What do you recommend reading to expand my English vocabulary?

Hello. I’d like to expand my Vocabulary but I don’t know what to read. What articles and books on LingQ? What do you recommend?

I personally find reading books easier (read enjoyable) than articles. I find it hard to concentrate to read many articles for learning purposes. Reading articles for me feels more like completing a mandatory task then doing something enjoyable.
With books if I really get into the story, I can read for as long until I get so tired that I don’t even have the energy to read in my native tongue.

As for what to read, it really depends on your interest. I like spy novels so I have been reading James Bond books in German, I just finished Moonraker a few days ago. For a more lighthearted spy series, where you have to suspend your disbelieve a bit is a series by American writer called Daniel Silva (Gabriell Allon series). Ken Follett is another author whose books I have been reading in various languages (historical fiction) and autobiographies by famous sports persons (mostly footballers)

1 Like

Books with audio accompaniment are the best way to learn. Contemporary popular fiction is better for language learners than classics or literary fiction novels – even if you normally enjoy literary fiction, a best selling popular thriller will probably be easier to get through in a foreign language. Articles are fine, but they don’t engage your brain nearly the same way, and don’t contain nearly as many unique words as books.

Or articles may contain too many unique words, always introducing new ones and failing to reinforce the one’s you met in the previous article. That was my experience when I tried to read a collection of short stories. With each story by a different author on a different topic, the blue words were endless. When you read a book, on the other hand, the author repeats words that are key to the story and words that are common to his personal style. You will learn those words.

That said, I don’t have a book to read right now, so I spend most effort reading news articles. Those are generally bad for my blood pressure since they contain a lot of politics.

1 Like

This is very much a matter of personal taste. If your English is strong enough I would recommend reading Jane Austen… The language is perhaps a little formal by today’s standards, but it is beautiful nonetheless. You will certainly increase and enrich your vocabulary. And the love stories themselves are worth the effort! My favourite is ‘Emma’.

I agree that its nice to have the benefit of an author’s repeated vocabulary in a book. Plus an article that is interesting ends sooner than a good book and it makes me sad to not be able to continue it. But to me articles can also be addicting, especially about reading or languages, which then in turn motivate me to read and learn languages! For me there are certainly benefits to both.

If there are certain phrases that you are having trouble with or trying to better understand, I suggest that you do a Google search and look for blogs or forums using that particular phrasing. I do this when learning Dutch and it almost invariably leads to a goldmine of reading material.

Just as an example in English, I did a search for “at their disposal” and it led to the following blogs:

Blog – Tabby's Place (if you’re interested in cats, this might be the blog for you)

https://kerryhishon.com/ (personal blog by a theatrical artist)

https://blog.birch.com/ (small business blog)

This is just an example.

I randomly chose this expression because I just recently learned the Dutch equivalent: beschikken over (have at their disposal). There are countless blogs to be found. It’s just a matter of finding one that appeals to you. It’s probably best to find a blog that is maintained and written by one person (or a small number of people). That way you are being exposed to the personal writing style of one individual (or small group of individuals) and there is generally a consistent tone in the writing. As long as it is well written and you find the subject matter interesting, I think you will benefit from it greatly Give it a try!

This is good advice, but again I feel like a lot of these calorie burning exercises and searches get sped up and/or completely eliminated when reading books – especially with comparative reading, which doesn’t get mentioned enough here, I think. When you’re reading books along with the translated editions, a lot of the colloquial expressions and slang terms get translated with more authenticity than any online translation can offer. And the sheer volume of material in a single novel – in the neighborhood of 100K words on average – could provide you with ample material for months, depending on how fast you go through it.

Many of the other activities to learn are fine, of course, it’s just that none of them offer the same “words learned / minute of activity” ratio as reading books does and none of them have as strong of an engagement in your brain as long form storytelling does.