Ways to Expand Your English Vocabulary

Lisa C. Newcomer Information, Updates

Learn about word roots, prefixes, suffixes of words and memorize words in groups!
  • The root of a word carries the most significant content of the word’s meaning. Different words are formed by adding prefixes or suffixes to the root;
  • Root: for example, “cred” means “believe” and from there we get “credible”, “credit”, “credence”, etc.;
  • Prefix: for example, “cent(i)” means “hundred”. We have “centimeter”, “century”, “centennial”, etc.;
  • Suffix: for example, “-able” or “-ible” means “capable of doing”. We have “preventable”, “adaptable”, “predictable”, “credible”, etc.;
  • Explore these useful links on your own: Roots & Prefixes, Root Words, List of Suffixes.
Keep a dictionary handy (online or print, it doesn’t matter).
Expand your vocabulary by using a thesaurus.
  • A thesaurus is a special type of dictionary for finding words with similar (“synonyms”) or opposite (“antonyms”) meanings;
  • Once you learn a word, especially an adjective, use a thesaurus to find its related words;
  • There are many online thesaurus resources: com, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, Collins Thesaurus.
Memorize how to use words by putting them into sentences.
  • Learning the meaning of a word is important, but you also need to know how to correctly use it in real life;
  • Random words are hard to remember, but it gets easier if you put them into context;
  • Next time you look up a word in a dictionary, pay close attention to its example sentences;
  • English movies & TV shows, books, news, podcasts… these are also a great source of context for most common words.
Make it a habit to memorize at least a new word a day.
  • Depending on your availability, it can be one word a day or five words a day!
  • Use a notebook or calendar to record your progress
  • On com, at the end of each article, we have a Word of the Day section where you can learn a word that appears in the article.
Play a game and make it fun!
  • Learning new words doesn’t have to be a painful or boring process. Play a game and make it fun;
  • Mobile apps for vocabulary building: Bonza Word Puzzle, Wordscapes Search, etc. and many more;
  • If you prefer something in print, the Calgary Public Library has a collection of over 40 crosswords collections for you to explore.
In today’s English Learning Tips, let’s check out different ways to expand your English vocabulary!