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ArticlesStudy Tips: Vocabulary
Factors That Affect Your Word Power
Word power is the power of strong communication that can get you almost anywhere in life. Expanding vocabulary is the one activity that can grant you this power to affect and influence people. Whether you are using traditional methods of vocabulary learning like reading, or relying on more modern methods it is important to be aware of the factors that affect your vocabulary learning progression.

The uses for the words

Several researchers have found that the potential uses of the newly-learned word determine, to a great degree, the person's ability to memorize it and recall it. You are more likely to remember a word you can use in everyday situations than a word that has limited applications in real life. It's therefore important to focus on the uses of the words you are trying to acquire, and imagine yourself using them in the context of your everyday life.
It has also been found that words learned through methods that encourage active uses of new words are easier to remember and more likely to become a part of the individual's regularly-used vocabulary. When you link the new word to your communication needs, it becomes more easily accessible. Methods that encourage writing and speaking as a part of the vocabulary learning process are more likely to yield good results, and add the new words to the active vocabulary that you readily use in conversation, rather than passive vocabulary that you understand, but do not normally use.


The learner's interest is a great factor in expanding vocabulary. It has been found that learners recall and use the words they showed interest in learning more often than other words. The same applies to words related to the learner's topics and subjects of interest. Just think about how swear words in foreign languages are the easiest to remember!
Unfortunately, not all the words we should know are words we are interested in. Sometimes we need to learn words that will benefit us although they are not related to any of our interests (for example, in studying for an exam in a required class outside of your field). That doesn't have to affect your new vocabulary retention, though. Associating new words with fun context or areas of interest to the learner can be used in reinforcing the newly-learned vocabulary. Just try to form a mental link between the new word and something you like doing, and imagine using it in relation to that activity or topic.