Improving your vocabulary is an essential part of learning a new language. Most students strive to memorize as many words and expressions as possible to become fluent in their target language. However, not everyone realizes how vital a vast vocabulary can be for native speakers as well.
Writing and spoken words, whether from a mother tongue or a second or third language, have the power to transform a person. Hence, everyone, without exception, should work on expanding their vocabulary.
In this article, you’ll discover how to learn new words and phrases through simple, entertaining activities. Our team has gathered the most fun and effective methods so that everyone can find an appealing way to improve their vocabulary with ease.
☝️ Why Is Vocabulary So Important?
Each person has various methods of self-expression, including written and spoken language. The words and phrases that people use reveal the aspects of their personality and demonstrate how well they can elaborate their thoughts and ideas. And that’s just the beginning of the way in which vocabulary influences our lives. There are plenty of other reasons to learn more terms and expressions.
We’ve collected the essential benefits of having a vast vocabulary:
Whether you’re studying a foreign language or talking in your native one, you may struggle to convey your thoughts to other people. If your vocabulary is limited, your speech and writing can become repetitive and vague. Having a large vocabulary, though, can help you to express yourself more clearly. What’s more, you’ll better understand others if you recognize all the words they use.
- It leads to academic achievements.
A student’s vocabulary reveals their level of knowledge and willingness to learn. The more terms and expressions you’ve acquired, the easier it will be for you to study in your field. With an expansive lexicon, you won’t have trouble understanding a lecture or textbook, nailing a test, or writing a paper. Besides, studies show that tutors tend to consider a student’s vocabulary as an indicator of their academic abilities.
- It opens opportunities.
This argument stems directly from the previous ones. Success in any field depends on a person’s communication skills, which, in turn, rely heavily on their vocabulary. This relationship is especially apparent in the business sector. According to studies, every influential figure in the workplace has at least one common trait—they all have an extensive lexicon, which is an excellent tool for persuading and impressing others. Moreover, the language you use directly affects your career and financial status.
- It improves reading comprehension.
Everyone reads, whether for their studies, work, or pleasure. From early childhood, a person learns from books, so it’s vital to understand the expressions used on those pages. Understanding any text starts with recognizing the meanings and implications of the words in it. When an individual has a vast vocabulary, they won’t have problems examining a textbook or enjoying a novel to the fullest.
- It makes you think more logically.
We usually use words to express our ideas, but this phenomenon also works the other way around. Our thoughts can often remain vague until we convey them somehow. What we say and write shapes our ideas into something intelligible. In other words, even our thought process becomes coherent and logical once we express it. Expanding your vocabulary will help you define your ideas more clearly and concisely.
🎊 11 Fun Ways to Learn and Practice New Vocabulary
Now that we’ve covered all the reasons to expand your vocabulary, we can move on to more practical advice. You came here to see how to enjoy studying a language. Let’s talk about how you can learn new words and expressions in a fun and engaging way.
It’s not as challenging as it may appear!
In the following sections, we’ve gathered the most entertaining ways to expand your vocabulary. You might even forget that you’re studying language during these activities.
People read to learn new things, expand their horizons, and experience emotions. However, there are hidden benefits you might never have thought about. For example, improving your vocabulary. Here, you will discover how reading can help you to learn new words.
We shall start with the question: How can you improve your vocabulary by reading?
There are several answers, so take a look at them:
- A reader sees every word in context.
While reading a new book, a person encounters new words through the context of the story. Even if certain words may seem unfamiliar, the reader can easily guess their meaning. You probably won’t even need to use a dictionary!
- Books make you interact with language.
People tend to perceive certain pieces of literature differently in their native language versus a foreign one. This phenomenon occurs due to unique vocabulary, grammar constructions, etc. While reading a book, you interact with the words differently depending on the language. That relationship plays an essential role in learning new words and understanding their use in a broader context.
- Your interest in the subject helps you to memorize new terms quickly.
Do you have a specific subject you are passionate about? Consider diving into that topic in the language you’re learning. Read some books, magazine articles, or online blogs in your field of interest. You won’t even notice when new words become stuck in your brain.
By now, you shouldn’t have any doubts about the usefulness of reading for the expansion of your vocabulary. But how can you take advantage of reading and learn as many new words as possible?
