There are tons of books out there for purchase that promise to help you build a better vocabulary in a month, and I'm sure they hold true to their words. I love books like these. But before you go loading up at your local Barnes and Noble or ordering through Amazon.com, try using what you already have in your arsenal: words you already know. I know you're already pretty darn smart, and I'll bet you already have quite a substantial vocabulary filled with words you've most likely even forgotten you know. So let's use them.
I once had an instructor teach me this simple word game to help me build my Spanish vocabulary. When I did it for a few minutes daily, my confidence grew tremendously as I realized there were a lot of words I already knew, and I was able to learn and remember new ones.
Here's how you play:
- Pick a word, any word. We'll start with PURPLE.
- Now, think of a word that starts with the second letter of the first word you selected. We'll use UBIQUITOUS.
- To continue, keep coming up with words that begin with the second letter of the previous word. I recommend playing for five words or more if you have the time.
Make the first word one you aren't familiar with and research its definition before you play. This way, you are adding words to your arsenal and familiarizing yourself with what you already know.
Try playing with words in the same part of speech. For example, start the week off with all verbs and end it with onomatopoeias. (Big challenge if you can do it. I'm still here struggling with this one.)
And if sound words come to you in a zap, try making a sentence of your words. PURPLE UNICORNS NEVER EAT ALONE. (While this definitely took me less time to do than coming up with something to follow oink, you should try with more challenging words than these.)
So now that you get the idea, try playing each way for a week or two and let me know what you think.