Improve Your Vocabulary Used in Daily Life

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Aren’t you tired of using ‘Wow’ or ‘Awesome’ every time you are trying to express that you are impressed? It is not uncommon for us to use only a few selected words stuck in our minds to express most of our feelings.

Non-native speakers might be embarrassed about this habit but let me tell you; even native speakers suffer from this problem it is very annoying. And that brings us to improve our vocabulary used in daily life to show our fluency in English.

Ever wondered about the vocabulary used in daily life range of an average person? On average, an adult native speaker has a vocabulary range of around 20,000-35,000 words.

Children at the age of five can recognize up to 10,000 words. So, why do we face problems while showing our fluency?

Why does 90% of our conversation consist of terms that are extremely simple such as ‘He has good manners’ or ‘God! That was awful’ even though we are capable of using ‘He seems poised’ or ‘The incident was atrocious’?

In this article, we would first learn about the reasons behind poor vocabulary and how to develop a stronger one. A list of vocabulary used in daily life conversation would also be provided so that you can practice using them.

Let’s get started!


Why Is Our Vocabulary for Everyday Use Limited?

To be honest, the English words used in daily life conversation is not as poor as we think it is, we just forget to realize how many words we are using. Let me use mathematics to explain it better.

Studies show that knowing about 25 simple words is enough to understand 33% of daily writing and a vocabulary used in daily life range of 1,000 words would cover 89% of that writing.

If you know roughly 3000 English words, you will understand 95% of the common texts. Now, knowing 3000 words is a big achievement, it is just that the number of words available in the English language is far greater than this.

The Oxford English Dictionary contains around 171,476 words that are currently being used. So, 3000 words mean only 1.75% of the dictionary!

Also, you might want to show off your skills, but it is often preferred, or even mandatory in some cases, that what you speak or write should be understandable even to people with a limited vocabulary. Using simple words helps the conversation get going and texts are widely accepted.

That is why ‘His disingenuous apology has been rejected by the committee’ is suitable only for formal documents. For normal conversation, ‘The committee won’t accept his false apology’ will always be better.

Statistics show that an adult native speaker puts around 20,000 words in use while they know more than 40,000 words. Why? Because active vocabulary used in daily life is always smaller than passive vocabulary. Now, what are they? Let’s discuss this in detail.


Active Vocabulary

Active vocabulary used in daily life consists of words you actively use in your conversation and writing. You have a clear idea about their meaning, spelling, pronunciation, use in a sentence etc.

You can confidently use them in a certain situation with grammatical accuracy and can recall them without effort.

If you are learning English as a second language, then the range of your active vocabulary would depend on your level. Native speakers, however, are capable of acquiring an impressive amount of active vocabulary without learning due to English being their mother tongue.

Learn how to improve vocabulary for adults now!


Passive Vocabulary

Passive vocabulary consists of the words we know but don’t actively use in communication. These are the words we mostly learn from reading.

There is also some lack in our knowledge about these words. We might not be accustomed to its usage properly even if we saw them being used in documents.

We are not sure if they are appropriate to be used in a particular situation. Some might struggle with the pronunciation as well. We can use these words in academic or formal writing to enrich our work, but they won’t come to mind often when talking to a friend.

English learners often build a wide range of vocabulary used in daily life because of the way they are acquired. So, in this case, the difference between native and non-native speakers is not that prominent. Many ESL students might even defeat the native speakers in terms of known words.

One interesting thing is that active vocabulary is often considered a part of passive vocabulary because you know the meaning of the words in both cases; you are just more hesitant about using some words than others.

If you study those passive vocabularies enough, you will be able to convert them into your active vocabulary as well. Developing the passive vocabulary is one of the main strategies to improve your vocabulary for everyday use, that is, your active vocabulary.

Here are some tips for you to enrich your active vocabulary used in daily life with the help of passive vocabulary:



When you are learning a new language, a dictionary becomes your best friend. You can easily find the word by looking at the dictionary. But how often do you use a dictionary when you are trying to find a word in your mother tongue? The answer is rarely.

When we forget a word in our native language, we try to find other words to express the same emotion. This way our ability to find synonyms improves.

Try this method for foreign languages as well. This way, you would have a better idea about the meaning and usage of the word. And after finding it in the dictionary, the chance of forgetting it will decrease. So, next time, you will use the word with confidence, adding it to your active vocabulary.

Want to know about the types of vocabulary errors? Check out our guide now!