Use our methods:
- Start at the right level. Be realistic! Don’t choose a book that is too difficult for you. You won’t understand anything, and you’ll lose motivation soon. Instead, select something that fits your level of knowledge. As you learn, pick up more advanced literature.
- Read regularly. To see progress, make reading a habit. You don’t need to spend long hours on it every day. Better dedicate 15-30 minutes to reading daily. In several weeks, you will notice how reading became easier and your vocabulary enriched.
- Be attentive. As you read, make sure you comprehend each word separately as well as the entire sentence’s idea. Pay attention to details and find out the meanings of the unknown expressions. Follow the principle of quality over quantity: better read less, but take the maximum advantage from it.
- Mark unfamiliar words. As you read, highlight, or circle every unknown term and phrase in the text. It will help you to keep track of your progress and stay concentrated. Marking unfamiliar words, you can find them later, revise, and repeat.
- Try to guess the meaning. Did you find an unfamiliar word? Don’t take a dictionary! First, try to guess the definition from the context. It’ll make memorizing the meaning quicker as opposed to looking it up immediately.
- Open a good dictionary. You may not guess the meaning from context and need to seek it elsewhere. Make sure you have a good academic dictionary that provides accurate translations or definitions. Remember that it should help you, not confuse you.
- Write the words down. Take a separate notebook or make notes on your smartphone. Writing down the unfamiliar words helps you memorize them as you have them listed in one place. You can always look at your notes and find the definition in a matter of seconds.
Besides, some books will be exceptionally helpful in learning new words. We selected top-five books for effective vocabulary enrichment:
|Books||Reasons to Read|
|The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde||In addition to being a fascinating story, The Picture of Dorian Gray is a source of sophisticated vocabulary. As the readers dive deep into the tragic story, they learn new words and expressions.|
|A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens||A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens is an outstanding novel that carries the readers to a winter wonderland. The book is rich in advanced vocabulary and essential words that are crucial for everyday use.|
|Gulliver’s Travels Jonathan Swift||Get in the lands of Lilliputians and Yahoos together with Gulliver and explore the most sophisticated English words. After reading this novel, you will feel more confident about your vocabulary.|
|Game of Thrones George R. R. Martin||Have you watched this fantasy drama TV series? Why don’t you read the book now? George R. R. Martin’s talent in language usage is worth admiration. The author is exceptionally skilled in adjectives and adverbs choice.|
|The Hound of the Baskervilles Arthur Conan Doyle||Among all Conan Doyle’s stories, this one of the most intriguing. Besides, it is relatively short, easy to read, and full of useful language. You can also watch the BBC’s adaptation of this story to strengthen the effect.|
And the extra prompt from us!
Books are not the only source of new words. How about enriching your vocabulary through social media? Follow accounts on Instagram, join the groups on Facebook, investigate other platforms. Here, you will find a lot of useful insights and understand the everyday language.
In addition to reading posts, go to comments and look through them. If you feel comfortable, you can also leave one yourself or get into a conversation with the other users. Use the potential of social media to the fullest!
📽️ Watching Movies (with Subs)
Watching movies can be not only for educational purposes and for fun, but also to improve vocabulary. Here, we will tell you how to combine business with pleasure.
The benefits of this method are quite understandable:
Some people have better auditory than visual memory, remembering data when it’s pronounced. As the viewer is involved in the process, they tend to keep in mind new information, including quotes and expressions, long after watching. Moreover, it is possible to combine visual and auditory information if you watch a movie with subtitles.
But how do you watch a movie to memorize all the words? It is better to do the following:
Step 1: Choose a movie or sitcom you enjoy. It can be a film with an unexpected ending or a TV-show that’s entertaining and fun. Or there is an actor that you like to see on a screen. Whatever the reason is, you should enjoy the feature enough to watch it several times.
Step 2: Watch it in your native language if you’re studying a foreign language. To start learning new words, watch a movie in your mother tongue first. That way, you will understand the plot of the film. Then, you can dive into the learning process.
Step 3: Watch it again with English or dual subtitles, or get the script. Now that you know what the movie is about watch it with subtitles. This time, pay attention to new words and phrases. If there’s a possibility, turn on the dual subtitles (in the foreign and your native language).
Step 4: Watch one scene at a time. Break the whole movie (or an episode) into fragments and rewatch them several times if necessary. Also, repeat what you hear in the scene to memorize the expressions. Pause whenever and how many times you like.
