What's The Best Way To Increase You Vocabulary?

SamIchi

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Aug 1, 2004
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I was just thinkin' maybe learn a new word a day, Constantly recite the defition, and write it down in a notebook. Anyone have soem good methods?
 

Tahko

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2005
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Finnland
SamIchi said:
I was just thinkin' maybe learn a new word a day, Constantly recite the defition, and write it down in a notebook. Anyone have soem good methods?
Write the word down and try to associate it with something familiar. Then find the word for that familiar thing and make a sentence. After that read it couple of times and speak it out, too.
 

Mitthrawnuruodo

Moderator emeritus
Mar 10, 2004
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Bergen, Norway
Isn't it easier just to read books every once in a while. There's tons of good literature out there. Just lookup any word you have trouble with (Apple's Dictionary is a good place to start). Your vocabulary should increase noticeably in very short time... :)

Edit: Not unlike gwuMACaddict's advice... d*mn... beaten again... ;)
 

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
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Aug 1, 2004
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Mitthrawnuruodo said:
Isn't it easier just to read books every once in a while. There's tons of good literature out there. Just lookup any word you have trouble with (Apple's Dictionary is a good place to start). Your vocabulary should increase noticeably in very short time... :)

Edit: Not unlike gwuMACaddict's advice... d*mn... beaten again... ;)
I don't read books at all... I'm just one of those people, yet I can sit in front of this computer screen for hours. I do look up words in articles i read, but that's about it. I should probably write those down.
 

Applespider

macrumors G4
Reading good books and quality newspapers is definitely the best way to improve your vocabulary since you see the words in context and get some idea of the best way to use them.

While flicking through the dictionary can be fun, you'll never take in the words sufficiently to ever really use them - and who knows whether your random word of the day will ever be useful.

Doing compact crosswords can also be a good way of expanding vocabulary - if not a little frustrating initially.
 

njmac

macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
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My parents made me read the New York Times front page before I went to school. If there was a word I didn't know, I had to look it up, then use it in a sentence. You could try something similar with books, newspapers, magazines.
 

MacHarne

macrumors 6502
Mar 3, 2005
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gwuMACaddict said:
reading lots of different books, with a dictionary handy and nearby, is an excellent way to expand a vocabulary
This here's a winner. And now, with a dictionary in Dashboard, it couldn't be easier.
 

Chundles

macrumors G4
Jul 4, 2005
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SamIchi said:
I don't read books at all... I'm just one of those people, yet I can sit in front of this computer screen for hours. I do look up words in articles i read, but that's about it. I should probably write those down.
Pick up a book and read it, this is the best way to increase "your" vocabulary. Reading is vital, it helps you learn, helps you escape, builds your creativity, expands your horizons; reading does all this and more.

Also, kids that are read to often (as in every night) are shown to be generally brighter than those not read to by their parents so, if you ever have kids, read to them. Having kids is also a great way to build your vocab - you need to find as many ways to say "No" as you possibly can...
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
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Chundles said:
Pick up a book and read it, this is the best way to increase "your" vocabulary. Reading is vital, it helps you learn, helps you escape, builds your creativity, expands your horizons; reading does all this and more.
That is sound advice.
SamIchi, is this in preparation for SATs or some other exam? I've always read books, lots and lots of them (books were the only items my dad would ever allow us to purchse:rolleyes: ) and when it came time for my SATs, I did NONE of those practice vocab drills or anything-- but my English score was fantastic! So reading reallly does help...
 

stridey

macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2005
1,136
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Massachusetts, Connecticut
SamIchi said:
I don't read books at all... I'm just one of those people, yet I can sit in front of this computer screen for hours. I do look up words in articles i read, but that's about it. I should probably write those down.
You know, if you're not really a "heavy reading" person, why don't you ease into it? Try reading buying a collection of the comic "Calvin and Hobbes." Seriously. I know it's "kid's stuff," but that comic had more five dollar words than a lot of "serious" literature I've read. After you're used to that, you can work up to Dickens.
 

cr2sh

macrumors 68030
May 28, 2002
2,554
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downtown
Webster.com offers a word of the day email. Click here to register!

Today's word is:

The Word of the Day for August 1 is:

inselberg \IN-sul-berg\ noun
: an isolated mountain

Example sentence:
Briana tied her hiking boots, adjusted her pack, and looked out across the distance at an inselberg rising abruptly from the flat plain surrounding it.

