Basic tips to widen your English vocabulary

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Admit it or not whether you’re currently in school or trying to land a job, the most essential prowess you must possess is proficiency in the English language. If you want to ace a class presentation, essay, or job interview, you must equip yourself-if not fully-with sufficient amount of vocabulary. You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of your interviewer, audience, or reader, right? 

The harsh reality of today’s generation is that being knowledgeable of the English language means you’re smart and superior. It can’t be help though. Proficiency in the English language seems to be always associated with global competitiveness. In most cases, if Filipinos would try their luck abroad, the first and foremost requirement is English proficiency. Well, this doesn’t imply neglecting our born language because in order to cope up with the inevitable changes of the world, we need to develop and adapt. 

Majority would probably agree to this absolute stand by Stahl & Nagy, 2006; A person who knows more words can speak and even think more precisely about the world. A person who knows the terms scarlet and crimson and azure and indigo can think about colors in different way than a person who is limited to red and blue… words divide the world; the more words we have, the more complex ways we can think about the world. 


TIP 1. READ. 

According to Dixon-Krauss 2001, vocabulary acquisition is divided into three categories including a. predominantly supportive of indirect instruction b. predominantly supportive of direct instruction and c. authentic word experiences. 

Note that in order for you to acquire or enrich your vocabulary, you need to immerse yourself with words. Reading English Novels or English textbooks is one of the best indirect instructions you must do. However, it really takes a lot of time and effort since it’s not simply batting an eye on words or phrases. 

Understanding differs from comprehension in degree. You may understand the meaning of a word but can’t really construct a sentence when they instruct you to. Meanwhile, comprehension is understanding the essence of the word and knowing how to use it in a sentence whether as a noun or an adjective. 

Now, how can you understand and comprehend a word simultaneously? If you ever encounter an unfamiliar word while reading, this is when you consult the electronic or physical dictionary, whichever is available. Try to jot down the meaning of the word or if it’s too troublesome, you can just etch it in mind and try to establish your own sentence using it. In that way, it will have a higher chance to retain in your memory. 


So, we can have the word SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIDOCIOUS which is defined as extraordinarily good or wonderful- I can’t think of any word to describe my mother but supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Or the word PNEUMONOULTRAMICROSCOPICSILICOVOLCANOCONIOSIS which pertains to silicosis or a lung disease caused by inhaling fine ash or sand dust- Volcanoes when spewing gases can caused pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis if inhaled. 

TIP 2. WATCH. 

The misconception between hearing and listening is prevalent. Hearing is a passive process, basically it is intertwined with hearing sounds meaning information merely pass in your left ear then out from your right. On the other hand, listening is an active process, it involves paying attention and concentration to information which will eventually result in comprehension. 

How does it become relevant? Because watching foreign movies or series, animes, K-dramas, or even documentary shows require more than just hearing. The good thing about watching is that it appeases our visuals by their CGIs or computer-generated images so we don’t get bored in the process. It’s the second-best indirect instruction to nurture your English vocabulary. They have subtitles so you can pause them if you missed out a word. 

TIP 3. SPEAK. 

If you have noticed, Tip 1 and 2 depict theory. Of course, you also need an application. After a successful vocabulary acquisition, you may want to practice it orally. Try conversing with people who are well-verse so they may try to correct your grammar. Be open to constructive criticism because that’s your first way to learn. 

Or if you don’t have the courage to do that, you can use several apps to rehearse including TikTok. Some content creators feature dual characters whom you could act like you are the other person they are talking to.


Be reminded that the tips abovementioned are the most basic techniques you could consider to widen your English vocabulary in the absence of direct instructions. In the end, resorting to self-learning is the only accessible, free, and timely resources to achieve desired vocabulary outcomes.

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