Step 5: Make sure you understand everything said in the scene. In case you don’t understand the dialogues, rewatch the moment. Pause the scene, process the info, and rewind. If you think the character speaks too fast, adjust the speed level.
Step 6: Look up the meaning of unfamiliar words and take notes. While watching a movie, keep a separate notebook to write down what you’ve heard or learned. Later, you can look up the meaning of the words and revise.
Step 7: Repeat characters’ lines. Try practicing shadowing: repeating what you hear. Make sure to replicate their intonation, speed, and rhythm. Keep practicing until you’re able to repeat the lines from the scene.
Watching movies with subtitles is a lifesaver for those who study a foreign language. It not only helps to memorize new vocabulary, but you’ll get accustomed to real speech and accents as well. Some numerous films and TV-shows are recommended for English learners in particular.
For example, consider the following movies:
|Movies||Reason to Watch|
|Harry Potter||Several movies will present the viewer with the world of magic. Throughout these movies, you will learn the basic vocabulary and the author’s imaginary vocabulary. Some of the words you’ll probably never use, yet some you’ll use quite often.|
|Beauty and the Beast||A great animated movie for kids and adults. If you started learning English, it is the go-to movie for pronunciation. Also, it is a musical. So, get ready for songs stuck in your head on repeat.|
|The King’s Speech||The plot tells us about King George VI, who struggles with a stammer. The main topic of the movie is pronunciation. And what is a better option to learn English than a film where someone practices it?|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||Unique costumes and bright set designs will keep you engaged in the movie from the start. You’ll be entertained enough even if you just started to learn English.|
|Lord of the Rings||It’s a film series based on novels written by J.R.R. Tolkien. The movies will introduce the viewer to the magical world of mythical creatures. Additionally, it will present the reader with the variations in their dialects and vocabulary.|
Besides, some sitcoms can help you learn English. Here you’ll hear not only general vocabulary but the most useful expressions. Everyday English and modern slang will be repeated so many times that you won’t have trouble memorizing it in the right context.
|TV-Shows||Reasons to Watch|
|Friends||You probably have heard of this comedy series that narrates the life of six friends. The show remains quite popular as it’s engaging to watch and easy to rewatch. The sitcom’s lexicon is extremely useful in everyday life.|
|Gossip Girl||The story tells us about the life of rich high school kids and a narrator who remains unknown until the end. The series is an excellent example of casual English used by young Americans.|
|Sex and the City||Fashion, friendship, and romance – it’s all combined in the series. The series is easy and enjoyable to follow. The characters in the show use simple language and everyday expressions.|
|The Big Bang Theory||This TV show is about a group of nerdy friends. They use scientific terminology, yet you don’t need to understand it to enjoy the show. Plus, if you’re interested in the sciences, you might pick up some necessary vocabulary.|
|Grey’s Anatomy||A medical sitcom that will show you the main character’s struggle with romantic relationships, personal and word issues. The show has a lot of dialogues, so it is easier to understand the context. Medical terminology is used quite a lot, but it’s in context, so you’ll have no issues understanding it.|
If you’ve decided to expand your vocabulary by watching movies and TV shows, you are most likely wondering where they can be found with subtitles. Streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime offer all content with an embedded subtitle track in the original language. If the movies you need are not there or you do not want to buy a subscription, you can use one of these free sites:
If you find the movie or series you want without subtitles, you can always download them separately. For example, from Open Subtitles.
📻 Listening to Songs
Paying attention to song lyrics is a no-brainer when it comes to improving your language. But why, though? Why is it more manageable to learn new words and phrases while listening to a tune? In the section, we will elaborate on that and how to take advantage of this feature.
But first, let’s figure out why songs can help you learn new words:
- Useful slang, idioms, and shortened words appear regularly in songs. Native speakers commonly use the words that you hear in songs. While textbooks can help you learn an academic language, popular lyrics will expand your vocabulary with informal words and phrases.
- You hear the pronunciation of each new word. Sometimes it is tricky to get how to pronounce a phrase unless someone says it aloud. Songs are great for this purpose as you hear and memorize pronunciation with the lyrics. Try to imitate the new words you hear in the songs.
- Unfamiliar expressions get stuck in your head. You have no choice but to memorize them. The most popular songs are notorious for being catchy. It is excellent, though, when you want to learn those new phrases and words.
