Johnson Wu, Gulzar Muhamed, Sivakumar Balasubramanian, Tahmina Hashmi and Qiangxiaohui are among the subscribers who requested guidance on improving their vocabulary, so here it is:

Learning English can of course be a daunting task. But the best way to approach it is clear and simple: one small step at a time.

That way, you are less likely to feel intimidated by both the sheer scale of your task and also the vast amount of resources which are available.

Sometimes, having so many options can be a problem in itself.

So here I have compiled a brief but effective list of methods you can employ in order to grow your English vocabulary.

Start off by asking yourself what your goals are. For example, are you starting from a very basic level and want to build your vocabulary from the bottom up, with the simplest words, such as colours, numbers and some common nouns?

Or are you more interested in building your knowledge of words which relate to a specific topic, for example, to do with your job or favourite sport?

Answering such questions will help set you on the right path from the outset and will allow you to focus on the vocabulary which you need to study.

Make use of available resources

The internet provides an amazing array of tools and resources. Many are free, many are not. But I do suggest you have a good look and use whatever suits you best.

For example, sign up to one of the newsletters which provide a new word every day, such as that at

Build word lists by themes…

A good way to build your vocabulary is by thinking of the world around you. Think in terms of where you live, your appearance, any animals you might see, your age. Consider colours, shapes, the weather, a particular sport.

…and phrases

You might also find it effective to think of words by common phrases. Build vocabulary by greetings (for example, ‘Good morning,’ ‘Good afternoon,’ ‘Good evening,’ and ‘Good night.’).

Playing language-based games is another great way to boost your vocabulary. For example, if you are a regular on Facebook, try the Scrabulous game (online Scrabble). You are guaranteed to learn a few new words in this way and have great fun as you do so!

Finally, one of the most effective ways I have used in order to grow my vocabulary is also probably the simplest: whenever I am reading and I come across a word with which I am unfamiliar, I just note it down, look up its definition, then write that beside the word.

Even Google can help you do this: next time you come across a word you are unsure of, go to Google’s home page, type ‘define:’ and then type the word you want to know about. When you hit enter or the search button, you will have your definition.

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