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How to improve my english diction?

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  • Jul 22nd, 2008 10:27 pm
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Jr. Member
May 16, 2008
115 posts

How to improve my english diction?

I'm currently taking a English grade 11 summer school course and I dropped out of it because I'm getting a 58% so far. Not very good, might as well try again in my grade 11 semesters.

I do all my homework, listening in class but it seems like my essays are the assignments that are putting me down.

I find myself using the same words over and over again and I want to be able to use more advanced words in my writing. Anyone know any good ways or GOOD BOOKS that I can read to help improve my english?
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Jun 21, 2005
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Go to the library and checkout some books. Every time there is a word you do not understand write it down on a pad of paper and look up the definition for it. Repeat until genius.

Or, read the dictionary.
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Mar 22, 2004
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watch tv and learn along :D
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Mar 26, 2007
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Guelph
Microsoft Word:

Right click the word, go over synonyms and pick one. Make sure you what what the word means or else it could be used in the wrong context.

EDIT: Why is this in Entertainment?
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May 8, 2005
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Rokz wrote:
Jul 19th, 2008 12:19 pm
I'm currently taking a English grade 11 summer school course and I dropped out of it because I'm getting a 58% so far. Not very good, might as well try again in my grade 11 semesters.

I do all my homework, listening in class but it seems like my essays are the assignments that are putting me down.

I find myself using the same words over and over again and I want to be able to use more advanced words in my writing. Anyone know any good ways or GOOD BOOKS that I can read to help improve my english?
Then, you need to improve your vocabulary. I found ( and copied in ) these tips from the web - and they seem to make a lot of sense...


[INDENT]1. Studying lists of words is not the way. Spending time at the neighborhood Starbucks, I see plenty of university students preparing for the verbal section of the GRE with storebought word lists, fastidiously prepared flash cards, and other trappings of standardized test mania best served alongside a venti mocha. While not entirely futile, this list-based approach to vocabulary building is misguided at best. Words exist in contexts, and studying words divorced from their contexts makes those words harder to learn - and worse yet, harder to use later. (Think of it this way: if you want to improve your racquetball serve, you'll probably want to position yourself in an actual racquetball court, right?).

2. Read a lot. The experience of encountering unfamiliar words in print is remarkably instructive. First, because you're already engaged in reading something, you are arguably more motivated to learn a new word so that you better understand what you're voluntarily reading. Second, you have come across the word organically rather than artificially (i.e. in a vocabulary list). You'll pick up new words - and clarify meanings of words already in your toolkit - by exposing yourself to them in their, shall we say, natural habitat. The context will enrich your attempt to build a better vocabulary.

3. Read good writing. I admit that "good writing" is a contentious term, but in general, I consider writing to be "good" if it communicates complex ideas in ways that are clear and concise yet thorough and detailed. In other words, there should be a tension between sometimes keeping it simple and sometimes using so-called "big words" words because they communicate something that common words just can't. To put it another way, look for writing that has an intellectual, exploratory bent.

Regular books are equally effective, and it would be imprudent to ignore them. Fiction (the sort good enough to be classified as literature) and nonfiction are both bound to build your vocabulary.

4. Don't (exclusively) read fluff. It's okay to indulge in less intellectual reading and writing. We all do it, and it can be fun. But don't read fluff so steadfastly that you ignore heavier stuff. USA Today is an example of a fluff newspaper notorious for watering down concepts and avoiding sophisticated language in order to appeal to the masses. Although it's arguable that they're doing some good by making news more accessible to a wider group of readers, they're also guilty of neglecting critical shades of grey when it comes to politics, economics, sociology, and the other disciplines they typically cover. Unless your vocabulary is indubitably weak, you're not going to improve it by reading something like USA Today.