- All the new words are used in context. Not only do you hear expressions, but you perceive them in a sentence. It helps you keep them in mind and implement them in your speech later on. Next time you want to use the new words, you’ll recall how to.
Now let’s solve the practical step-by-step guide. This section of the article will show you how to expand your vocabulary with music in a fun and easy way.
Step 1: Start with a song you are humming to or listen to regularly.
Depending on your language level, you can decide on the genre. For beginners, we recommend starting with some pop music. It is catchy, simple, and has numerous references to the culture of the place it originates from.
Some songs that can help you learn:
- “Formation” by Beyoncé,
- “Can’t stop the feeling” by Justin Timberlake,
- “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes.
If your language level is advanced enough, you can try learning new words with hip hop.
Step 2: Find the lyrics and read them before listening again.
The next step in your learning process is to find the lyrics and read them carefully. There are plenty of websites that publish correct lyrics. Here are just some of them:
Step 3: Identify unfamiliar words and mark them.
If you don’t understand the meaning of certain words, mark them up. It is an excellent habit to have in general. There is a big difference between listening to songs and using them for learning. You have to be curious about the words you do not know.
Step 4: Guess the meaning from the context before checking.
First, try to guess the meaning. If you cannot do that, then go to the dictionary. Do not leave any word unknown since the goal is to expand the vocabulary. After you understand the meaning of the items, translate the entire verse to get an overall sense.
Step 5: Pay attention to pronunciation while listening.
While listening to the song, you should have the lyrics in front of you. Try to mind the pronunciation of the words and phrases. You can also turn on a YouTube video with the lyrics on for easy following.
Step 6: Memorize the lyrics bit-by-bit.
Break apart the song into small parts; it will help you learn it faster. Some pieces are easy to memorize, while some are more difficult. If you can’t learn the entire song by heart, just remember the main parts and the new words.
Step 7: Lip sync and sing along.
Remember that it is about having fun. So, switch on the music and sing along. There are a lot of karaoke apps and websites online. Just pick one and start learning the new words.
🎧 Enjoying YouTube & Podcasts
Whether you want to learn a language or improve your native vocabulary, this method will benefit you. Watching Youtube videos and listening to podcasts is a perfect way to combine fun with learning. Here we will tell you why and how to learn new words by listening to someone’s speech.
Check out the main benefits of the activities to expand your vocabulary:
There are many differences between podcasts and YouTube videos, but they are equal in vocabulary expansion. In both, words and expressions are remembered when listened to. So what are the pros of listening to YouTube videos?
- You’ll listen to natural speech and lexicon in use. When speaking English or any other language, people struggle with pronunciation errors and sentence structures. Watching vlogs or something similar can help understand how the language is used in everyday life. Plus, you might learn to recognize the speech patterns.
- You’ll learn the most useful words and expressions. Languages continuously evolve, so new words and phrases are created quite frequently. The language you study in class might be different from what people use every day. By watching YouTube videos, you’ll learn phrases that people use at that moment.
- You’ll be engaged and entertained. Some students can’t focus on translating or learning the language because they lack motivation or desire. Watching the videos that you enjoy can change the situation. You might not understand every single word but constant exposure to videos expands the vocabulary.
- You’ll hear the speech of appropriate level. In their videos, bloggers often use the language they would use with their friends. It’s simple: no frustrating structures or complicated terminology. Just look for the topic that interests you, and you’ll find something with the appropriate level of language.
- You’ll find out expressions from all around the world. Most languages have their variations, whether it’s a specific dialect, an accent, or idioms of the region. Whatever it is, YouTube will introduce you to it. You’ll get to experience being in different parts of the world while being at home.
To start learning English or expanding your vernacular, check the following YouTube videos:
|YouTube Videos||Reason to Watch|
|LinguaMarina||The channel has videos on how to pass the TOEFL exam or to apply to college effectively. But Marina also talks about pronunciation and English expressions.|
|JenniferESL||Watching JenniferESL’s videos feels like attending a professional language course. Viewers can choose the videos that deal with specific aspects of English or accept one of her channel’s challenges.|
|Bob the Canadian||Bob’s videos show everyday life. He uses simple English and subtitles in his videos. His videos are enjoyable to watch, and Intermediate speakers will understand them with ease.|
|Speak English with Mr. Duncan||Mr. Duncan’s YouTube channel had many videos on many topics in British English. Lately, he hasn’t been doing short videos. Instead, he is making free live streams during which you can ask questions of interest.|
|To Fluency||Instead of teaching English, this channel focuses on tactics on how to learn English. So, if you’re into “life hacks,” you’ll enjoy the videos.|
The benefits of podcasts are the same as with the movies: you get to hear new vocabulary in context. You can listen to them on the move and choose various available topics. Besides, they often come with a transcript so you can listen and read at the same time.