Including new words in your speech consciously immensely helps not only your vocabulary but your pronunciation as well. When you are learning a new word, try to include it in your speaking.

Try to replace the newly learnt words with old words, such as using ‘numerous’, ‘multiple’, ‘abundant’, ‘heaps of’ etc. instead of ‘many’ or ‘a lot’.

You must have a notebook for storing important words you learned. Try to note down their meaning and an example as well. If you know the example already, it would be easier to use the word on a proper occasion.


The list below contains synonyms for commonly used words in our daily life:




Entire, complete, full, whole, total, sum of


Infuriate, enrage, wrath, exasperate


Wicked, immoral, evil, unpleasant, disappointing, obnoxious, foul, horrible, nasty


Gorgeous, Dazzling, pleasant, lovely, aesthetic, heavenly, pretty, exquisite


Enormous, huge, gigantic, tremendous, spacious, vast, mammoth, broad


Peaceful, tranquil, mild, composed, quiet, still, collected


Attain, execute, finish, carry out, accomplish


Stupid, tiring, boring, dull, insensible, illogical


Delight, savor, appreciate


Account for, clarify, Justify, elaborate, define


Justified, reasonable, honest, just, unprejudiced, impartial


Wrong, incorrect, inaccurate, fake, improper, counterfeit, imposter


Marvelous, excellent, great, proper, top-notch, gracious, trustworthy, superb


Damage, hamper, injure, afflict


Glad, pleased, satisfied, cheerful


Opinion, concept, view, belief, thought


Exciting, fascinating, curious, captivating, appealing, intelligent, inspiring


Tiny, few, small, limited, petite, minute


Examine, gaze, view, inspect, glimpse, watch, witness, survey, gape


Go, budge, scuttle, pace, lunge, inch, walk, rush, run, dash, chase, race, slide, travel


Invent, create, develop, produce, obtain, build


Numerous, ample, innumerable, diverse, multiple, frequent, myriad


Conventional, usual, ordinary, standard, traditional, natural, classic, typical


Unusual, extraordinary, weird, atypical, unorthodox, peculiar, exceptional


Reveal, inform, command, implied, disclose, advise


Impressive vocabulary for everyday use doesn’t only include words. You should also write down idioms and phrases you learn such as ‘Killing two birds with one stone or ‘laid-back’ etc. Using these phrases will make you sound like a native.

Vocabulary wall display can be a great way to increase your overall daily vocabulary usage.

Check the examples below:




A piece of cake

A very easy task

I have been working in this field for years. Training new recruits is a piece of cake for me.

An arm and leg

A lot of money

The new apartment cost an arm and leg. I cannot afford anything nice for a while.

Add fuel to the flames

Make something worse

The manager is already angry about the failure of the project. Telling him about the hacking incident will only add fuel to the flames.

Bad Omen

Indication that something bad will happen

They say it’s a bad omen when a cat crosses your path

Can’t stand

Cannot tolerate

I just can’t stand his recklessness.

Gut Feeling

Natural Instinct

My gut feeling is telling me not to trust her.

Put someone in their place

Reminding someone about their status, position etc.

I usually don’t bother with haters, but it is required to put them in their place once in a while.


Concluding Thoughts

For more items, go to SpellQuiz Idioms List. There is an image attached with each idiom which makes understanding the concept easier and more enjoyable. You can use them to teach the students as well.

Before you start to learn more words, you need to understand your level and how many words you already know. SpellQuiz can help you with that. The SpellQuiz Vocabulary Test evaluates your vocabulary range and assigns you a grade based on your knowledge within 10 minutes!

For each question in the test, an audio clip will be played that contains a sentence. You need to write the full sentence with correct spelling.

You can play them as many times as you want and each time, it would once be played with normal speed and once a bit slowly so that you can understand the words better.

After getting a grade, you don’t need to worry about finding grade-appropriate words either. SpellQuiz Words Lists are here for you. The words are divided by grades and are available for adults also.

There are multiple lists for each grade and separate word lists for the spelling bee is also available. The word lists are printable so you can print out and hang them on your wall if you want.

It is obvious that you want to improve your vocabulary used in daily life as fast as possible but being pressured to do so often do more harm than good. That is why SpellQuiz Adaptive Spelling allows students to advance at their own pace.

You should utilize the strategies given in this article and monitor your progress often. You can find more tips and tricks for skill improvement in SpellQuiz Blogs along with new words for practice.

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