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6 effective Steps to Improve Your Vocabulary | How to Improve Your Vocabulary Effectively (for Beginners)

How to Improve English Vocabulary

"How can I improve my vocabulary? How to retain words in memory for long?"

Are these the same questions that arise in your mind everyday?


First discuss the first question: 

How can you improve your vocabulary? 

Before you deep dive into the article, let me begin by telling something about myself – How I improved my vocabulary so that you can follow the same to improve yours.


You know, when I was in 10th class, I bought a pocket dictionary to boost my word power.

You’ll be surprised, I started memorizing words one by one listed there. What a stupid idea!

Can you imagine?

It was strange. It was impossible. I gave up. 

Then I tried the other way.

From our text books, I used to underline unknown words ➡ Find the meaning from the same dictionary ➡ note them down in a copy. ➡ And again memorising them.

This was more effective.

Time went on.

Gradually I observed this was not so useful to retain them in memory for long. 

Again I gave up.


The next day, I searched for a suitable vocabulary book. Searching on the internet I came across a book named Word Power Made Easy.

"Word Power Made Easy" by Norman Lewis. 

Cover of a book, written on it - Word Power Made Easy, by Norman Lewis

From this book I got some suggestions on how to improve your vocabulary level were given. This gave me a more effective solution – what to do and how to do etc. 

What are the steps you should follow to level up your word power?

Some hard-hitting steps to follow. I mention them one by one –

 Step #1: 

“Reading maketh a full man; ...”

The first and primal step is – Read, read and read. To be proficient in words, you must be an omnivorous reader

Yes, an omnivorous reader.. 

You must develop a reading habit.

But what will you read?

Anything. Grab any one of English newspapers, or magazines or books or anything readable you find. Take a pen or highlighter and start reading. 

Complete as much portion – one page, two pages as possible.

 Step #2: 

Highlight difficult or unfamiliar words and try to figure out its possible meaning in the context of the sentence.

 Step #3: 

Step 3 is crucial.

At this step you shall be puzzling out the ways how you can recall those newly learnt words by your own. 

These ways include – Learning the root, making mnemonics, using various mobile apps etc.

 Method – 1 Learn the Root.

It is the most effective method proven.


Where do you find the roots from?

Well. Here is the solution.

In you mobile or PC open google and type “Root of ..... (your word)” or “Etymology of ..... (your word)” and search.

Then you will find what root the word is built on. Note it down.

This process will be more effective when you find other words built on the same root (with suffixes and prefixes).

Suppose, you just came across a word ‘somnambulism’ and you don’t know the meaning.

Just go to google search bar and type “Etymology of somnambulism

Then you’ll see how ‘Somnambulism’ is originated. 

The word ‘Somnambulism’ is derived from the Latin word somnum (meaning - sleep) plus another Latin word ambulare (meaning - to walk).

How to Improve English Vocabulary

Somnum + ambulare > somnambulisme (in French) > Somnambulism (in English)

Now you can get that ‘Somnambulism’ is walking in sleep.

 Method – 2 Make Short Mnemonics.

On the other hand, there are many more ways to remember words, such as making short mnemonics. I personally don’t follow this, so, I don’t have much knowledge about it.

In spite of this, I can give you a rough idea of it on the basis of an article that I read somewhere in the internet. It says –

There is a word – Egregious, an adjective, meaning outrageously bad.


“Mark is an egregious liar.” Meaning Mark is an outrageously bad liar. His lies are bad enough to harm others.

So, how can you remember this word?

Let’s make mnemonics. 

Divide this word into 3 parts –

Eg + reg + ious 

Imagine these parts with similar meaningful sound.

Eg > egg,   reg > reaches,   ious > us.

Now make phrase with the sounds.

Egg reaches us. 

Why does egg reach us? 

Because we did something so outrageously bad that people threw eggs at us.

That's how you recall egregious.

Now you know how mnemonic device work. 

 Method – 3:   Use picture.

We don’t see words, we don’t see sentences, we see pictures for each word / sentence / sound we hear.

Whenever you come upon a new unknown word, search for a corresponding picture on google for visual aids.

Want to know what I myself follow? 

Learning the roots of an unknown words.

 Step #4: 

You've found the root,

Next you’ll be searching for tone* (if possible) of a particular word along with other parts of speech for the same word from your dictionary. 

In my case I use WordWeb mobile app as a dictionary. 

As you can see below – 

How to Improve English Vocabulary

[*tone of a word is whether the word is used in positive sense or negative. ]

somnambulist – (n.) a person who walks in sleep. 

(Her grandmother used to be a somnambulist.)

Somnambulate – (v.) to walk in sleep. 

(As you somnambulate to neighbouring houses at night you need consult a doctor.)

Somnambulation – (n.) the act of walking in sleep. 

(Somnambulation is  a sleep disorder.)

Insomnia – (n.) sleeplessness. 

(Insomnia is mostly common at old age.)

Insomniac – (n.) adjective for ‘insomnia’

(As an insomniac I find the night more beautiful than the day.)


The interesting part is here,

Let’s say, in examination a question is given with four options –

What is the meaning of the underlined word?

“How often the pen becomes the tongue of a systematic dream, – a somniloquist.”

A. Who talks while walking.

B. Who talks while asleep.

C. Who collects coins.

D. Lover of himself.

As you know that somnum means sleep, you can easily puzzle out the meaning of somniloquist from the options.

That’s how etymology helps you discovering the meanings of related words. 

 Step #5: 

Although you know the root and related words, it won’t help you remember things for eternity. No, not at all.

Along with reading habit you have to develop a writing habit too.

Now, the next thing you should do is make sentences where each of these newly learnt words are properly used, apply them in your everyday conversations. 

As I do -

How to Improve English Vocabulary

How to Improve English Vocabulary

Repeat the same and you will have at least 30 to 40 new words a day to enrich your stock everyday. 

 Step #6: 

Be consistent with what you are doing.

You have to ingeminate the process for six days. That means 30×6=180 words each week and 720 fresh words each month with their proper use.

Think about it.

After six months you shall be a stock of new words.

And the next day, open your copy, revise what you have written all these days.

Include these words in your daily speaking and writing.

You have to give yourself at least two hours a day (14 hours a week) for vocabulary to see a considerable growth in word power.


  1. Read anything English.
  2. Mark unfamiliar words.
  3. Search its root on google.
  4. Note down in copy with sentence.
  5. Use them in writing, conversation etc.
  6. Revise once a week.

Why is it necessary to improve vocabulary?

The nonnative English speakers, like you and I, belong to such a society where people thinks English language to be something celestial. People with ability to read, write and speak English are regarded as a ‘gentleman’.


Unquestionably, this kind of narrow mentality has some negative impact on the society.

But, to be honest and more logical, you cannot but acknowledge that the whole world is run by English. 

Just think of our courts, government offices, government procedures, corporate offices, good books or newspaper available in the market and so on. English is the dominator. 

Therefore we ought to ameliorate our skills to compete the world.

From school we are taught that to master English, you must possess a wide horizon of vocabulary, isn't it?

Now I conclude by citing some lines from Bacon’s Of Studies

Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not.

Thank you...

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