No one can argue the importance of a well-versed vocabulary. In an age where information is so easily accessible, words have even more power than ever before. Partition is the opposite of what? A proper understanding of terms and their meanings will help you sound smarter, retain more information and gain access to a wider selection of reading material. However, there are times when a seemingly simple word cannot be understood through context or by looking it up in a dictionary.
1. Replacing a Problem Word with a Homophone
Because of the popularity of social media and other forms of instant communication, modern colloquialisms have become commonplace in people’s everyday speech. While this trend has its positive aspects, it is also responsible for the propagation of words that make it hard to understand exactly what someone is trying to say. For example, the word “different” can be both an adjective and a verb. This can lead to some confusion when someone says “I’m different from him.” It may be appropriate in some situations for the person to be behaving in a different way than another individual; however, if their sentences are often filled with these kinds of phrases, there might be cause for concern.
2. Online Dictionaries Are Great
When you are trying to decipher a word that you have never heard of before or do not understand the context for, a great tool is the dictionary. There are many websites that provide a large amount of information in an easy-to-read format. However, there is something special about printed dictionaries. The way that words are alphabetically ordered allows someone to browse through and find words more easily than if they had to click through several pages on a website.
3. Remembering Terms in Categories
Another helpful way to remember words is by placing them into categories with similar sounding terms. In this chapter, for example, the word “vocabulary” is placed in a category with words like “vocable,” “vocabularian” and “vocal.” There may not be any obvious similarities between these words in terms of their meanings, however, simply knowing that they all begin with the same set of letters may help you to remember them.
4. Using the Acronym Method
Acronyms are used for many different things. While some people use them to remember important dates and times or to keep track of their favorite sports team’s record, their use in vocabulary retention is perhaps their most helpful yet least utilized method. Acronyms are a great way to remember not only words but also word roots and suffixes. By making up an acronym from the letters from a word’s root, you can increase your memory of the word exponentially. For example, for “con” you could think of a “confiscator,” which is an officer who confiscates property.
5. Rhymes Are Powerful
Rhymes have been around for thousands of years and have been used in more ways than one. They have been used to express love, convey hidden messages and teach moral lessons. One of the most powerful uses of rhyming words is in helping someone remember something he or she has read or heard before. If a sentence is rhyming, it will not take much effort to remember because your brain will automatically link the rhyming words together.
6. Using a Story to Learn One Word
One of the best ways to retain vocabulary is through story reading or watching movies. The plot of a movie or book can be changed slightly to make it more comprehensible and help you recall details about the plot better. For example, if you are studying Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” and you are confused by this line: “O that this too solid flesh would melt. Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!” you could simply change it to this: “O that this too solid flesh would melt. Thaw and resolve itself into a Dew.” Then, every time you hear or read these lines, you will be able to recall both of them.
7. Using Words Create Them
For those of us who have terrible memories when it comes to words and numbers, the use of synonyms can be very beneficial in remembering things you have previously read or heard. Using the word “fireplace” instead of “stove” will not only help you remember the word but also help make sure that what is called for in your daily activities is consistent with the kind of stove that is being used.
Visualization is another way to help you remember words and phrases, especially if you are an auditory learner. When you read something, your mind determines the last thing that it heard or saw before actually hearing or seeing the text. In other words, your brain is actually reading subtitles for that particular line of text as you read it! The idea that eyes can subconsciously memorize information, which can then be transferred to long-term storage using the years-old principle of association, gives more credence to why you have been able to remember certain things but not others.