How to use podcasts for vocabulary learning:
- Pick a podcast of interest. There are plenty of podcasts on various topics. Think of something that might be interesting to you. To make the most out of the learning process, you have to make sure that the topic interests you.
- Listen without a transcript. Try not to use any aid when listening to the podcast for the first time. That way, you will try to understand the podcast from the context.
- Listen the second time with the transcript. Reading and listening to the podcast is quite beneficial for comprehending the information. You get information through two different channels – eyes and ears. So, the material is easier to assimilate.
- Change the speed if necessary. If it is hard for you to comprehend what is being said, slow down the podcast’s speed. Otherwise, you can speed up if you wish to challenge yourself.
- Create your vocabulary list. Get yourself a book or a notepad, where you will write down every new word or expression. Preferably, you should reread it from time to time to memorize it better.
- Practice shadowing. Shadowing is a technique where you listen to a speech in a language and then repeat it simultaneously with the speaker. Keep practicing until you confidently can pronounce the text at the same speed as the recording.
And here is a list of the best podcasts for learning English:
|English Level||Podcasts||Reason to Listen to|
|Elementary Level||Espresso English||Listening to Espresso English is a fun and easy way to learn English a little bit every day. The lessons are 5-10 minutes, and you choose when you want to study.|
|Voice of America||The programs are narrated at a slower speed than they usually would. Each program focuses on a specific topic, like pop culture or history. One will easily find a program of interest here.|
|Intermediate Level||6 minutes English||The episodes of this podcast discuss everyday situations. The topics are entertaining, and each episode has a transcript and a vocabulary list.|
|Podcasts in English||You’ll find podcasts for every English level on the website. Plus, if you’re short on time but still want to learn English, each episode is under 5 minutes and addresses exciting topics.|
|Advanced Level||The English We Speak||The program focuses on idioms and expressions. Every episode concentrates on the discussion about one fun and popular idiom. Plus, the sayings are usually presented in the context.|
|All Ears English||The episodes are 10 to 15 minutes long and are fun and relaxing. Two speakers share their knowledge of English idioms, phrasal verbs, expressions, and their usage. Plus, they explain some rules of American etiquette and culture.|
😜 Learning Jokes and Puns
If you want to learn new words in the most fun way, this section of the article is for you. Here we’ll show you how you can improve your vocabulary using puns and jokes.
With jokes, you will learn or improve the language without concentrating much on grammar or textbooks. Instead, you will be presented with slang words and up-to-date expressions.
Besides, puns and jokes:
- Introduce the cultural characteristics of the country of the target language.
Jokes are a part of most cultures. These are used in an academic environment, workplace, or at home. By being introduced to the jokes from a specific region, you’ll feel more comfortable in that environment.
- Encourage communication and help to integrate into the team.
With the knowledge and appreciation of jokes, you’ll be able to integrate into the company. You will giggle with your acquaintances, understanding why everyone is amused.
- Suitable for natives and foreigners.
For people who learn the language, jokes are a perfect option to understand the language better. For native speakers, they help to improve vocabulary, spelling, and correct pronunciation.
You can expand your vocabulary with the following jokes:
|I wondered why the tennis ball was getting bigger. Then it hit me.||A: Knock, knock! |
B: Who’s there?
B: Lettuce who?
A: Let us in! We’re freezing.
|A bicycle can’t stand on its own because it is two-tired.||A: Knock, knock! |
B: Who’s there?
B: Kiwi who?
A: Kiwi go to the store?
|I used to be addicted to soap, but I’m clean now.||The problem with kleptomaniacs is that they always take things literally.|
|Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat says to the other, “You stay here. I’ll go on a head.”||So what if I don’t know what “Armageddon” means? It’s not the end of the world.|
|Did you hear about the fire at the circus? The heat was in tents.||A: Knock, knock|
B: Who’s there?
B: Figs who?
A: Figs the doorbell, it’s broken!
