Here’s a joke that was doing rounds on the internet sometime back:
Two trucks loaded with thousands of copies of High School Grammar &
Composition by Wren and Martin collided as they left a publishing house last Thursday.
Witnesses were aghast, amazed, astonished, astounded, benumbed, bewildered, confounded, confused, dazed, dazzled, dumbstruck, electrified, flabbergasted, overwhelmed, paralyzed, startled, stupefied, surprised,perplexed, taken aback, traumatized….
While the humor is subtle, it is quite an appropriate example that involves a wide range of words that are closest in meaning. For those who may ask why vocabulary building places such stress on this area- good vocabulary helps, not only in improved performance in the Verbal Ability sections of exams, but in greater enjoyment of the language and in effective communication as well.
At least 15 minutes a day of concentrated study on a regular basis can bring about a rapid improvement in your vocabulary skills. Consider this ,though- if you learned only one new word a day for the next three years, you would have about a thousand new words in your vocabulary, whereas, if you learn ten new words a day, in one year you would have added over three thousand words to what you already know, and you would also have gained a lasting habit of learning and self- improvement.
A few effective steps you can take:
Read, and be aware of words:
People with low vocabulary levels do not enjoy reading. It’s probably more of a task than a pleasure because they don’t understand many of the words. It’s important to find things that you would enjoy reading, and to read as often as much as possible, with the idea of learning new words in mind.
Use a dictionary:
Get into the habit of reading the entire entry for the word you look up. Remember, words can have more than one meaning, and the meaning you need for the word you are looking up may not be the first one given in your dictionary. Even if it is, the other meanings of the word will help you understand the different ways the word is use.
Use the internet:
There are thousands of sites on the web that help the enthusiast, including many sites that mail you a word a day, a vocabulary tip a day, and so on.
Another efficient method is the “Roots- Prefixes- Suffixes” method. You will find this approach useful; because it helps you understand how several words are formed. At least half of the words in the English language are derived from Greek and Latin roots, and this can often be of help in figuring out a word’s meaning from its context.
In a nutshell, the most important factor in successful vocabulary building, however, is self-motivation. A larger vocabulary will help you in academics and at work. Stay keen and look at adding to your word bank constantly. Your effort could not be better spent.