Answered by David Buckley
January 4 on Quora
The best way to increase your vocabulary is by reading. And the most suitable books for this are the books you love to read.
Yes, you can increase your vocabulary with other methods, but it will take much longer.
These are the things you have to do if you choose reading.
Choose a time when you read every day
Only choose books you like to read
1. Choose a time when you read every day
You should choose a time when you can read every day. Building a regular reading habit is fantastic for broadening your range of vocabulary.
It’s not only good for getting a bigger vocabulary. It is good for gaining knowledge and becoming an all-round better person.
Reading is an essential life skill. Embrace it.
But for reading, you should choose a regular time when you can read without any interruption every day.
This can be any time you like. It is up to you.
For me, I like to read at 2pm. I read for an hour every afternoon. I read at other times, but I always read at 2pm every day.
Find the right reading time for you, then stick to it.
2. Only choose books you like to read
And only read books that you like to read. This will encourage you to read more books. Win-win.
If you have no interest in Italian history, do not read about that. It is a waste of time for you.
But equally, if you love fishing, then read books about that. That will definitely help you.
Or maybe you love crime novels. So read these kind of stories. You will gain much from it as it is enjoyable.
Reading should be engaging and enjoyable. Not a chore. So only read books you want to read.
Once you have established these two basic rules, you will need the following equipment for your reading practise.
The dictionary should be an ‘all-English’ dictionary. Do not use a translation dictionary as it will not help you.
I advise getting the Cambridge or Oxford dictionary. Both of these are excellent.
And get any notebook that you can find. It need not be expensive. Same with a pen. Cheap is fine.
On the front of your notebook, write the words: Vocabulary Notebook.
Use these items every time you do your reading practise.
Now you need to follow these steps:
read from your book of choice
find any new words
write them in your Vocabulary Notebook
look the new word up in your dictionary
write the meaning down in your notebook
think of a sentence of your own using the new word
write the sentence down in your notebook
review from time to time
That is it. That is all you have to do.
Yes, it is time-consuming. Yes, it is laborious.
Yes, it is work, but it is not hard work.
And if you stick to this exercise, I guarantee that your range of vocabulary will grow exponentially.
You will find that you are much more able to express yourself in writing and speaking. And of course your reading skills will improve too.
It will help with most of your English skills.
1. read from your book of choice
Just spend some time reading from any book of your choosing.
2. find any new words
Find all new words as you read. Do not skip over any words. Do not say to yourself: Oh, I think I know that word.
If you don’t know the word, you don’t know it. Simple as that.
3. write them in your Vocabulary Notebook
Write all new words in your notebook. Do this with every new word that you find. By writing the words down, this will help you remember them.
4. look the new word up in your dictionary
Now look the word up in your dictionary. As it is an all-English dictionary, you are finding out the meaning in English too. This will also help you to remember the word and the meaning.
5. write the meaning down in your notebook
Write the full meaning in your notebook next to the new word. Write every detail down if you have to. Again, this is a great exercise for remembering the new word and how to use it.
If the dictionary gives an example sentence, write that down too.
6. think of a sentence of your own using the new word
Take some time and try to think of a sentence using this new word. Try to use the word in the same context as the meaning.
7. write the sentence down in your notebook
Very simple. Just write your sentence in the notebook.
8. review from time to time
And finally, every so often, go over all the new words you have found. Read out loud all the new words, the meanings and your sentences.
That is the entire process.
At the beginning, this is not much fun. You will be stopping regularly to write down new words.
But after some time, you will find that your range of vocabulary has grown to a huge level.
If you maintain this exercise, you should see great progress in just a short period of time.