Did you know?
"Inselberg," which first appeared in English in 1913, comes from the German words "Insel," meaning "island," and "Berg," meaning "mountain," apparently because German explorers thought isolated mountains rising from the plains of southern Africa looked like islands in the midst of the ocean. Geologically speaking, an inselberg is a hill of hard volcanic rock, such as granite, that has resisted wind and weather and remained strong and tall as the land around it eroded away. Ayers Rock and Olga Rocks in central Australia are two spectacular examples of inselbergs. The word "monadnock," derived from the name of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire, is a synonym of "inselberg."
 

~Shard~

macrumors P6
Jun 4, 2003
18,377
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1123.6536.5321
Read, read, read! And not just on the computer either - there's something to be said for reading an actual book, newspaper, magazine, etc. There's something about having a physical copy of material and reading it in that manner which adds to the experience, rather than just scanning text on a screen.

I read books all the time, magazines which actually have substance to them (not trash magazines), and another excellent method is crossword puzzles - I find they keep my mind sharp and build my vocabulary as well.

I think far too many people are spending too much time on the computer and such when it comes to things like this, but that was already discussed in detail in another thread of mine - feel free to have a read through it as well, there were a great number of excellent points made. :cool:
 

Lacero

macrumors 604
Jan 20, 2005
6,639
2
In my younger days, I actually read a hardcover Oxford Dictionary. Then when I came across a word that described an action or expression I knew I wanted to express but didn't know the word, I would memorize it and try to apply the word to everyday conversations. Over time, certain words stick and then they become second nature in daily use.
 

SamIchi

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Aug 1, 2004
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devilot76 said:
That is sound advice.
SamIchi, is this in preparation for SATs or some other exam? I've always read books, lots and lots of them (books were the only items my dad would ever allow us to purchse:rolleyes: ) and when it came time for my SATs, I did NONE of those practice vocab drills or anything-- but my English score was fantastic! So reading reallly does help...
Nope, no SAT's but I probably should have when I was in HS. The english part was hard. This is just for personal gain, and some other reasons.

stridey said:
You know, if you're not really a "heavy reading" person, why don't you ease into it? Try reading buying a collection of the comic "Calvin and Hobbes." Seriously. I know it's "kid's stuff," but that comic had more five dollar words than a lot of "serious" literature I've read. After you're used to that, you can work up to Dickens.
THe only thing I really go into was Manga (japanese comics) but that was about it, and I stopped reading those too. I read read online and magazines. I guess I could give books another shot *sigh*

And thanks for the comments guys.
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
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I did the "word of the day" thing from http://www.m-w.com for awhile. It was nice, but I found that, for me at least, learning words in such an "out of context" way just didn't cut it.

As a kid I read a lot. I've got several hundred books on my shelves that, over time, helped me to develop a better vocabulary.

Quick question for you folks - does someone with a large vocabulary who tends to use obscure words appear to you to be knowledgeable, or just pretentious? I find myself not using "big words," if you will, since I tend to think others look at that unfavorably. As a result, I wonder if my vocabulary has actually atrophied as a result.
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
emw said:
Quick question for you folks - does someone with a large vocabulary who tends to use obscure words appear to you to be knowledgeable, or just pretentious? I find myself not using "big words," if you will, since I tend to think others look at that unfavorably. As a result, I wonder if my vocabulary has actually atrophied as a result.
I concur! Hee. Seriously though, I think a lot of people really do see that sort of diction as condescending. My vocabulary was better in jr high and high school than it is now. Definitely experiencing brain atrophy, over here. :eek:
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
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OTOH, I have added an entirely new dimension to my vocabulary that didn't exist 10 years ago. LOL. ROFL. BTW. IMHO. pwned. ;)
 

FredAkbar

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2003
660
0
Santa Barbara, CA
This is a little different from what most of us are suggesting (and I, too, upon seeing the question, immediately thought, Read!), but last year in HS I took a class called Latin Origins in which you learn hundreds of Latin (and Greek) prefixes and roots. I found that my vocabulary, and especially my ability to figure out what an unfamiliar word might mean, greatly improved. That was way more fun for me than just memorizing random words would have been.
 

emw

macrumors G4
Aug 2, 2004
11,177
0
Ah, etymology. Really is a great idea, if you have the option of attending a class on this. Being able to determine the meaning of a word through either context or component parts is extremely valuable - since you won't always have a dictionary.
 

devilot

Moderator emeritus
May 1, 2005
15,588
1
FredAkbar said:
This is a little different from what most of us are suggesting (and I, too, upon seeing the question, immediately thought, Read!), but last year in HS I took a class called Latin Origins in which you learn hundreds of Latin (and Greek) prefixes and roots. I found that my vocabulary, and especially my ability to figure out what an unfamiliar word might mean, greatly improved. That was way more fun for me than just memorizing random words would have been.
That's a really good suggestion-- learning Latin. Don't know any place around here that offers it though. Sounds like fun. :(
 
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