There are two websites that we think will help you build your English vocabulary.
Vocabulary.com. “Regardless of your education level or age, Vocabulary.com will help you to master the words that are essential to academic and business success.” This website will give you vocabulary quizzes and lists, as well as a dictionary of terms. We think it’s pretty great.
Word Dynamo. This website from Dictionary.com is a useful teaching tool for all grade levels. It teaches vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure.
There are also lots of books you can buy for this sort of thing. Many of them are SAT prep books like this one, which can be useful (and come with flashcards!), but you can also start out at a more basic level. It’s just a matter of poking around on Amazon or in your local bookshop until you find a good fit.
I also recommend reading Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis, which is a “simple, step-by-step method that will increase your knowledge and mastery of the English language.” If that sounds good to you, consider having a look.
Read everything. Read all genres, fiction and nonfiction. Read and look up words and get frustrated and read some more. Read read read.
Seeing words in their natural environment (books, articles, etc.) might be the most important step in expanding your vocabulary. Context is often very helpful in understanding what a word means, especially if that word has multiple or nuanced definitions, and when and how it’s used.
Here are a few lists of novels to read to improve your vocabulary:
We’ve got lots of good stuff on growing your vocabulary and the English language in general. You can check out the Language section of our Toolbox for more resources from WriteWorld on language. There’s also this post, originally from thatfrenchhelper, on English Grammar and Vocabulary, so definitely click that link for more useful resources.
I’m sure other writers will weigh in with their own recommendations and advice, so be sure to check the notes of this post for more awesome tips from the Tumblr writing community!
On February 17th, 1864, the Confederate submarine CSS Hunley sunk the Union warship USS Housatonic by ramming it with a spar torpedo. The torpedo embedded in the ship’s hull was detonated by a rope as the Hunley backed away. The Hunley would go down in history as the first submarine to successfully sink a ship. Unfortunately the Hunley itself sunk shortly after detonating it’s torpedo.
“I owned a cabin and five acres in the mountain up in North Adams years ago. I lived right across a 200-foot waterfall and I could hear the water from my cabin. But they wanted my land for a park, so they just took it! They sent me a letter and gave me $1,200. That’s all I got. They called it ‘eminent domain’, I guess. Then I got this house, and there were great big elm trees across the street. Oh, it was nice and shady! But, the next year, they cut them down because they were rotting. Then I planted grapevines for shade, but some guy cut them down. But the roots stayed in the ground, and now they’re growing again. I figure next year I’ll even have grapes.”