What is the one major problem most people face when trying to communicate in English? No, it is not fluency. Rather, it is an insufficient vocabulary. Fluency develops only when you know how and where to use a word. There are a number of exercises and 'tried-and-tested' way of increasing and improving vocabulary, but they benefit very few people.
What purpose will reading a newspaper serve if you cannot retain even a couple of words you have learned in the course? The only way of improving your vocabulary and word power is to learn the words with their meaning, connotations, and how to use them in your communication.
Here are a few simple tricks of not just learning but also retaining new words and phrases.
• Learn the root of words: Many English words are actually versions of Latin, Greek and French words. It is fascinating to learn the root words of English words and it helps in remembering the words. Also, many English words have interesting anecdotes about how and when they developed. When you know such intriguing trivia about a word, you are bound to remember it.
• Learn the context in which word is used: It is natural for us to skip an unfamiliar word. Do not do that if you are trying to improve your vocabulary. If at the first glance, you cannot understand what the word means, read the whole sentence/ paragraph and try to understand the word based on the context in which it is used. Also, refer a dictionary to learn its meaning.
• Make flash cards of new words: Flash cards are a great way of studying anywhere, any-time. Make flashcards with new words you want to learn, and also write down a sentence using the same word. This way, you can quickly recall not just the word but also form the correct sentence using it.
• Solve crossword puzzles: Newspapers and magazines carry crossword puzzles on almost daily basis. Solving them will help you learn new words along with their meaning. Now, there cannot be a more fun and exciting way of improving your vocabulary! And since, it is a puzzle, you will remember the words simply because of the fun you have while solving it.