5 Diversity of topics is important. Read some natural science stuff. Then read some applied science stuff. Read some contemporary literature. Then read some Shakespeare. Comb through a pop psychology book and then consume a humorous work (and no fair saying those last two are the same!).� Varied reading will sharpen both general and subject-specific vocabularies. The diversity of reading material at liberal arts colleges is one reason that graduates of such schools generally possess better vocabularies. History. Philosophy. Biology. Travel. Anthropology. Linguistics. Art. Gender Studies. Politics. You don't have to be an expert in all disciplines to build a meaty vocabulary, but you do need to be a well-informed reader who's confident and comfortable reading on topics outside your areas of immediate expertise.

6.The process of improving your vocabulary is ongoing - not so much a discrete act as a component of everyday edification. You can't just sit down for five minutes a day and say, "I'm going to do my vocabulary workout right now." It's not like doing ab crunches or squat thrusts.

7. Stop and look up unfamiliar words immediately. Read with a thorough dictionary handy - never a reductive, overly abridged pocket model. Better yet, use a resource like www.dictionary.com, which provides definitions from multiple sources and often gives useful examples of the vocabulary in action. And don't just hastily look up the word and move on. Take time to understand pronunciation, say the word aloud, and read the sample sentences if they're present. Doing so will help firm your grasp on the new language.

8. Don't limit yourself to learning new words in print. Picking up vocabulary in the midst of a public lecture, a PBS show, or a radio broadcast might be a little trickier (because spelling isn't obvious), but it's doable. You may even want to jot down phonetic versions words that you encounter when you're indisposed and then investigate them when you have free time.

9. Try out your new vocabulary in speech and writing. While I don't advocate standing around waiting for the chance to drop your newest gewgaw, don't be afraid to experiment with language. It is incumbent upon us as English speakers to celebrate the language by actually using it. Sprinkle new words in your blogs, in your emails, and in your conversations so long as they're germane.

[/INDENT]
Member
Aug 13, 2005
205 posts
Toronto, ON
I think reading the economist may help.
Deal Fanatic
Nov 20, 2005
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poedua wrote:
Jul 20th, 2008 10:39 am
Then, you need to improve your vocabulary. I found ( and copied in ) these tips from the web - and they seem to make a lot of sense...


[INDENT]1. Studying lists of words is not the way. Spending time at the neighborhood Starbucks, I see plenty of university students preparing for the verbal section of the GRE with storebought word lists, fastidiously prepared flash cards, and other trappings of standardized test mania best served alongside a venti mocha. While not entirely futile, this list-based approach to vocabulary building is misguided at best. Words exist in contexts, and studying words divorced from their contexts makes those words harder to learn - and worse yet, harder to use later. (Think of it this way: if you want to improve your racquetball serve, you'll probably want to position yourself in an actual racquetball court, right?).

[/INDENT]
That's not true. I was studying for my SAT in high school. Took deck of 70 or so cue cards, divided them into quarters and wrote down 250 or so common SAT vocab words for studying. By recognizing the vocabulary and their respective definitions, you end up catching it in use when you're reading the news or a website.
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May 8, 2005
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Madchester wrote:
Jul 20th, 2008 1:15 pm
That's not true. I was studying for my SAT in high school. Took deck of 70 or so cue cards, divided them into quarters and wrote down 250 or so common SAT vocab words for studying. By recognizing the vocabulary and their respective definitions, you end up catching it in use when you're reading the news or a website.
Read this part again.....

" [INDENT]While not entirely futile, this list-based approach to vocabulary building is misguided at best. Words exist in contexts, and studying words divorced from their contexts makes those words harder to learn - and worse yet, harder to use later[/INDENT] "

:rolleyes:
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Nov 30, 2007
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I use to resort to the dictionary or a thesaurus to expand my vocabulary; however, then my professors would make notes that I wasn't using the word in proper context. So now I simply read articles, and when a word pops up, I look up the definition, try to see how it's used in a sentence, or perhaps ask a friend/family member to explain it to me. Frankly, I don't care if I come off as uninformed when I ask around since I wouldn't learn much otherwise.
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