Most of us would enjoy
owning a larger vocabulary, but how do we go about it? And having learned
the definitions of new words, how do we improve our verbal fluency—our
ability to think of alternative words when we're speaking and writing?
Of course, a good dictionary is a cornerstone for the building of a good
vocabulary. Online unabridged dictionaries are available, and I've found
my Random House Unabridged Dictionary to be quite convenient. And
a good Roget's Thesaurus is de rigeur for amplifying one's verbal
fluency. A lot of thesauruses are thin broth, with quite-limited repertoires
of synonyms. However, I own "Roget's International Thesaurus", Third Edition,
published by Thomas Y. Crowell Company (1962), and it's a wonderful book.
Although I've never played them, word games, such as crossword puzzles and Scrabble, probably help to build vocabulary. The study guides for the SAT, GRE, ACT, and kindred tests contain vocaulary-building lists and quizzes, including, in some cases, words used on prior SAT tests. Barron's SAT study guide contains 3,500 words.
The vocabulary tests listed on the preceding page also offer a mechanism for vocabulary enhancement. WordSmart sells vocabulary building programs at 10 different levels A through J for about $70 a level. And if you're interested in more challenging words, there's always my 10,000 Most Difficult Words dictionary.