One of the most frustrating aspects of speaking a second language is when in your mind you know exactly what you want to say, but you just don’t have the right words to communicate your idea. The words just don’t come; not in the second language, anyway. Growing your vocabulary is critical if you want to minimize those frustrating situations.

I have written before about the importance of reading to grow a vocabulary. Aside from reading, there are several other methods you can use to learn new words. These methods have been proven to work; they are based off neuroscience and research about how people learn new information.

One of these methods is to take a common word and learn several of its synonyms. (Synonyms are different words with the same meaning.) For example, the word thing is used all the time, often when we can’t thing of the specific name of the thing we’re referring to. (See? I just used the word thing.) Here are some of the synonyms for thing:

  • object
  • item
  • device
  • apparatus
  • element
  • article
  • mechan ism
  • subject
  • matter
  • gadget

The words listed above will not all work as substitutes for thing in every instance, because each word has a meaning that is slightly more detailed than the general thing. Look up each word to see some examples, and compare the word’s definition with that of thing and other words on the list.

You can use this method with words you use often. In fact, it is most useful with the words that are most frequently used in English (or any language). This method works because it builds upon information you already have stored in your brain.

Do you need help improving your vocabulary in English as a second language? Our speech trainer can help. Not only do we help clients pronounce American English clearly, we help them grow their vocabulary so they can be ready for that next big meeting at work or that unexpected conversation at a party. Our services are individualized, so no matter where you use English or what you need to say, we can help you learn what you need for success. We now offer evening and weekend appointments so you can fit Lingua East speech training into your busy schedule. Sign up for a free consultation today.