6 Tools for Improving Vocab

August 13, 2007 at 5:28 am Leave a comment

There are countless studies done about the correlation between language mastery and business success. My language skills (grammar, vocab and writing) have always been pretty weak. One of the first steps I’ve taken to correct this is by expanding my vocabulary.

The three tools I’m using right now for improving vocabulary are:

1) M-W’s Word of the Day: comes straight to my inbox (Podcast available). Most of the words they send are words that I can use in daily life. Included in the email is the pronunciation (I caught myself mispronouncing many words through this service), definition, example statement and the best part the “Did you know?” section where they go into the etymology of the word.

2) Word a Day: I added this Facebook application about two weeks ago. It displays one word a day. It has been a little bit buggy so far but seems like it’s working much better now. The main plus is that every time I’m on Facebook (approx 4-7 times a week) I’m able to get a vocab reminder. The other nice part is the daily quiz which takes about 2 minutes to do. I’ve using this a couple times a week now.

3) Verbal Advantage: Popular book (Audio CD set available that goes through 500 key words and about 3,000 synonyms. After every 10-15 words there is a quiz to test what you’ve learned. I try to listen to this once a day during work for about 15-60 minutes.

Other Tools that I used:
4) One tool that I was using a couple years ago when I had my Sony Clie but haven’t used in a while is The Articulate Professional. Each month V.J. Singal sends a list of about 8 words that he notices are being used conversationally by influential people. The two best things about The Articulate Professional is that it focuses on words that you can use often and that with each word he includes 7 examples of usage in sample sentences. I found this repetition really helps make the words stick. I just subscribed again and will try to use it again.

5) Vocab Books: There are many decent vocab books out there. I haven’t used any in years. I’ll probably give one of them a go when I ship the rest of my books over.

6) The Classics: Reading the classics definitely help. This is something that I really have to get going. I haven’t read much fictional work the past few years.


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