How To Increase Your Vocabulary

The older you get to be (and the more time you spend “out there in the world”), the more you come to realize that your English teachers were not just blowing smoke when they told you that it would be useful to have an extensive and well-rounded vocabulary. At the same time, however, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do in order to increase your vocabulary at this point, especially when you are no longer being “given assignments” that require you to learn new words.

The first thing you need to realize about increasing your vocabulary when you are no longer in school is that you are not being “graded” on how well you can define a particular word, which means that you do not need to be able to give a word-for-word definition of what a particular word means; rather, you simply need to be able to use words correctly, and you need to understand what people are meaning to say when they use a particular word.


When students are in school, they think it is funny that people tell them to increase their vocabulary by reading, as they wonder how reading the word will help them if they do not know what the word means; of course, the reason students feel this way is because they are used to having to “define” words, but once you no longer need to create word-for-word definitions, reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary.

Another excellent way to expand your vocabulary is by listening to such radio stations as National Public Radio, or by listening to talk radio stations, or even by listening to books on tape; as you start spending more time with “words” instead of with “music,” you will become more comfortable with them.

And of course, the best way of all to learn new words is by studying – and even though you are no longer in school, and therefore no longer “have to” study words, taking the time to do this can go a long way in improving the vocabulary you have to work with!