I keep using the same words over and over again. I don’t know how to expand my vocabulary!’
Does this sound familiar? I hear this every day. And I get it.
Painting with the same colors can be pretty boring. Not only for you but also for your readers and listeners. There is a gorgeous world out there full of new words that are waiting for you! But how can you make them your own?
First off, just because you recognise a word when you read or hear it does NOT mean it’s part of your active vocabulary. It’s in your head, but not in your mouth (or on your keyboard) when you need it. Let me show you how to activate your vocabulary, and how to expand it fast.
You need to develop a system where you can store and organise your new words. So that every time you hear or read a new word you can put it somewhere to find it again. There are lots of systems for this, but the best one I have seen is the ‘starred word list’ on the Dictionary.com app. If you have a smartphone, you can create your own mini-dictionary in your phone. Just download the Dictionary.com app on your phone. It’s free!
Every time you hear or see a new word, type it into this app and you will get not only the audio fragment (which will help you with your pronunciation) but the definition of the word. You will also see a small star next to the word (on the app, but not on the website). If you click on this, this word will automatically be added to your ‘favorite’ list, which is your mini-dictionary in your phone. You can refer to this list every time you need it (if you don’t lose your phone!).
Ok, that’s a good start.
But now let’s take your English vocabulary to the next level.
If you look at the top of the app you will see ‘Thesaurus’ in yellow. This is a dictionary of synonyms. It will tell you which words have a similar meaning to the word you type in.
So guess what? Now you type in that new word and you will find a lovely list of synonyms. Find one that you like and consider this word from now on as a ‘partner’ of that word. For example, if you learned ‘energetic‘, you might find ‘vivacious‘ to be a great alternative. And now for the next step – scroll down and you will see a list of antonyms. These are words that mean the opposite of that word. Choose one you like and have this join the happy group of words. An antonym for ‘energetic’ might be ‘laid-back‘. So now you have my Official Magic Formula, which is A=B≠C. A (‘energetic’) = B (‘vivacious’) ≠C (‘laid-back’).
I hope this Official Magic Formula helps you to triple your vocabulary fast! Refer to your list and use those words as often as you can! Use it or lose it, darling!
If you’d like to get more support on expanding your communication skills in English, you can still fill out an intake for Great in 8, my first long-term English coaching program, which consists of learning online, personal coaching, and a live, exclusive training day. I answer every intake personally and have time for a few more phone calls this week, so please fill in an intake form if you are interested so I can see if it’s a good match!
This will be my last newsletter for a while, as I am off to explore parts of the world which are new to me, with my favorite people. I am so looking forward to a long digital detox and spending time discovering nature and culture. My webshop will be closed from July 26 until August 19th.
Thank you so much for reading, as always, and I wish you a lovely summer! Stay active and I can’t wait to reconnect with you in August!
Lots of love and happy holidays!