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Jillybeanerz

Expanding my English vocabulary

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I am fluent in English as it is my first language. I am graduating college soon and getting ready to join the business workforce, but have noticed that my vocabulary is not that large and I sometimes do not understand larger words that my peers say. I could just read the dictionary I suppose, but I was wondering if anyone has found an iPhone App of any kind that could help me expand my vocabulary in a more fun, interactive way?

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I'd say reading books and novels is a great way to expand your vocab in a non-awkward way. Those "word of the day" sort of apps make adding those words awkward into your phraseology. Of course, reading is not necessarily a quick way to improve one's vocab, but I see it as the best way to do so.

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I agree with the previous speaker. Learning random words out of nowhere is of course a strategy that will teach you new words effectively, but if you are already fluent in english: I'd suggest just looking for more advanced types of literature. As in, books that will most likely contain words that you have not encountered before.

There are of course endless amounts of words, and it's more or less impossible to know every word there is (I suppose it's possible... But with slangs and internet terms and all these things, I find it rather questionable) - but reading books surely makes your vocabulary bigger.

Besides, you usually learn new words mostly by using them. There is not much point in knowing advanced and fancy words, when they are never used. If you are studying at college and advanced terms are somewhat common, of course it will be useful to learn a lot of those. But I don't think you should run off trying to learn a bunch of advanced terms, just because you heard them once. They may or may not be words you will never encounter again.

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I can vouch for the other posters. I have been reading Count of Monte Cristo in English and new words have already resurfaced from all the junk inside my brain. These words are not necessarily new to me, but It has been a while since I've read them in a sentence.

There is also the option of using a thesaurus. It is a great way to look for alternative words that can really liven up an email.

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Not sure if you just want to expand your general vocabulary or your specific business vocabulary. I agree with some of the above posters; the "new-word-a-day" apps and websites can be helpful, but they don't allow you see the words in context. Also, some of the words are arcane and you'll simply sound strange or snobbish if you try to use them in general conversation or correspondence.

Reading is a great way to expand your vocabulary. Unfortunately, much of what appears online and in newspapers today is written by people who themselves don't have a great command of English. I found that authors such as Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, and O. Henry were helpful to me in this regard. Some of the words they used are now obsolete (and Dickens, of course, used British English), but on the whole these authors will help you.

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I am pretty certain that there is an 'English for dummies' iOS app available to purchase. All of their other language apps are fantastic and come stock full of features and useful things to make acquiring a new language a pleasure and a joy.

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I'd recommend Ankimobile:

http://ankisrs.net

If you like to build up your vocabulary by using flashcards, you will really enjoy the functionalities of this little gem.

It is opensource, free and available for Mac/Windows/ios/Android/Linux. You can sync your progress between any installation and there are lots of free libraries available to meet your requirements (business English, legal English etc.).

Actually, you can use Anki for way more. It helped me a lot in my legal studies. For instance, I would use it to memorize bases of specific claims.

It may be well worth a try. :)

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I concur with the above posters. I would recommend the Dictionary.com app. It is quite interesting and easy to use, so you can spend any free time you get just taking a look. It also has this nice 'Word of the Day' feature, which brings out quite a few interesting words most people don't know.

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You can try this website vocabulary.com

it is very useful and interactive and you will be able to save your progress and they introduce new words according to your progress as well.

Check it out!

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I haven't downloaded any apps for this but I would recommend just actively seeking out a word everyday. I myself have learned a lot of words I otherwise would never have used just by doing this. I'm sure there is an app out there that would offer you such a thing but if not then you could just subscribe to one of the many language sites and get updates everyday.

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I don;t think there is much you an do as far ass apps are concerned as you are a native speaker. Vocabulary.com is the only site I can recommend to you since it has a vast range of subtle English words you might want to learn.

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I agree with most of what the others had previously said. Use apps with caution. While it's true that new BIG words can easily be introduced by apps, one has to pay close attention to contexts. Using big words out of context might make listeners roll their eyes.