📍 Solving Riddles
Riddles tend to get stuck in a person’s brain. That’s why it is such a useful way of learning new words. In this part of the article, you will find out how to use riddles to expand your vocabulary.
Why are they great for acquiring a new lexicon?
- They help to learn about multiple meanings of the same word. Many English words sound similar but have different meanings. Solving riddles can help students learn both spelling and definition depending on the context.
- Riddles boost your creativity, logic, and thinking out-of-the-box. Solving them, you can’t find the correct answer without imaginative reasoning. Thus, it is one of the best ways to learn new words and to boost your creativity.
- They make you realize how a language “thinks” and works by showing you its tricks. You also have to use your intuition a lot when solving the riddles. If you pay close attention, it will teach you how the language functions.
- They teach you to use the given clues. Riddles also make you use the clues you have. It makes you more attentive to the hints and details.
Let’s see what riddles can help you learn all of these:
- Which five letter word becomes shorter when two letters are added to it?
- What is the only word in the English language that ends in mt?
- What kind of clothes do lawyers wear?
- What four days of the week start with the letter T?
- Which two keys cannot open any doors?
- Which word has the most letters in it?
- The word contains three letters, but if one is taken away, it has four left. What is it?
- How far can you walk into a forest?
- Change a long pause to a short pause by doubling a letter. What are the two words?
- I am a message, I am a stand, and I am a station. What am I?
- Letter: if you read them all backward, “letter” is the only one that does not make another word;
- Tuesday, Thursday, today, and tomorrow;
- “Ivy” because you can take Y away to be left with IV, which is four in Roman numerals;
- One step. Then you’re walking through the forest;
- Coma -> Comma;
🧩 Trying Word Games & Exercises
Once you start researching a new skill you wish to develop or improve, you can see numerous articles advising you games to play. As let’s be honest, you probably have a lot on your plate. You may not desire to study in your free time or enroll in a course, and it’s okay. Today, learning via games and fun exercises is a new norm, highly effective, and accessible. So here we’ll show you how to expand your vocabulary this way.
To find the perfect game for learning a new lexicon, consider the following categories:
As a method to learn new words, playing board games have apparent perks because it’s a social activity. Making it a tradition, you can meet up with your friends and family members each week and expand your vocabulary together. The competitive aspect of board games can help you stay motivated to learn even when you are not playing.
Here are some great board games that can help you learn while having fun:
- Kloo. You can play it with a group or alone. It’s a trendy card game where you have to come up with a sentence only having the cards on hand.
- Scrabble. Everyone knows this game. It’s a top-rated finder board game that has players earn points by creating words.
- Spot It! A great game to teach basic vocabulary. To play, you have to get two cards and match the image with the word. It’s fantastic for the young players.
- Bingo. You can create your version of the game by coming up with the list of words you have been learning. One person can be a host, and the rest can try their luck. Otherwise, the rules of the classic Bingo should apply.
- Taboo. Another great board game for English learners. In this game, players have to explain the word without uttering it. It encourages speaking and chatting.
If you don’t like to play board games or don’t have a group of people to play with, online games can help you. There are plenty of them available, most of which are free of charge and very engaging. You will start, and the next thing you know—your vocabulary expanded significantly.
Here are some of the online games for you to try:
- The Book of Treasures. A highly engaging game that has a full plotline. Here, you have to complete different tasks while practicing your spelling skills.
- Semantic Wars. In this game, you will have to guess words letter by letter. It is very similar to the game called “Hangman.” However, here, you win gold and buy armor to destroy your opponent’s castle.
- Wordner. You can play with the community online, so it’s fantastic during the pandemics. This game is a great way to learn how to contextualize words.
- Just Type This. If you feel like you want to practice typing and spelling skills at the same time, give this game a try.
- Kick the Word. This game aims to kick the odd words out of the list. They belong to the same category except one.
Vocabulary Building Apps
Technology changed the way we learn. Now, it also applies to the way we expand our vocabulary.
The main advantage of apps for learning new words is their portability. We can play games on our phones when commuting, waiting in line, or during our lunch break. Besides, apps can keep track of your progress, showing how many words you have learned. And if you have a hectic schedule, they can remind you to study via push notifications.
These seven apps will be helpful in your learning process:
- Vocabulary.com is a game and a learning tool that uses a sophisticated mechanism to tailor questions and words for you. You can choose the words manually, or the app will do it for you.
