There must be very few people who ever sat down and counted how many words they know, but the average native English speaking adult knows about 20,000–35,000 words. Teens supposedly know about 15,000 words. If we try to account for the gap between teens and adults, we’ll find that one of the reasons has been attributed to teens not knowing a more detailed word of a word they already know. For instance, a teen knows the word “scissors” but they might not use the words “kitchen scissors” or “surgical” scissors.
Whether your vocabulary is 15,000 words or 35,000 words, there are ways to expand it. Have a look at some of those ways.
Don’t shoot the messenger if you don’t like to read, but this is the number one way to improve vocabulary if you are already a native English speaker. For non-native English speakers, the number one way would be to live in an English speaking country, but reading is certainly number one if living abroad isn’t possible. Everyone is interested in a certain subject or topic or has a hobby. You can read about things that you’re passionate about, if reading par say isn’t totally your thing. When you carry out a small research on a topic you like, it will make reading more interesting for you and increase your words.
Learn a word a day
This is a technique that many people use and achieve results through. It can be a random word, or a word that pertains to something specific, say in your work or in a topic that interests you. There are more than enough websites that will welcome your subscription to receive a word a day in your email. There are also plenty of apps that you can download. You typically would be given the word, its meaning, pronunciation, a sample sentence, as well as its earliest usage. This would be a more academic way of increasing vocabulary if this method suits you. Also pay heed to rhyme words, which have different meanings but the same pronunciation. Normally people get confused between center and centre, so check out center and centre compared here solely to increase the understanding of words and vocabolury.
As long as you’re trying to increase your vocabulary, you might as well make it fun! Word games help both native and non-native English speakers. The most popular word game of all times is Scrabble, and there are plenty of online Scrabble games that you can play during your free time. To help increase your score and vocabulary, Unscramble.Online recommends you to utilize all available resources during a game. That includes websites or that can unscramble letters for you, finding out what your best play is with whatever tiles available. With this unscramble tool, you can enter up to 12 letters at a time. With each unscrambling of letters, you will always come out with new words that you don’t know and start learning and practicing those new words. It’s a versatile tool not just for Scrabble, but for other word games as well, and it’s certainly going to be quicker and more efficient than using a dictionary to learn words.
If you’re just relying on your memory to learn new words, how is that going? We only basically remember words because we use them often, but not every new word you want to learn is used that often. If you don’t use them, you’ll forget them, so keeping a word journal either on your phone or a small notebook will be valuable. With every new word you learn, write down the meaning, the pronunciation of it, and a sample sentence. When a word is put into context, it becomes much easier for you to remember it.
Try to inject a new word into your language while you’re speaking; Social media platforms are, in a way, our new speaking platforms when we don’t have anyone to talk to. You can write a status using a new word you learnt, for instance. Try learning words that are important in your daily life, so that they’re easier to use and express yourself with.
Use a thesaurus
If you find you’re using a certain word too much, you can make use of a thesaurus that will basically give you the synonyms of that word. Just a simple word like “bad” will have at least seven other words that are of the same or near-to meaning.
With a little bit of devotion and focus, it’s not that difficult to increase your vocabulary. It’s not just a matter of learning new words, but rather a matter of using them. As they say, “use it or lose it”. No matter how old you are, we’d all like to make learning more fun. You can easily do that when you want to stretch your vocabulary.