It’s probably my inner capitalist that makes me want to keep getting better at life. And it’s probably just my inner nerd that makes me want to specifically improve my vocabulary. While something as simple as ones vocabulary may not seem like anything that carries much weight in American culture, I believe that it’s more important than we believe. Being able to express yourself with more than a handful of adjectives can make you better at communicating with your family, friends, and coworkers. Having a larger vocabulary can also make you more interesting to talk to. (Dating?)
So here are a few easy ways to ramp up your vocabulary. They’re pretty simple and easy, but at the same time, they aren’t fast. They take patience, and consistency.
The first way to improve your vocabulary is to READ. Read a LOT. Keep a book in your car and take it with you when you know you’ll have a few minutes to read a page or two. Sitting in a waiting room? Put away your iPhone and pick up a book. Also – read things that are outside of your comfort zone. Magazines are great, but try to pick the right ones. Maxim is an entertaining magazine for guys, but Forbes or The Economist might be more intellectually stimulating. Over time, after reading words over and over, you’ll start to use them in your speech.
WRITING is a way to speed up what you learn reading. When you read you slowly begin to remember the words and start to use them in speech, but it’s easier to use those new words in writing. You don’t need to be a professional author or journalist to write. Something as simple as a personal journal or diary can help. Another option – blog. Blogging is great because you can write and stay social at the same time, and being social online is something that is super important to young people.
Pick up a DICTIONARY. Do you ever read a word and not know what it really means? Grab your dictionary and look it up! Knowing what a word means helps you know how to actually use it. It also prevents you from using the word in the wrong context. Using words the wrong way can actually make you sound dumber than if you had just used more common words in the first place.
TALK with smart people. If you only hang around the same people day after day, you can’t expect to pick up new ways to talking. Talk to older people. Start a conversation with an older coworker. Make friends with a bookworm. Different people not only improve your vocabulary, they enrich your life. Expand your circle of friends to expand your vocabulary.