- Magoosh Vocabulary Builder is one of the most popular apps for expanding your lexicon. It is a test preparation tool that will help you to improve your GRE score. However, you can use this app even without a test in mind.
- Words with Friends is a multiplayer word game. It is very similar to Scrabble, and even the rules are almost identical.
- Quizlet is an app for teachers and students alike. Here, you can create your flashcard and practice what you are learning on the go. You can also use other people’s cards and sets.
- A Word a Day will bring a new term or expression every single day. It’s easy and does not take much time to find out the word of the day today.
- 7 Little Words is an entertaining game that helps you expand your vocabulary. Here, you should match seven words with seven clues.
- PowerVocab is a definition matching game in which you can score points and earn prizes. The players should match words against multiple-choice definitions. In this app, you are competing against others against the clock.
Plenty of people solve crossword puzzles as their leisure-time activity, and it is for a reason. This hobby is both relaxing and beneficial for a person, significantly when expanding one’s vocabulary. In this section, we’ll talk about how it works.
When we’re discussing crossword puzzles regarding improving vocabulary, we have to elaborate on the excellent pros and cons:
|Scientists say that it is beneficial for the left side of your brain.||Depending on your vocabulary size, it might be challenging to find crosswords that will stretch yours.|
|When you discover new words in the crosswords, you tend to memorize them.||A lot of words will not help you in your everyday life. Those will be useful only for solving other crosswords.|
|In crosswords, you see the same word repeated numerous times, which makes memorization more manageable.||If you solve a lot of crosswords, repeatedly seeing the same words can become tiring.|
In other words, we consider crossword puzzles helpful if you solve the ones appropriate for your level. It will help you to develop language intuition because you will have to guess words using clues.
Your current vocabulary will benefit greatly as well while you are retrieving new terms. Retrieving process is what your brain needs to memorize concepts and terms. Some people prefer to use flashcards, but crosswords can be an excellent alternative.
For crossword puzzles to expand your vocabulary, you have to find the right ones. You can use the following websites and apps to pick them:
- Crossword Quiz. This app uses different types of clues: pictures, word descriptions, and even emojis sometimes. You will have a lot of fun throughout the process.
- Penny Dell Crosswords. In this app, you will find three different difficulty levels. You also will be able to access three crosswords each day.
- Crossword Puzzle Free – Redstone. This app has many puzzles and crosswords that allow you to use clues and hints if you get stuck.
✅ Taking Vocabulary Quizzes
If you’re serious about improving your vocabulary but not about preparation, this method is for you. Taking online vocabulary quizzes doesn’t require any additional time or effort from you: choose an examination and start learning. That’s it! Here we’ll talk about other advantages and disadvantages of the option for memorizing new words.
|They test the words you’ve learned. Quizzes allow you to see the real progress. You will be able to see if you can easily use the new English words or not.||You’ll need to combine quizzes with other tools to learn new words. Quizzes are great for testing, but it is not the place to start. You have to practice and improve your vocabulary before trying.|
|The quizzes online are mostly free of charge. You can find free quizzes on the Internet without any problem. There are plenty of websites designed for English learners.||Some quizzes are not of the best quality. There are also a lot of low-quality quizzes. Be careful when choosing a resource online.|
Now let’s see how to use this method:
- Pick an online quiz. You can start by going to the popular learning websites.
- For example, there is a website called Free Rice. This website is a part of the World Food Program. For each correct answer, the organization will donate 10 grams of rice to fight hunger in the world. The game is designed simply: you get a word and four synonyms to it. You have to guess the right synonym.
- Another website you can use is Quizlet. You can practice anything you want on the website. There are plenty of quizzes for English learners too.
- Cram is the third website you can use to look for examinations. However, it has much more than that. You can also create your flashcards.
- If you want to expand your vocabulary in different directions, try checking out English Club. It has plenty of quizzes listed by topic and subject.
- Make your own. In case you didn’t find the perfect quiz, you can make one your own. You can do it by making some flashcards. Then spread them around and pick the cards randomly. You can also look for apps that allow you to create your flashcards.
👋 Communicating with People
Engaging in simple conversation can help you discover new terms and expressions. Once a new word comes up in a conversation, make sure to write it down later and learn it.
Regarding vocabulary building, communicating with others is useful for native speakers and those who learn a new language. And here is why:
- You’ll develop your communication skills as well.
