Vocabulary Building Techniques for Essays

Vocabulary as you may well know is basically the assortment of all the words in a language that people must know to communicate effectively. Now, a language’s vocabulary is huge. It is not possible for one person to know all of it. But that’s precisely why people need to learn more words actively. This is known as vocabulary building.

Vocabulary building is necessary to improve your communication skills. A large vocabulary helps people to listen, read, write and speak more effectually. So, how can we build our vocabulary? Well, in this article we are going to go over a few vocabulary-building techniques that you can start following on your own.


  1. Process of Vocabulary Building
  2. Vocabulary Building Techniques
    1. Extensive Reading
    2. Keeping a thesaurus close
    3. Keeping a Vocabulary Diary
    4. Practice using new words in writing
    5. Utilizing tools for Learning 
    6. Playing Word Games
  3. Conclusion

Process of Vocabulary Building

Vocabulary building has a few main aspects according to time4learning. They say that for some to learn new words they must first be:

  • Exposed to the new words
  • Learn the meaning/definition of the words
  • Learn/recognize synonyms of the words
  • See how the word is used
  • Practice using the word themselves

Now, there are many ways of doing all of those things, but there are different techniques for each phase. Let’s go over a few techniques and see how they work.

Vocabulary Building Techniques

Now, we will discuss some vocabulary-building techniques that can be used by people of all ages and skill levels. Of course, young children, need to be taught with the help of an adult, but everyone else who is self-sufficient to some degree can apply these techniques reliably. Here are a few vocabulary-building techniques.

Extensive Reading

We mentioned that the first step in vocabulary building is “exposure” to new words. The best way to get exposure is to read a lot. You can read according to your skill level. There is no need to go above your level, but it is true that it can expose you to more words. 

You can start by reading magazines and journals as they have great writing quality, and you can expect to see a lot of new words.  Reading classics is a great way to learn new words that are not very commonly used. 

There are plenty of free articles that you can read online. There are also websites that specifically provide reading exercises. You can look up materials on websites like Agendaweb and BritishCouncil. They have different materials for different reading levels, so you can start from easier stuff and progress to the more difficult texts later.

Keep a Thesaurus and a Dictionary Close

Just reading is not good enough to actually improve your vocabulary. Reading only performs two functions of the vocabulary-building process, and that is exposing you to new words and showing you how to use them in writing.

What do the words mean? You still don’t know for sure. At best you can use context clues to guess what the words could mean. That’s why keeping a thesaurus and a dictionary close is good. 

As soon as you find a new word, you should look it up in the dictionary and learn its meaning. Then you can also search it up in a thesaurus and find out the synonyms for the word. 

By doing this, you can learn what the words mean. If you know what something means, then it is easier to remember it and use it yourself.

Keep a Vocabulary Diary

Just learning new words is not enough, because if you forget them, then they are useless. However, you can follow some tricks to make sure that you do not forget them. 

The most simple and straightforward way is to keep a diary. In this diary, you can note down any new words that you learn. You should also note down their meaning, a few synonyms, and a few examples of using them in a sentence. 

This diary should expand every time you read something new. All new words that you encounter should be added to it. This is also useful for remembering to look up new words. For example, if you hear an unfamiliar word in a conversation, then you can note it and look it up later. 

You should read this diary at least once every day. This will refresh all the words in your memory. According to a study, revising something six times makes the retention rate rise to up to 80%, meaning you can remember it much better.

Of course, nowadays it is very easy to keep notes because of smartphones. Just stick with whatever suits your lifestyle.

Practice What You Learned by Writing

To truly learn how to use the words you have learned, you need to start using them in your writing. There are multiple ways in which you can do this:

  • Keep a practice diary
  • Write essays as a hobby
  • Use the words in any daily writing you have to do such as in emails

The point is that you need to use the words you have learned. Once you get familiar with the new words, you will naturally start using them in your daily conversations and writing. And that is the state you want to be in with respect to newly learned words i.e., using them without thinking about them.

Utilize tools for Learning

Another easy way to learn and get familiar with new words is to utilize online tools. Let’s assume you have something to write, an essay or an article. Let’s assume you are having trouble articulating a particular point.

You can just run your written text through an online tool such as a paraphraser and see what it comes up with. Some good tools that utilize AI can actually come up with new words or completely change sentence structure as well.

There are many such tools available, and if you are feeling too spoiled for choice, then you can start with either Rephrase.info or Check-plagiarism's paraphrasing tool . So, in summary, this tip is just about using an AI paraphrasing tool to learn new words, and see how to use them in writing.

You can see how they work in the below images.

rephrase info changing words

 Rephrase.info changing words 

check plagiarism changing words

 Check-plagiarism changing words

So, it is apparent how you can use tools like these to improve your vocabulary.

Play Word Games

Another method of learning and familiarizing yourself with new words is to play word games. There are many games available such as the crossword that provide you with hints about a word, and you can guess them. Even if you don’t the spelling or the word, by filling out other words you can find out some of the letters and make a guess based on that.

You can also take vocabulary quizzes to learn new words. There are a lot of these that you can find on then internet nowadays:

vocabulary dictionary

Image from Britannica

There are plenty of free word games available on many different platforms. You can even find them online. So, if you want a fun way of building your vocabulary this is it.


Vocabulary building is necessary for improved communication. Good communication is always helpful to people throughout their lives. The vocabulary-building process requires that the person sees/hears new words, looks up their meaning, and uses them in their own speech/writing. With enough repetition, the word gets committed to long-term memory and becomes a part of the person’s vocabulary. 

The techniques discussed for vocabulary building are numerous and diverse, everyone can find something they like. By improving your vocabulary, you can become an eloquent speaker and never be at a loss for words.

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