As for reading, I find journals to be the material that frequently uses big words.

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Reading definitely gives you a wider vocabulary and if you do get an app for big words then you will need to know where to use them. Maybe for a quick way to learn a word in conversation to impress, you can get the thesaurus online and type in the word asking for the synonym.

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Read, read, read! You can read the dictionary until you are blue in the face, but it will not help without context. Read a book and then write down all of the words you do not know. Then look them up in a dictionary. You will retain the information a lot better that way.

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I'm using this app calle imiwa? in learning new Japanese words. It's the best Japanese dictionary app I found because it not only translate a particular word into english but also in different kinds of language. You can also learn Japanese characters (kanji, kana) with this app.

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You could always download a kindle app onto your phone, and read books.  The kindle has a feature to help list words that you couldn't define as you read.  Just keep reading and building that list and before you know it you'll own a much bigger vocabulary.  One you can be very proud of.

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I think reading is still the best way to expand your vocabulary, but read something on a subject you have some sort a passion for, something that you enjoy. It is important to like what you read otherwise it'll be ten times harder to be consistent and do it every day. If it is something uninteresting most likely you'll just quit, I know I would/did.

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I agree with what the first few posters wrote. You are better off reading books from earlier generations (this generation hasn't been the best with vocabulary or grammar) and technical or fictional books dealing with your industry.

Apps are great at learning random words. But you usually lose the momentum after a few weeks. And from experience, you sometimes end up looking like an idiot throwing around fancy words in the wrong context. When you see how fancy words are used in a book repeatedly, you get a better idea of how, when, and where to use them. So, look for an author that uses the vocabulary you are interested in learning and buy all of his books. :)

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Read, read, read! You can read the dictionary until you are blue in the face, but it will not help without context. Read a book and then write down all of the words you do not know. Then look them up in a dictionary. You will retain the information a lot better that way.

I agree with this a 100%. You can never go wrong by reading a lot of books! I remember I had a Korean boss before who likes to play vocabulary games with me. He often asks me to throw a word at him, and boasts that he could give me the meaning for it. It's true that he never fails in giving me the exact meaning of the BIG words i threw at him. But every time I get back at him by asking him to use the word in a sentence, he always just gives me a smile as he couldn't make a sentence using the word. This only proves the importance of learning the word by context. Otherwise, it just won't work knowing the word meaning alone.

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I understand your concern, OP, but in all honesty I don't think an app could be the absolute answer. For me a better way for you to learn more new words is to simple read more, read books and magazines, once you find a word you don't understand highlight it, then search it online. No better way to learn new words than this, believe me.  Keep a list of those words nearby, as a reminder.

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Read, read, read! You can read the dictionary until you are blue in the face, but it will not help without context. Read a book and then write down all of the words you do not know. Then look them up in a dictionary. You will retain the information a lot better that way.

Awesome suggestion!  You are right about the context and that's why using a dictionary or an app won't really help her to memorize the new words.  Reading things both offline and online is really helpful to learn new words :)  I always check the words i don't get!

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I agree that we can improve or expand our vocabulary through reading. Whether it is for general vocabulary or specific one like the business vocabulary. There are lots of books or even e-books that can help you learn and understand new words.

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I'd say reading books and novels is a great way to expand your vocab in a non-awkward way. Those "word of the day" sort of apps make adding those words awkward into your phraseology. Of course, reading is not necessarily a quick way to improve one's vocab, but I see it as the best way to do so.

I agree. The best way to expand your vocabulary is by reading books and novels. I myself learned new words by just reading. If you don't want to buy hard copies of those novels you always have the option to buy an ebook instead.

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I suggest reading various books that interests you, most specially novels. English is my second language and it is basically where I expand my vocabulary aside from watching English movies and listening to English songs which are both very helpful to me. I learned a lot from the books "Harry Potter" by J.K. Rowling and books written by Paolo Coelho. I hope it helps  :wink:

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