How To Improve Vocabulary Richness? Tips and Tricks!

27 June 2022

The term Vocabulary Richness generally refers to the wide vocabulary range of a person. The person must be able to use rich vocabulary words appropriately, or else he will not be considered to have a good vocabulary.

Now, knowing words and being able to use them are mostly two different things. You may know thousands of words but don’t use them in daily life. Why? There might be several reasons such as nervousness, lack of knowledge about appropriate use or simply being unable to remember the words for long.

But using rich vocabulary words properly according to the situation is a clear indication of your vocabulary richness. You must overcome whatever stopping you from using your knowledge actively. And this is what we will discuss today.

In this article, we will discuss vocabulary richness and how to show it. We will also provide tips for improving your vocabulary. But first, we will discuss two basic terms: Active and Passive Vocabulary.

Active And Passive Vocabulary

Passive vocabulary means the words you know but cannot use it in your writing or speech. Active vocabulary means the words you know and use regularly. Naturally, every person’s passive vocabulary is way richer than their active vocabulary. But why is that? Let’s find out.

Learning Without Context

Sometimes we only learn the meaning of the words. So, when we read it somewhere, we can understand it. But we hesitate to use it in our speech or writing because we don’t have enough knowledge about its usage. We don’t know if it fits the situation.

Consider the word ‘Alfresco’. It means ‘doing or eating in the open air.' It is synonymous with open-air, outdoor, etc. But there is an interesting fact about this word. The word ‘Alfresco’ is usually used in the culinary field or to describe a special type of painting.

Now, if a person knows only the meaning of ‘Alfresco’, they might use it inappropriately and feel ashamed. If they know the synonymous words, they will use those words instead because you don’t see ‘Alfresco’ being used that often. They might hesitate to use it even in appropriate places. This shows why one should learn deeply about a word, not only the meaning.

Learning Words Related To A Particular Field

Imagine you learned an impressive number of engineering terms for the sake of learning. But will you be able to use them much in a non-technical environment, for example, while grocery shopping? Or maybe you know lots of culinary-related words. Will they help much when you are trying to buy a laptop?

Usually, students are taught vocabulary in a way so that they have enough vocabulary to have effective communication in almost all situations. But when you are learning on your own, it is natural to gravitate toward words that are related to the field of your interest. It does keep you motivated but you must understand that improving your vocabulary richness means an overall improvement in your vocabulary skill.

Lack Of Practice Leads To Nervousness

If you are learning English as a second language, chances are, most of your efforts go to improving your reading and writing skills. You improve your vocabulary so that you can read textbooks for higher grades and write impressive essays. Listening and speaking skills are often ignored which is why students get nervous when they are asked to give a speech or converse with one another. Also, some students are naturally shy, especially when talking. So, they don’t practice their skill in practical situations much.

But when we are considering overall fluency, reading, and writing is not the only thing that matters. A person must be able to understand the word by listening and should use it while speaking. Sadly, most students lack at least one skill.

ESL students struggle to hold a conversation because they have less understanding of pronunciations, unlike native speakers. On the other hand, native speakers struggle to write, especially formal documents, because they don’t learn the words from academic materials like ESL students.

Vocabulary richness requires you to have all 4 skills- reading, listening, writing, and speaking. And to ensure you have all of them, there is no alternative to regular practice.

Effective Techniques To Increase Vocabulary Richness

Are you confused about how to practice all the skills? Do you need some effective and enjoyable techniques to improve your vocabulary skill?

Improving your vocabulary doesn’t mean memorizing dictionaries. What you need to do, in simple words, is to keep learning new words and use them actively in your daily life. How? Here are some tips:

Don’t Depend On The Dictionary Entirely

The first step is to reduce your dependency on dictionaries. That doesn’t mean you will never touch a dictionary ever again. They are one of the best resources in language learning. Then, what do you do?

Dictionaries mostly don’t include synonyms, antonyms, context, use, etc. They only include the meaning, parts of speech, or maybe origin. So, use a dictionary to understand the meaning but when you want to memorize a word, use synonyms and use of the word. This way, if you forget a word, you don’t have to find a dictionary. Instead, you can use synonyms or use other words to describe what you want to express.

This approach utilizes your brain more effectively than memorizing the dictionary. You also get better at continuing conversation and maintaining the flow. It is an excellent exercise for your speaking skill.

