The words and phrases you have at your disposal with which to describe and understand the world have a major impact on nearly every facet of your life. Whether in your personal or professional life, having an expansive vocabulary makes you a better communicator and understander of ideas. With that in mind, below are some tips for improving your vocabulary that you can act on right now.
Play Word Games
One of the best ways to work on your vocabulary while having fun and stimulating your mind is to play word games. Games like Scrabble, which continue to be highly popular even in the era of digital media, provide opportunities to learn new words and the more you play, the more you learn.
If you are new to Scrabble, especially if you find yourself up against more experienced players, and are struggling to come up with letter combinations, there are tools out there like Unscramble X that help you combine your tiles into all of their potential permutations.
By far the best way to improve your vocabulary is to read continuously. While the size of your lexicon is always going to be impacted by your verbal intelligence, the more new words, phrases and expressions you are exposed to in what you read, the deeper your vocabulary will become. Almost every good writer you care to think of is also an avid reader. Some studies even suggest that people who read for at least thirty minutes a day, thanks to the cognitive boosting benefits of reading, may actually live longer than people who don’t.
At the end of the day, how much new language you absorb as you go about your life really depends on how curious you are to know what these words and phrases mean. If you encounter a word that you have never seen but aren’t willing to go to the effort to get the definition, you are unlikely going to be able to use it in your speaking and writing or understand it when you encounter it in the future. The point of exposing yourself to new language is, after all, to learn it, not just to see it.
Luckily, it is easier than ever to find out what new words and terms mean. Most of the reading we do now takes place online, which means consulting the dictionary is as easy as opening a new tab and typing out the word in question followed by “definition” and Google will instantly provide you with all the information you need. Keep in mind that you used to have to pick up and flip through the dictionary if you wanted the definition of a new word.
It really does not take much work to improve upon and add to your vocabulary. You can play word games like Scrabble, read for thirty minutes a day and, importantly, follow up on any new language you are unfamiliar with. Do all three of these things on a regular basis and you are guaranteed to improve your written and verbal communication skills.