4 Steps to Building Vocabulary- Step 2: Connect Synonyms

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Build networks of synonyms to add to your word power

Hi everyone! I hope your vocabulary learning is going on as per plan even if you did go off track for a bit. For people who landed straight on this page, let me do a quick recap of what this series is about. This series started about 4 weeks back with the aim of covering in detail the steps that help you build your word power. This is not a quick steps to word power kind of post because some things do not have short cuts. At least initially.

1. 6 reasons why vocabulary is important – the first post in the series recapitulated reasons why a strong command over words can help you communicate better in any situation in your life. in fact, it is imperative a lot of times to have good word power to express yourself.

2. How to build your vocabulary in 4 steps – the second post in the series takes you through the step wise process. Starting from the basics of learning the meaning of each word to how you could pile on synonyms to multiply your word power. These are steps that I used to build my own word power and wanted to share this with everyone who wants to build their command over words. Since vocabulary building is a long drawn task, I thought of going through each step in detail in the subsequent posts.

3. Step 1: Learn new words – the third post in the series went on discuss step one in detail illustrating how to start the process of learning words one step at a time. It shows a sample illustration of how your vocabulary book should have words, meanings, word forms and examples to every new word you come across. And I hope that 2 weeks after the post, you are well on your way to continuing addition to your wordpower.

This post takes the series forward by talking about step 3 and 4 of vocabulary building. I decided to do both the steps in one post because it just made logical sense.

But just to stop here for a moment and reiterate the process of learning new words, let’s quickly look at a few more examples of what your vocabulary book should have much more of by now. We have already done a sample of learning new words and writing them in your vocabulary book here.

1. Intractable (adj): a) not easily controlled or directed; not docile or manageable; stubborn;obstinate:

Eg: It was a brilliant simplification of an intractable problem.

b) (of things) hard to shape or work with:

Eg: An intractable metal cannot be bent into shape easily

c) (of a person) an intractable person

Eg: The child’s intractable will made it hard for the nanny to control her most of the times

intractability, intractableness (n); intractably (adv)

2. Loquacious (adj): a) talking or tending to talk much or freely; talkative

Eg: The loquacious dinner guest took over the conversations at the table leaving little room for others to speak

b) characterized by excessive talk; wordy:

Eg: This was easily the most loquacious play of the season.

Loquaciously (adv); loquaciousness (n)

3. Assuage (v): a) to make milder or less severe;

Eg: to assuage one’s grief; to assuage one’s pain.

b) to appease; satisfy

Eg: to assuage one’s hunger.

c) to soothe, calm

Eg: to assuage his fears; to assuage her anger.

Before we move on, I have good news for you! The hard part is over! If you have been adding new words to your vocab book, that is. You will realise that the consequent steps become easier as your friendship with words gets better.

Step 2 of vocabulary building: Make connections

While learning new words everyday, you must have come across different words with meanings similar to the ones you have learnt before. For instance, the word ‘stealthy’ is similar in meaning with ‘furtive’. So you could mentally group the 2 together. Or jot it down next to the original word in your vocab notebook so that you associate both words during revision. You may come across more words that are similar in meaning. You add them as well – clandestine, surreptitious and sly – to your association with the previous words.

Another example. A simple word like variety can mean assortment or heterogeneity. Add them to the synonym you know best! 

Using this technique helps add more words to the meanings you already know. And when done intelligently, its not difficult to master them. Your ability to recall these words testifies to the fact that you are on the right track and you efforts are paying you well.

If you have been working on your vocab, congratulations! You have persevered through the hard part. Go back to your notes and find words you can group together. In future, start referring to the thesaurus so that your networks become easier to build.

Don’t forget to drop me a line about your progress/questions/feedback/comments. Waiting to hear from you!

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