How can we use our vocabulary better? Let me give an example to clarify what I mean. I know that the verbs "attribute, ascribe and bear on" have almost the same meaning but when it comes to speaking in English with someone, I just use attribute. I won't remember the other two. ;)  I know it's kind of normal but I really want to make progress in this. Having a wide vocabulary (when speaking) is fascinating.
Apr 1, 2017 7:42 AM
Comments · 18

First of all you should bear in mind that words may be different in style (formal, informal, semi-formal). So choose a word according to the situation. And try to use the words and phrases you are learning in every piece of writing or a conversation, that'll help you to remember them. I use post-its for difficult vocabulary, I stick them opposite my desk and look at words every time I'm at a desk.

April 1, 2017

Having a wide vocabulary in speaking may be fascinating to you, but when you use uncommon words you increase the risk that the person you are speaking with will not understand you, even if you use the word correctly and even if they are a native speaker.  My impression of your example is that a large portion of native English speakers would never use those words in daily life and many will not be entirely clear on what they mean, so if you have any accent at all they are likely not to understand you and will find it less pleasand to talk to you. .  I read a lot, so I understand those words, but I tried to remember a time when I might have used them.  Attribute is the most common and I have probably used that.  It is the 3377th most common word in English.  Ascribe is not in the top 5000.  The sentence I can imagine I might have said using ascribe would be ¨I ascribe to the theory that......¨  Because it is a phrasal verb, ¨bear on¨ is not on the list, but my own guess is that it is less commonly used than ascribe.  Just the verb ¨bear¨ itself is the 1628th most common verb. 

The site I use for this is   If your vocabulary is already this big, you might want to look up how common the word is before you work too hard on incorporating it into your conversations.  There are a lot of words that it might be good to know what they mean so you can understand various academic and scientific writings, but you are better off not using them yourself unless you are in a very intellectual setting where your peers might also be expected to know and actually use the specific words.  It is better to be plain-spoken and understood in most situations than it is to try to impress others with your wide vocabulary.  

April 1, 2017

To Dasha

Cambridage Dictionary is a good one that I often refer to, but it is a pity there are much fewer sentences and less synonyms to refer to than Oxford Dictionary.  But in some cases the interpretation is more precise in Cambridge than in Oxford Dictionary.  

April 3, 2017

"use the proper manner"

It means using the proper method of approaches to learn/study/apply/memory the words rather than rote learning only without thinking. The worse of all is learning a new word without reading its examples in the dictionary.  Some beginners are apt to learn a new English word with their primary language acknowledge so as to waste a couple of precious time on futile meaningless practice.  Anyway, must find a proper method so that you may ensure these words are generally properly sorted out and stored into the right positions in your database of brain , then they are more likely to retrieved whenever you need.

Having said that, I know said is sooner than done and I am still learning how to be more effectively learning new words. 

Thanks for your question

April 3, 2017

Hi again! You can look up a word in Cambridge Online Dictionary (my favourite one), each entry shows whether the word is formal or informal. Moreover, the dictionary has two pronunciation models: US and UK. So, to my mind it's the best)

April 2, 2017
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