How big is your vocabulary?

Did you know that the average American uses less than 4% of the English language? If you think that is a ridiculously insignificant amount, the SAT is being “improved” because they feel it is too difficult, so they have changed it to use more common words. Before this adjustment, students were instructed they really should be focused on about .5% of all English words.

If you are like me and find this fact appalling, here are some VERY quick ways to augment your vocabulary:

  1. Use a word of the day email or app like the one from Merriam-Webster,, or The New York Times.
  2. Find your own “Word of the Day” by going to a dictionary and randomly opening it up and picking out a word.
  3. As family you can have so much fun with this activity as well. Have one person in your family, pick a word and write it on a post-it note and put it on a “Word Wall”.  Keep score with how many people know what the word means.  If your family likes contents, keep track on another post it note to see how often you can use it correctly thought out the day.  The person with the most vocabulary usage during the week, gets to pick out dinner on Saturday night – or whatever other prize you want to give.
  4. If you have time, you can spend 15 minutes a day reading journals or books that have a tendency to use unusual words such as The Atlantic, Mother Jones, or The New York Times Book Review.

I would be very interested in hearing fun ways you have used to make your vocabulary larger!

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