Wednesday, April 26, 2017

5 Surefire Ways to Improve Your Writing Vocabulary


Being a non-native English speaker belonging to a small village in Kerala, my vocabulary when I started to write was not very vast. But I am a word hunter in love with words. Whenever I visit blogs or read books by native English speakers, I admire their writing skills and vocabulary prowess. 
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I yearn to acquire their writing skills. I know it is not an easy job. 

So, every day I spend time working on my vocabulary and writing skills.

I believe writing is a craft that can be improved only by working on it on a regular basis. 

Here is a list of activities I adopted to build my vocabulary.

1) Join a website dedicated to increasing Vocabulary Skills:

 My favorite website to study words is Vocabulary.com. You can join the website for free using your Google or Facebook profile. They have word games and lists which help to learn new words. Each list has a set of activities where we can study the various words to understand their meaning and spelling. They give the origin, word meaning through examples and also the nearest synonym. My go to list there is Literature.  In this list, the words listed are selected chapters from many famous books.

2) Install a dictionary/thesaurus app on your phone or tablet

Whenever you encounter a new word, instead of guessing the meaning, check the word in your thesaurus app. Most apps save the list of words you search and hence you can revisit these words as and when you wish. The app I use is Merriam-Webster. It has a feature called word of the day which introduces new words to the user daily.

3) Read more every day:

Reading is the easiest way to encounter new words. The more you read, greater your word stock.

4) Write every day:

Note down the words you learn and then use them in your writing until you become familiar with their usage and meaning. Create a word journal and make it visually memorable.

5) Edit your writing

Another easy way to improve your vocabulary is to edit your writing. While you are at it,
  1. Replace repeated words with their nearest synonym. In the process, you will surely discover newer words to express yourself.
  2. Find a single word to replace multiple words. This helps to tighten your prose.

Example: to move aimlessly from place to place can be replaced by the word ramble.

How do you improve your vocabulary?

Do tell me in the comments section.



 During this A-Z April Challenge, I am exploring the A-Z journey of writing a Novel with examples from Literature.
The Letter of the day is V

Linking this post  to Blogging from A-Z

Have you read the Letters A, B, C, D, EFGH  I  J K  L M N  O P Q R  S T and U?





16 comments:

  1. Hey Preethi, I have been longing to visit your blog and here at last I am. I have also improved my vocabulary to a large extent by reading and writing daily.

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    1. Glad to have you over Geethica! Yes, reading and writing helps a lot.

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  2. Thanks for the awesome tips, Preethi. I have installed Oxford software on my laptop and writing, reading and editing are must to hone one's writing skills. I was quite lazy when it comes to edit but now I read a second and third time. My scripts are better now.

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    1. Way to go, Vishal! I can see that change in your posts.

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  3. I like to work at increasing my vocabulary too. Sometimes I use a word and want to make sure I'm using it in the correct context, so look it up in a dictionary and read where it originated, and all the different meanings attributed to it. My husband and I do this together, and I think it enriches our writing. Thanks for your wonderful blog!

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    1. That is such a great practice. Thanks for reading, Sue!

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  4. Amazing tips! They are really helpful.I've installed the dictionary app on my phone and whenever I read or hear a word whose meaning I am not familiar with, I look it up in the dictionary.

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    1. Yes! I used to just guess the meaning and go ahead with the reading before. Now I pause and understand the meaning before I proceed further.

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  5. Thanks for these wonderful tips. I'm going to try Vocabulary.com. Sounds interesting. I have been using good old google to find synonyms or look for meanings. It's about time I get a dictionary app.

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    1. Go ahead. They are free tools and a must have I feel for every writer and bibliophile.

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  6. I'm always on the lookout for new words. I would say I'm a word nerd - in fact, my theme last time I did the Challenge was flash fiction based on words that were new to me. I haven't used any apps, so I appreciate the tips offered here.

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    1. Good to know that. Apps I feel reduce half our effort. Most are fun.

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  7. Some great points and tips Preethi. I agree reading improves our writing too.

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    1. Reading is very important to increase our writing vocabulary. Reading Indian writers often helps when we are writing similar stories. Anita Nair, Vikram Seth, Kiran Nagarkar, Nandita Bose, Shinie Antony... I consider them my idols.

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  8. Great tips! Once again, loving your series!

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