Improve Your Vocabulary | Study Tips | Grow your Vocabulary

Hello my Socratica friends! We’re here to help you be a great student. Today we’re going to talk about how to improve
your vocabulary. Building your vocabulary is essential if you
want to communicate your ideas effectively. It will help you write better papers, do better
on tests, and even improve your thinking overall. If you can perfectly describe a problem, you
are that much closer to solving it. The best place to improve your vocabulary
is right here, in the library. All the words you could ever dream of using
are found in these books. As a student, you read textbooks, but be sure
to read for pleasure as well. Read widely, read deep. Read that entire series of vampire novels! Read a fashion magazine! Read the back of your cereal box! When you’re reading and you come across
a word you don’t know, don’t ignore it. Underline it. This is your big chance! You may be able to figure out the gist of
what it means from the context. But you may not have deduced the EXACT meaning
of the word. And lots of times, a word has more than one
meaning. That’s why you should look up these unfamiliar
words in a dictionary. Don’t let it interrupt your reading – unless
you REALLY can’t guess the meaning of a word from the context, in which case, go ahead
and pick up that dictionary. Otherwise, save up all your unknown words
for when you’re finished reading that passage or that chapter. Find your unknown word in the dictionary,
read the definitions, and read the sample sentences. If you’re reading something technical, your
book may have a glossary at the end, which is a short dictionary of specialized terms
used in that field. You can use online dictionaries, but it’s
nice to have an actual dictionary that you can make notes in. I like to highlight the word I’m looking
up. That way, if I ever find myself looking up
a word more than once, I know I need to do a little bit more to follow up, so I don’t
forget that word again. Just reading a definition once in a dictionary
probably won’t be enough. So what can you do to really master the words
you look up? Some people like to keep a word journal, and
write down in a notebook all the words they look up with brief definitions. I like to use flashcards instead. I put one word on each card, and that way
they can be shuffled and reviewed, and put into different piles as I master the words. If I make a list instead, I’m stuck with
just reading the whole list over and over, and it’s not as effective for me. Make sure your definitions are vivid so you
can easily remember them. For example, this word tarantism means “an
uncontrollable urge to dance.” That reminds me of the tarantella, and a tarantula
dancing! For extra credit, I recommend also looking
up your word in a thesaurus. That’s where you’ll find synonyms, words
that mean the same, and antonyms, words that mean the opposite. Careful, because there are often nuances in
the meanings of these words. One word will make more sense in certain contexts
compared to another. But it will help you create a kind of “word
cloud” of related words. That will help you recall these words a lot
better than if you had to remember them individually. Another way to improve your vocabulary is
to focus on word roots. If you learn some basic word roots in Latin
and Greek, as well as some prefixes and suffixes, you can decipher many words. I know, that sounds intimidating – you’re
trying to learn English and now I’m telling you to learn Greek AND Latin as well. You don’t have to learn ALL of Greek and
Latin, just the parts that were stolen by English! For example, you can break down the word translucent
into two parts, trans and lucent. Trans means through in Latin (like…transit),
and Lucent comes from lucere, which means means to shine in Latin. We use the word translucent to refer to anything
that light can shine through. Prefixes and suffixes are really useful here. The Pre in prefix means before – and it refers
to the part of the word that comes before the root. “Precede” means to go before. Ante (with an e) also means before. For example, antediluvian means before the
flood. Antebellum means before the civil war (before
the big fight). Post means after. Like Post script (PS) means what you write
AFTER the main part of your letter. peri means around. Periscope is something you use to look around. The Perimeter is the line you can draw AROUND
the border. And finally – don’t forget the power of
gamification. There are so many word games out there – from
the old standbys like Scrabble or crossword puzzles, to games you can play on your phone. These all help you be more aware of all the
words out there, just waiting for you to use them. Remember, having a great vocabulary is an
important part of being a GREAT student. Hello again, my Socratica Friends! We’re here to help you be a great student…by
making you some great educational videos! This is a real labor of love for the Socratica
Team. We spend ALL our time researching, writing,
filming, and editing our videos. In fact, there aren’t enough hours in the
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