Tips for Improving Your Vocabulary–Part 1

Have you ever been in a conversation with a peer or boss and didn’t understand what they said due to a deficiency in vocabulary? For most of us, it can be a bit embarrassing to have to ask what a word means in every day conversation. A good vocabulary can serve you well throughout life—whether writing a paper for school or dealing with your boss or coworkers.  

We now know that the brain continues to grow and regenerate throughout adulthood, so there is nothing stopping any of us creating a killer vocabulary at any age. And there are a number of easy things you can do without resorting to trying to memorize the dictionary! Whether you’re a student taking graduation exams or just an ordinary person trying to improve your vocabulary, you can slowly build the necessary skills and increase your word usage during everyday conversations.  

When you start to work on building your vocabulary, it’s really important to have fun. Having a great vocabulary, and constantly building it, is something that can be a very beneficial habit rather than a chore.  

Following are the first five of the top ten suggestions for ways to build your vocabulary enjoyably. The remaining five suggestions will be posted in our January 26 blog post. 

Five Suggestions for Improving Your Vocabulary

 Find things you enjoy reading. Read widely, perhaps trying out reading material that is in a different style than you would normally pick. But don’t force yourself to read material that genuinely bores you. 

  • Look out for new words as you read. Make a game of guessing at their meaning, then looking them up to see if you were right. You can learn a lot about a word from the context in which it is used, but it’s important to make sure you get the correct definition as well. 
  • Listen for new words when people speak. Remember them and look them up later. Or better still, ask when you don’t know what they mean. Most people will love to share their knowledge and will think better of you for wanting to learn than if you just pretend to understand. 
  • Use one of the powerful software products available today to train yourself in important vocabulary power words in a fraction of the time it would take you by more old-fashioned means.
  • When you learn a new word, find an opportunity to practice it as soon as possible. If you don’t find a conversation to use it in, how about using it in an email to a friend? Or you could even just use it when you talk to yourself!

 Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the study, reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds brain fitness programs and cognitive skills training by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at

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