Success in English depends on the range of vocabulary that you can understand and use. In this post there are some tips that you can use to impress people with your amazing range of vocabulary.

Firstly, understand that there are two types of vocabulary knowledge:

  1. Words and phrases that you recognise and understand when you encounter them. We will call this your passive vocabulary.
  2. Words and phrases that you can use in writing and speaking to express your thoughts. We will call this your active vocabulary.

Clearly, both sets are important, but the first set takes more time and effort to learn.

Here are some tips to increase the range of vocabulary that you are able to use:

  • It takes time and effort to grow your active vocabulary. Understand this and make a commitment to do this.
  • Write lists of your new vocabulary. The more often you keep writing these lists, the easier it will be to remember.
  • Use visualisation to remember new vocabulary. This means that you should consider each item and imagine what kind of picture can represent the word or phrase. Our brains recollect pictures faster and more easily. Plus it is fun!
  • Take action on the word. Make a point to use the word in your regular writing or speaking; drop it into an email, use it in a presentation. You can even make a social media video where you talk about the new words and phrases that you have learned.

Never give up on growing your vocabulary. A wider range of vocabulary offers so many benefits. It gives you much more self-confidence, knowing that you can explain clearly to someone else what is on your mind. It also makes you smarter. Finally, the words you use matter to other people, so the better you use vocabulary, the stronger influence you will have with others and the more powerful your communication skills will be!