Using vocabulary root words to find the definition of the words is a great way to sharpen your English skills. 

Reduce Repetition

You don’t have to learn synonyms of every single word you learn. The word ‘Tiger’ will always be enough to describe a tiger. But in some cases, you cannot deny the importance of synonyms.

Think about how many times we use ‘very’ in our daily conversation, or the word ‘cool’, ‘really’, ‘and’ etc. If you want to show off your vocabulary richness, simply replace the repetitive words with their synonyms. Your speech will become more admirable and interesting to the listener.

Finding such words aren’t a mammoth task either. Just google them. If you like learning offline, then there are plenty of books you will find in the library. Even your textbooks are a great source of synonyms.

But remember, even if some words are synonymous, they might have some restrictions depending on the situation. Remember the discussion about ‘Alfresco’ earlier? Check if the word you are planning to use has any restriction like this.

Don’t Underestimate Practice

We all know the proverb 'Practice makes a man perfect.' There’s no way your skill will develop overnight without practicing.

If you are struggling with pronunciation, listen to audio clips such as podcasts or movies. Mimic the native speakers to learn the correct pronunciation. Once you learned the correct one, listen to various accents to understand the difference. This way, you will be able to hold a conversation with almost anyone.

For some people, speaking is a nightmare but that should not stop you from showing your skill. The best way to overcome your nervousness is constant practice. First, start talking when you are alone. Converse with yourself. Record your speech and find out the mistakes. Then, start speaking with your friends, family- anyone you are confident with. Build up your confidence through practice so that you never back out from conversing with even a stranger. This skill is not only helpful to your language learning but also in your professional life.

For writing, use a dictionary when struggling to find a word. Slowly, reduce the use of dictionaries and try to figure out the appropriate word on your own. Show your writing to your teacher and ask for feedback. Write on your favorite topics at first, and later challenge yourself with more complex topics.

Monitor Your Progress

Tests are a great way to evaluate your overall progress. Take vocabulary tests regularly to see how much you improved. Plenty of test materials are available online and offline. Online testing platforms provide:

  • Portability
  • Easy access from anywhere anytime and
  • They run on almost any electronic device

Many online tests offer features that offline material cannot. Consider SpellQuiz Vocabulary Test. This test is a primary requirement before you start working on your vocabulary skill. The test can estimate your vocabulary range within just 10 minutes! Moreover, SpellQuiz follows a grade-based approach so the test will assign you a grade level. It gives you a clear answer about your current skill level so that you can find words that are suitable for your grades and work on advancing to the next grade. All you need to do is to listen to the audio clip and write what you hear.

The audio clip contains a sentence recorded by professional voice artists to avoid confusion about accents. Listen to the clip carefully. You can listen as many times as you like. The audio clips run at a normal pace and then at a slowed pace to help the participant understand properly. Then, write it down with accurate spelling. Spelling is one of the top priorities in this case so make sure you learned them well.

Now that you have a clear idea about your current level and started working on improvement, what’s next? Is there any other type of test to help you monitor your progress? Of course, there is the SpellQuiz Spelling Test. The test is divided into grades so take the one suitable for your grade. This test also flows in the same format as the vocabulary test.

Improve Vocabulary Richness with SpellQuiz

These two tests will provide enough support for your skill improvement, but they are not all SpellQuiz offers. Other programs such as SpellQuiz Adaptive Test is a unique approach to learning that allows you to advance at your own pace. SpellQuiz acknowledges the fact that everyone has a different pace of learning. Pressuring them with deadlines and goals might have an adverse effect on their progress. Therefore, they introduced the Adaptive Test so that students can enjoy language learning instead of being stressed about it.

If your motivation is fueled by competitiveness, then SpellQuiz Spelling Bee Online is the best place for you. It is a spelling bee competition held online where students around the world compete against each other to achieve the crown of the top speller. SpellQuiz has scoreboards for top spellers as well. There are separate scoreboards for top spellers of the week, month, year and all-time. Want to show the world your skill? Join today!

But it is important to research them before selecting one. You need to be sure if the platform provides all the facilities, you require and help you with your learning. That is why SpellQuiz offers a 14-day free trial period to let you explore the features before you decide to buy anything. There are multiple types of subscription plans that you can choose from.

Vocabulary richness plays an important factor in fluency. The more words you know, the better you are at expressing yourself. That is why you need to take special care of your vocabulary skill.

Happy learning!

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