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Grow your Vocabulary - Use it or lose it?

How do you grow your vocabulary?

Aren’t you tired of endless lists of words? Learning them by heart?!

Use it or lose it! Yes, if you don’t use the words, they simply won’t come out when you need them. It is therefore, of utmost importance to ‘activate’ words.

A true learning process is an active one, especially learning a second language.

It is not enough just to look at the word, tell yourself I know this word, I understand it. You need to ‘activate’ the word – in other words, use it, say it out loud.

OK, how do I know what words to activate?

We all have vocabulary that we often use – our ‘database of active words’. We also have a database of words that we know/understand but don’t really use – our ‘passive database of words’.

So, instead of learning new words from scratch, let’s shorten the learning curve and activate words from our ‘passive database of words’.

How do we do that?

Say out loud the words, roll them off your tongue, use them in a sentence, say them in the next meeting, phone call…extract them from the database and ‘activate’ them.

For example:

  1. Change the interface language on your mobile and desktop to English – see a word that you know/understand – use it in a sentence. Say it.

  2. Talk to yourselves in English: I am going to pick up my kids from school.. I am preparing dinner, I need to go shopping…and when you get stuck, extract the word from the ‘database base of seldom used words’.

  3. Watch a series/TV/movie – select 2-3 words that you know/understand and say them, once, twice, three times, use them in a sentence.

By doing the above you’ll gradually activate more and more words.

It’s time to walk the talk and activate more words.


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