎ๐ฅ๐š๐ซ๐ฒ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฒ๐จ๐ฎ ๐ฅ๐ข๐ค๐ž ๐ฆ๐ž ๐ญ๐จ ๐š๐ง๐ฌ๐ฐ๐ž๐ซ?


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