Tip: If you're serious about improving your vocabulary through elaboration, then we highly recommend the popular vocabulary-building software Ultimate Vocabulary.* Ultimate Vocabulary automatically generates word flash cards, definitions, examples, and real-life audio pronunciations, and uses other proven techniques to help you increase your vocabulary. Visit Ultimate Vocabulary for details.
In our articles about collecting words and vocabulary retention, we mention the importance of elaboration and we mention several ways to use elaboration when building your vocabulary. In the instructional film, Build Your Vocabulary, Pete (the son) suggests to his dad that his dad keep a vocabulary notebook or vocabulary journal. This made us think that providing a free vocabulary diary template would be a good way of helping you to elaborate when you find a new word.
So download the free vocabulary diary template ( PDF, 14kb) or create your own vocabulary diary or vocabulary notebook.
Now, when you find a new word, write the word in the left column. Then write down how to pronounce the new word. Look the word up in the dictionary to get the word's exact meaning. Then, write the definition of the word, in your own words. Think of at least two synonyms for the new word. Use the word in a sentence of your own making. Finally, if possible, draw something that explains the word's meaning.
These elaboration techniques for enlarging your vocabulary will hopefully help you learn new words and retain your new word knowledge.
Another excellent way to elaborate when you learn new words is with modern vocabulary-building software. The best vocabulary-building software we have seen is Ultimate Vocabulary. Ultimate Vocabulary uses elaboration in many interesting ways, including:
- by providing usage examples of each word (more examples than any other vocabulary-building program we know)
- through synonym tests, antonym tests, and definition tests
- by describing the history of the word
- through visual "word webs", flash cards, images, and audio pronunciation
- through a unique and innovative optional feature called "Word Messenger", which periodically reminds you of your new words.
So if keeping a vocabulary diary sounds like too much work, or if it's a bit old-fashioned for you, then consider investing in Ultimate Vocabulary. Given the importance of a good vocabulary to career success and school success, the investment is well worth it.
Ultimate Vocabulary comes with a 100%, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee. So you have nothing to lose, and am impressive vocabulary to gain.
*Denise and I recommend only products that we have tried and tested. These include Ultimate Vocabulary. We have agreed to receive a commission from some sales of the Ultimate Vocabulary software because we are happy to endorse this award-winning vocabulary software.