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The Fastest Ways to Increase Vocabulary
The fastest ways to increase your vocabulary are tied directly to how effective the methods are. Realistically speaking, if you want to retain the words and use them on a long-term basis, extensive reading and a great deal of focus on becoming word smart may take years. But if you've got something like an impromptu speech coming up, you don't exactly have the luxury of that much time.
In that case, the fastest way would be the most effective way to increase vocabulary. Here are some tips for that quick vocabulary fix:

Read up

It goes without saying that reading is one of the most important ways to increase vocabulary. But since we're talking "fastest ways" here, pick up a good book with great reviews on its literary content and skim through it. You can focus on absorbing the content and appreciating the literary piece later (after that speech, maybe.) Skim for words that catch your eye for now - words that you've never heard before. Then look them up in a dictionary and find out what they really mean. Those words might prove useful even in everyday events.

Use a thesaurus

Increasing your vocabulary isn't always about using big words. Someone who's really word smart can simplify things by using words that anyone they speak to would understand. A thesaurus comes handy in such a situation, since you can look up what some words really mean when simplified. A big plus to simplified words is that they're easy to remember. Another is that everyone will understand what you say and you can express yourself far better.

Use your words

You'll find that all that reading and thesaurus use will come in handy on an everyday basis and not just for that big speaking event. The more you use the words you learned, the more they'll get ingrained into your brain. Soon enough, they'll come to you as naturally as when you normally spoke before you enriched your vocabulary.

Get online

The internet has a ton of resources that you can use, especially when your goal is to increase vocabulary. If you're having trouble with words and you really need some help, vocabulary software should do the trick for you.
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