list of words in a note; the heading at the top of the sheets reads “Favorite Words”

Source: Favorite Words (2008), agroffman, Flickr

In the last section, you copied three lists of words and made notes about them. Writing down words and their meanings is the best way to make vocabulary stick, even if you never look at what you write. The simple action of writing down words will fix them in your mind more strongly.

Of course, underlining words of interest in a text (which you might choose to do if you own the book you are using) is easy, but it’s unlikely to leave much of an impression. If you take an extra step and write the definition in the margin, your chances of remembering the word greatly increase. The combination of underlining words and making marginal notes is a good middle ground between simply noticing vocabulary and seriously studying it.

Photo of two mobile phones side by side

Source: App screen comparison, RafeB, Flickr

If you are truly serious about improving your vocabulary, you need to consider getting a small notebook where you can write and keep words. You might also use a note-taking app on your cell phone or a computer. If you decide to use your cell phone or a computer, you can use the audio pronunciation feature that’s available in many online dictionaries. Recognizing words in print is great, but pronouncing them correctly is even better.