When you start to learn English, one of your first challenges is to learn basic vocabulary.
As your level of English improves, however, and you are able to communicate in a broader range of situations, you are faced with a new challenge:
expanding your vocabulary; taking your existing knowledge of basic vocabulary to a higher level.
Why Increase Your English Vocabulary
Why should you increase your English vocabulary? Because, not only does it help create a better impression on others, but it allows you to communicate your thoughts and ideas more effectively and helps your understanding of more complex English conversations.
It also improves your understanding of what you read in books, newspapers, magazines or on the Internet.
How to Increase English Vocabulary
One of the simplest and quickest ways of increasing English vocabulary is to learn synonyms for the words that you already know.
A synonym is a word that has the same or very similar meaning as another word.
One of the most obvious ways to learn English synonyms is to use a good English thesaurus. However, before you start simply memorising long lists of synonyms, it is well worth taking note of the following excellent advice:
Generally, it’s not a good idea to memorise synonyms and antonyms out of context. Try to focus on differences and collocations. There are two dictionaries that I can recommend to you: the Longman Language Activator and Oxford Learner’sThesaurus. They have arranged synonyms and give accurate definitions and examples that help you to distinguish between similar words. Plus, read widely on various topics and use the dictionaries routinely and your vocabulary will improve by leaps and bounds! read more here.
Here are two great video presentations by Richard Ford (Q Language Hong Kong English Teacher) that give you examples of how you can increase your vocabulary and make your English sound much more interesting by learning synonyms for basic words you already know.
In these two videos, Richard gives just some of the hundreds of synonyms for two common English words: good & bad
Synonyms For Good – Video
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Synonyms For Bad – Video
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Again, please note that Richard only gave a few examples of the numerous synonyms for these two words.
If you have a copy of the recommended resources mentioned above (Longman Language Activator and Oxford Learner’sThesaurus), or any good English Thesaurus, search for the words good and bad and you will see just how many other words you could choose to use instead, depending on the situation.
Another great resource worth checking out is the Advanced English Dictionary & Thesaurus we mentioned in the post: