Word up. That is to say, begin a practice of improving your vocabulary. Start by learning five new words.
<p> <strong><em>"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."</em>—Mark Twain</strong></p><p> Word up. That is to say, today's task is to begin a practice of improving your vocabulary. Start by learning five words you're unfamiliar with.</p><p> Now to be clear, the point of doing this isn't so you can show off a bunch of long, fancy words in conversation. Seriously—nobody likes an excessively loquacious sesquipedalian.</p><p> Studying words and their meanings has a host of benefits. It makes writing easier, reading more fun, and trains your brain so you're able to communicate more clearly and precisely when speaking.</p><p> Advancing your vocabulary is an ongoing process, but you can start making improvements right away. Here are a few easy and fun ways to test your knowledge of the English language and learn some new words.</p><p> <a href="http://www.vocabulary.com/">Vocabulary.com</a> quizzes your knowledge of words using a database of more than 40,000 questions. You can play without an account, but if you sign up for a free membership, the site tracks the words you have trouble with and adapts its questions to help you focus on areas where you can improve. It's also got a nifty dictionary that is faster and less weighed down by ads than many of the others available online.</p><p> <a href="http://wordsmith.org/awad/">A.Word.A.Day</a> is one of the best free vocabulary email services out there. Subscribe and each day in your inbox you'll find a new word with its definition, a usage example, and an audio clip to help you with pronunciation.</p><p> IntelliVocab is a free mobile app developed by students at MIT. It uses the principles behind machine learning—the more you practice with it, the more personalized your quizzes become. It's available for both <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/powervocab-lite/id413511366">iPhone/iPad</a> and <a href="http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.cls.power&hl=en">Android</a> users.</p>
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