"Give them the gift of words"


How to Learn New English Vocabulary Every Day

Categories: ESL Vocabulary, SAT Vocabulary, Vocabulary Building Words, Vocabulary Improvement Tips | Tags:

Sometimes you’ll have a specific set of words you need to learn (for example, if you’re preparing to take the SAT or GRE), and those words will be given to you in a suggested study guide or set of practice tests. At other times, you might want to increase your chances of promotion by expanding your vocabulary in a new or related field, adding to your value as an employee. There’s something to be said, though, for the words you learn accidentally, through serendipity, in a random fashion as you go throughout your day.

Random is an adjective that means “unpredictable,” “done without planning,” or “unrelated to what has come previously.” Unlike a GRE study plan, where you know in advance what topics you need to cover and what words you need to learn, random vocabulary acquisition brings you a range of words that you wouldn’t have thought of, at unexpected times and sometimes in odd places.

Think about all of the signs you pass on the street, or the magazines and newspapers you happen to glance through while waiting for an appointment. If you focus your attention on the written words you see, you’ll often come across a word that you don’t know. We recommend that you carry a word journal with you to write unfamiliar words down in, so that you can look them up later. If you listen to the news in the morning, you’ll hear stories on a variety of topics, and if you pay attention to the words that you hear, we’re sure you’ll find at least one every day that will pique your interest. Many radio and television broadcasts have on-line transcripts on their station’s website, so if you’ve heard a word during your morning commute and don’t have time to write it down, make a mental note to look it up later.

Scientists, mathematicians, and computer programmers often use random number generators to provide them with a beginning data point, a statistical range, or an encryption key. Random numbers are also frequently used in lotteries and other gambling games that need to keep the element of chance. If you’d like to take a gamble on which word you’ll learn that day, find a paper dictionary, flip it open to any page, and place your finger somewhere on that page. Whatever word your finger is pointing to can be your vocabulary word for the day.

Keep your eyes and ears open for new vocabulary words every day, and you’ll be amazed at the number of words you’ll learn just by chance.