1. saleh
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    saleh New Member

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    gimme a hand

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by saleh, Jan 25, 2009.

    Hi, every one
    today I came up with a problem that I tryed hard to solve but my efforts fell
    a short. The problem is that I want to increase my vocabulary. The solution is to find some usful strategies to reach this goal. I HOPE YOU GOT THE POINT.
     
  2. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Read...read a lot.
     
  3. ty_madison
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    ty_madison New Member

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    Get a dictionary, open it to a random page and point to a random word. Do it loads, it's not only useful for expanding your vocabulary, but it can be fun too! Haha!
     
  4. tehuti88
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    tehuti88 Contributing Member

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    Reading other people's books is a good way to expand vocabulary in a useful manner. That way you see the type of words that most regular writers and readers use, so you won't go using really fancy words that will make you sound pretentious.

    pre·ten·tious [pri ténshəss]
    adj
    1. self-important and affected: acting as though more important or special than is warranted, or appearing to have an unrealistically high self-image
    2. made to look or sound important: intended to seem to have a special quality or significance, but often seeming forced or overly clever
    *dismissed it as yet another pretentious film
    3. ostentatious: extravagantly and consciously showy or glamorous

    Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2005 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Dictionaries are ok, but you really need to see words used in their proper context. I've seen a lot of writing that shows signs of "dictionary vocabulary", words that are almost but not quite right for the way they are used in context.

    So I agree with NaCl's advice. Read as much as you can. But do keep a dictionary handy too. When you come across a word you don't know well, look it up. Make sure you correctly understand the meaning, and pay attention to te context. Sometimes people use the word in the correct context, but have the wrong idea about the word's meaning.
     
  6. Dante Dases
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    Dante Dases Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd also keep a thesaurus handy. It doesn't matter how much reading or writing you do, sometimes you'll just need that alternative word that doesn't want to come to mind. It helps to keep the variation in the language being used, and keeps the prose interesting.

    Hope that helps.
     
  7. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    READ

    That's the only way to do it, period.
     
  8. Plushii
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    Plushii Member

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    The problem with thesaurus's (or at least the online one I use) is that it doesn't tell you the proper way to use a word. I know I've caught myself using words that make no sense in the context I've used them in. XD I can't think of any examples right now though.
     
  9. Noodleguy
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    Noodleguy Senior Member

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    That's why you need to read books. You'll naturally pick up new words, and you will know how to use them. The only embarassing part is that you might not know how to PRONOUNCE them. For years I thought "paradigm" was pronounced "Para-Da-Gim" instead of "Para-Dime"

    A thesaurus or a dictionary won't help you. You won't remember the words, and you won't now how to pronounce them correctly. Just go out into the world and read, my good sir!
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    all of the above... plus...

    do the ny [or london] times daily crossword till you're up to the sunday version and then get the book collections of the sunday puzzles and do them in your 'down time'... add the toughest acrostics [thos middleton's from nyt and harper's], when you get to where you can handle them, too... this is the writer's equivalent of a jock's daily exercise regime... keeps your brain in tip-top shape...

    i've been doing this ever since high school...
     
  11. TwinPanther13
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    TwinPanther13 Contributing Member

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    Thanks Maia I will start doing the crosswords
     
  12. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    When you come across a word that vividly paints a picture in your mind, take that word and write a few sentences with it so that it sticks with you, and so that you get a feel for the word.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good idea, arch!
     
  14. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    How I learn new words is, I'll find a word that means something very interesting, that would have feasible application in real life or a story, (such as crapulous, which means 'gross intemperance in eating,') then I use the word at every opportunity in real life.
    You will eventually get a feel for the word in such a way that it will come to mind immediately if you need it.

    It was time to dine, a period I never anticipated with any great pleasure, because Jacob was known for his disgustingly crapulous eating habits.
     

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