- You’ll hear the most useful lexicon in the field: whether it’s a workplace or college.
- You’ll continuously encounter everyday expressions and jargon.
- You’ll have an opportunity to practice and implement new words in your speech.
Where can you communicate with people?
- Online forums:
Today, the easiest way to find a person to talk to is on the Internet. In groups on Facebook and on various online forums, you can read tips and participate in discussions while discovering and memorizing new words.
You can weaponize your desire for knowledge and communicate with people at various masterclasses. For example, if you are in an target language speaking environment, you can attend courses or groups.
Find classes that interest you: culinary classes, or meetings of lego fans, etc. There you will learn vocabulary that is related to your area of interest. At meetings of such type, people are inclined to teach and communicate with you in advance, so you will not be embarrassed.
- New public places:
This point is for more courageous and sociable individuals. Visit a place different from the ones you’re used to. Go to the fair and ask about the type of honey, or go fishing and talk to the fisherman (try not to disturb him, of course). You’ll most likely encounter new people and their unique ways of communicating. That way, you will learn unexpected vocabulary.
- Language exchange apps:
If you’re learning a foreign language from home, an exchange app is an excellent option for you. It’s different from having a tutor: here, two individuals meet in a chatroom as equals. They interact with each other while teaching and learning new grammar and vocabulary. Download the application and communicate with foreigners directly, learning a new lexicon along the way.
Here are the best language exchange apps:
🗣️ Talking to Yourself
Yes, you got it right! It may seem weird, but when we chat with ourselves, we can remember more new words than when we speak to others.
This method is beneficial for people who find it challenging to practice a foreign language with native speakers at the very beginning of their studies. Of course, this technique requires more preparation than the previous ones. For example, you may need to write out and highlight the vocabulary you need to learn in advance. Yet, talking to yourself is worth practicing. Try it!
Improving vocabulary by talking to yourself has plenty of benefits. We highlighted the most valuable ones:
- You can start anytime.
Start talking to yourself whenever it’s comfortable for you. Do it as you are cooking, taking a shower, driving a car, or when you are just bored. Manage your time wisely, and don’t be dependent on anybody while learning new words.
- You can pause anytime.
Talking to yourself, you can pause your speech with no time limit or embarrassment. When you don’t know or remember a word, you can (and even should) look it up, which can be impossible during a dialogue.
- You can discuss a particular topic.
Let’s imagine you’ve learned a lot of vocabulary about car parts. But with whom can you discuss this? Maybe no one in your environment knows this, and you have no time to search for sites of interest. Then talk to yourself about cars and their parts.
- You don’t need an interlocutor.
If you don’t know a native speaker of a target language, you may have trouble finding one. Moreover, not everyone will be comfortable talking to you at the primary level you need. The solution is simple! Just start talking to yourself.
- You can make mistakes.
You are likely to make many mistakes when you are getting familiar with a foreign language. A way to omit it is to start by talking to yourself. Become more confident and then have a conversation with a real person.
Sometimes, it might be difficult to start talking to yourself. That’s why we prepared some useful tips for you:
- Describing your surroundings is a simple but effective way to expand your vocabulary. No matter where you are, look around and, in your head, tell yourself what you see.
Draw your attention to the following details:
- Where are you (a coffee shop, a forest, a seaside, your room, etc.)?
- What objects are around you?
- Are there any people? How do they look like? What do they feel?
- What are your emotions at the moment?
With this mental exercise, you will see what words you already know and what is yet to be explored. It would also be useful to check the unknown terms and write them down in a notebook or just on a smartphone.
- Having a passionate debate about something is also a good way to train. It makes you develop your discussion skills, which will come in handy when talking to other people.
Let’s play a bit!
Imagine you are going to participate in a debate. But instead of supporting only one side of the argument, get ready to defend both of them. Take an engaging topic and explore it from different perspectives. In this case, you will learn twice as much useful vocabulary as in the case of regular participation in a debate.
🧠 How to Memorize Vocabulary?
All the methods listed above will open the door to learning new vocabulary, yet you may still struggle with memorizing it. It is a common problem, after all. That is why in this section, we’ll explain how to fix unfamiliar words and their definitions in mind.
That’s it! Thanks for reading until the end of the article. Now you know everything you need to improve your vocabulary without a struggle. Share the page with others who might find it useful.