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10 tips - How to expand vocabulary

1. Read actively with paper and pencil to hand and make a note of unfamiliar words and phrases that seem to be particularly useful and try and learn them. 
2. Note how experienced writers use vocabulary, and try to imitate their use of it if you can (without copying ideas, of course). 
3. Explore relationships between words. For most people, learning vocabulary remains at a surface level and simply involves memorising the word or phrase in translation, however, try to look at relationships between words (e.g. word families) and word formation (e.g. prefixes, suffixes, etc). 
4. Use Latin-based words in favour of phrasal verbs where you have a choice e.g. 'to get on with' could be replaced by 'to have a good relationship with'. This is referred to as a 'lexical shift', and is important in academic writing . 
5. Use a dictionary and thesaurus where appropriate; do not just assume that a word exists without checking it first. 
6. Make sure you write the word you are using in the correct part of speech; do you need the noun form, the verb form or the adjective? 
7. Avoid the use of 'boring' words such as 'advantage', 'problem', 'good', 'bad', 'interesting' and replace these with something more descriptive. 
8. Do not use the same word twice in a sentence or close together in a paragraph or text. 
9. Aim to express your meaning very precisely. For example, note the difference between apparently similar verbs such as 'suggest', 'indicate', 'emphasise', 'point out'. 
10. Don't be afraid to speak using new words you have just learnt - they will settle in better!
English Tips