A good vocabulary is a hallmark of good command over the English language. No language is complete without its list of words. A good vocabulary is not only an indication of an active mind, it is also useful for helping you through major competitive examinations. Vocabulary is an integral part of most national and international competitive exams, be they management exams, civil service exams, or entrance exams for colleges or graduate schools.
A grasp of many words and a large vocabulary is also useful to writers, as using varied language can help keep the reader’s interest without the use of repetitive words. Even in general day to day life, having a good vocabulary can make you stand out from the crowd, and appear intelligent and well read.
So, is a good vocabulary a gift from God? Is it something one is born with? Not really... instead it is something you can easily acquire with some ingenuity and effort. So, how does one build up a good vocabulary? Making use of online resources is one great way to enrich your repertoire of known words. You can visit a huge number of online resources that are all designed to help a person build a great vocabulary. Many of these are interactive and are easy and fun to use. Some of these are meant for particular types of competitive exams, while many are meant for use by the common person who just wants to improve his grasp of the English language.
Finding Vocabulary Lists
Xahlee is a good source of vocabulary lists. It offers a number of different vocabulary lists for different situations, organized according to the type of list. For instance, it has a collection of words that are used extensively on the SAT or GRE. It also has a list of words that are better used for writers. The site also offers other special lists, such as words with hyphenation, combination words, words with special meanings and so on. The SAT words, as well as the words on most of the lists, have detailed descriptions. For instance, the word hubris, defined as ego or pride, is on the list. The site also offers a detailed explanation of the place in which the word originated. For instance, it says it originated in Greece. In the legal sense, it was used in ancient Greece to mean crime. In ancient Greece, crime was considered the act of a person who had the greatest pride- which is how the word came to have its current meaning! These interesting anecdotes about the roots of words helps the reader to remember the word and commit the definition to memory forever. There are many pages like this, which also include lists of many rarely used words. For example, in the list of GRE words, the site includes words such as compunction; nettlesome; jeremiad and so on.
Vocabulary A-Z is an interactive site that has interesting ways of helping learn English vocabulary. It is suited for K-6 students, special education students, English language learners and so on. In addition to simple vocabulary lists, Vocabulary A-Z also offers explanations of grammatical aspects of the language. There are descriptions of adjectives, adverbs, figures of speech and so on so you can learn how to use vocabulary.
British Council: This site offers special vocabulary lists meant for teachers and students of Key English Test (KET), a product of Cambridge ESOL. The list of words here is updated every year with the addition of new words. The words are organized in a logical manner, starting from exemplification and proceeding towards prefixes and suffixes; multi-word verbs and so on.
Virtual Salt is a another site you can use to enhance your hold over some words that are not used very frequently in day-to-day use. It has a well-compiled list of words tht cover every subject and field. It also lists synonyms, so that when one word fails to fully convey what you want to say, synonyms can help. Some of the words used here include caulk, importune, neophyte, sedulous and so on.